Star Wars Republic Commando

The clue is maybe in the fact that the squad you command is made up of clones. The theory behind LucasArts' shooter is sound - blend the immediacy of an FPS with the depth of an on-the-fly squad game and set it in the increasingly over-crowded but endlessly appealing Star Wars universe. The practice - so far - is looking disappointing.

Your clone troopers feel clumsy and your command over them is basic at best. Although they can be trusted to heal each other when wounded, you'll be required to laboriously instruct each one in turn to use the healing station they're all slumped against. As extra firepower they work well in plain corridor sections, but once confronted with a boss they're as likely to be in the way as not.

Context-sensitive commands (such as the door-breaching manoeuvre demoed to such effect at E3) break up the monotony but may not be enough to convey the sense of being in true control of three other individuals.

It may be that there is a lot more to the game than LucasArts is currently willing to show. There's certainly plenty of time for more variety, depth and precision to be worked into the basic framework. Without it, however, Republic Commando could remain as soulless as its troops.

Star Wars Republic Commando is released for PC and Xbox in February