Review: The Saga is complete?
In just under 7 days, Episode III hits theaters. Star Wars fans everywhere are preparing to see the history they've turned over in their minds for close to thirty years ? namely, the dark seduction of Anakin Skywalker, his fabled duel with his master Obi Wan Kenobi, and the subsequent birth of not only Darth Vader, but Luke and Leia Skywalker as well. As expected, Episode III the game has arrived, with a surprising amount of spoilers so close to the film's release. Is it any good? For Star Wars fans craving ass-kicking Jedi lightsaber action, it is indeed, as long as you don't expect much more than that.
Revenge of The Sith is all about straightforward lightsaber combat against various federation droids and other enemies of the Republic. It also includes some cool boss battles against other Force wielders. The single player campaign consists of 16 missions covering the story arc of the film, and in some cases expanding on it as well. You'll control Obi Wan and Anakin as they battle their way through a nicely detailed Star Wars universe, with all the requisite sounds and musical scores to immerse you in the galaxy far, far away. The Collective is at work here, and having interviewed them in the past, I can say with all certainty that they know how to produce a good fighting engine, and it shows in Episode III.
You'll have several basic attacks ? X is a fast but low powered attack, B is slow and potentially lethal, and the Y button gives you a good balance of power and speed. Obviously, tapping buttons in various patterns will result in some sweet combos, including rapid slashes, back strikes and blade thrusts. Fortunately, the menu includes a combat chart, so you have instant access to information on how to perform the many combinations. Your Jedi will automatically deflect some blaster fire, but holding down the left trigger will produce a block and allow you to deflect, as well as defend. In addition, when you hold the left trigger you'll automatically lock on to your nearest foe, and can then strafe around them, attacking and evading from all angles. As well, you can leap over an enemy's head, and also do a very cool looking side jump. The right trigger controls Force powers, including push, grasp, stun, heal and lightning. You can also throw your saber, as well as use traps and shunts. Put it all together and you've got some extremely cool Jedi battles. The only caveat is the inability to cancel in the middle of an animation. This is by no means a deal-breaker; it just means you should take the time to learn the combos instead of button-mashing. Spinning around, deflecting blaster bolts, leaping into the air and landing behind your confused opponents, and tearing them up with your saber ? it's great stuff, and your inner Yoda will be jumping for joy.
As you play through the story missions, you'll earn experience (an extremely simplified version of the DMC ?rating? system is in place here) and be able to level up your powers between boards. You'll also open up the versus mode and cooperative mode. Dueling in the arena is an absolute blast, as you can play against a friend (only local/no Live support) or the computer. Anakin vs Obi Wan kept me up late this week, that's for sure. As far as health goes, Bacta Tanks can be found throughout the areas to replenish, and you'll also need to keep an eye on your Force bar. It's depleted as you use your powers, but regenerates over time.
Visually, Revenge of the Sith is a mixed bag. The character models look great, and sport nice detail. The saber effects are outstanding, as are most of the environmental effects, but the textures are pretty basic. It doesn't look bad by any means, but it's definitely nothing to write home about (I wonder how many times I've used that clich?? Eh, no more than eye-candy I suppose). The animations are excellent, and the feeling of being a Jedi is well captured here. Aurally, everything is perfect, from the hum of your lightsaber, to R2D2's whistles and beeps, it's pure Star Wars through and through. John William's famous score is heard liberally, and of course, this helps sell the experience even further.