I, like many others around the world am a massive Star Wars fan, I can even forgive George Lucas for The Phantom Menace after seeing the latest trailer for Attack Of The Clones. But I can't forgive LucasArts last few Star Wars titles, first one we had The Phantom Menace game, oh my was that a load of rubbish, then we had Bombard Racing on the PS2, can it get any worse? Let us hope not..read on.
Installation, Settings and Loading Speeds
Star Wars: Obi Wan loads very fast, but then again its not like there is much graphical detail to load up straight away. The first place you get to is the main lucasarts logo animation, after that it is straight into the main game menu which consists of the following:
Level load times are actually quite good, but in saying that the game isn't exactly a showcase title for the Xbox so there are no fancy intros or spectacular graphics waiting for you when the game has loaded for the first time.
So Obi Wan was cancelled on the PC due to it supposedly not being good enough to deal with the game size, so now we get it on the Xbox as an exclusive. So what is the premise of the game, well you obviously play Obi Wan Kenobi, you mostly play the game by yourself, although every so often you will be joined by a friend or two to help you get through the levels.
The idea is pretty basic, most levels have you just wandering though, cutting down the enemies with your lightsaber, the lightsaber fighting isn't that bad, it is quite easy to get used to and can lead to some great fights against some dark side foes. You can use your lightsaber in many different ways. The most obvious being slicing and dicing the enemy, next you can throw your lightsaber, thus cutting down the enemies or blowing up some explosive crates or cans. Finally you can block enemies laser blasts and deflect them back at the person who fired at you. This is pretty cool the first time, but the fact is that the enemy can be so dumb you just have to stand there and deflect shots off your lightsaber to kill them all without them coming at you.
The level designs are not that bad, but then again they are not that good either and the main problem is the repetitive nature of the game, on each of the levels you tend to do the same things over and over, kill enemies, kill more enemies the same way, pull a lever and then kill some more enemies, there is no variety in the game and it just gets boring after a while playing. In saying that I really did enjoy some of the battles that take place in the combat arena during the game, lightsaber to lightsaber.
Another problem is that the levels seem vacant of any kind of life, there are hardly any creatures, robots, NPC's or anything wandering around the landscape. Most Star Wars movies have lots of these, so why hasn't this?
Fiddly is the best way to describe the controls in Obi Wan. You use the left thumbstick to move Obi-Wan around the levels, and then use the right thumbstick to control your lightsaber. Other buttons are A for jumping/force jump, B for acrobatics and force throw, X for crouching and Force Disarm, Y for use and Force push. To make the force options work you have to hold down the left trigger button and then press the appropriate button for a force action. The problems are that sometimes the force trigger can get stuck, so all you can do is force movements, it can sometimes take over 2 minutes before it goes off again. While this would be good in the heat of a battle, it means that you can't actually press any door opening buttons etc, so you can be stuck in one area for ages.
Graphics & Sound
Some parts in Obi Wan look really good, certain reflections in the main fighting rooms are very well done. But unfortunately the majority is a bit on the bad side, actually very much on the bad side. The texture details look as if they were put together about 2 years ago and never updated, to give you an idea of how the game looks, think of "The Phantom Menace" PC release a few years ago and you basically know what I mean, it looks almost the same bar a few fancy shadow and reflection effects. Despite the poor graphics, the frame rate can also chug along most of the time.
As an Xbox owner, I'd expect far more from a new Xbox title that Obi Wan gives and it is a real disappointment graphically. In saying that, the sound side is actually pretty good, lightsaber, laser and metal effects are perfect, the music is as good as in every other Star Wars title released in the last few years as well. But then we have the voice acting, while Qui Gon Jinn sounds kind of like Liam Neeson, Obi Wan is actually played in the game by a Scotsman, just like Ewan McGregor, nothing wrong with that is there? Well yes actually, because Ewan at least tried to sound English!
I was quite disappointed with this latest effort from LucasArts, they know how to make good Star Wars games, well least they used to. Obi-Wan is such a disappointment is most areas, graphically it is no where near what we should expect from an Xbox title, gameplay is too repetitive, and the voice acting was pretty hopeless. On the plus side I did have fun in some of the main lightsaber battles I had against some of the other Jedi knights during the game, but that one good point won't outweigh the bad ones. Use the force and avoid this one if you can.