There have been a number of ups and downs in the world of Star Wars movie based games over the years since the prequels came out, the less said about the Episode 1 titles the better. Well we’re back once again with the first title based on the final Prequel, Revenge of the Sith. This time around Lucasarts have pushed out the title to developers “The Collective”, the company that did surprisingly well with Buffy the Vampire Slayer early on in life of the Xbox.
The game follows the story of the film very closely, from the early rescue of the evil Chancellor Palpatine to the fantastic battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan, some liberties have been taken, but then again if you want a full length game out of a film license sometimes they have to make some additions.
The closest comparison title I can come up with is EA’s excellent Lord of the Rings based titles, Revenge of the Sith is played in a 3rd person perspective although the game does tend to be played in a side scrolling manor most of the time. Don’t come into Revenge of the Sith expecting anything too deep though as all you will get here is a hack and slash title, there is very little you will be asked to do other than fight with your lightsabre constantly or do the odd force jump now and then.
One thing that can be said is that it is constant action, it moves so fast that it’s hard to take in some of the great looking backgrounds and settings, but the problem here is that the game is too linear, I guess this is mostly due to the film license, but I’m sure there could have been a little bit more given to a license as big as this, especially when you sit back and consider how well Bioware did with the Star Wars license.
As with “The Collective’s” previous releases on the Xbox, there are a number of good points, the RPG style of using experience points to get your characters to improve their moves such as healing and force push etc works well, but the problem here is that you won’t really notice much of an improvement as you will still be doing the same things level after level. The fighting works well, but the moves get very repetitive within the first 6 levels, the game is also quite short, if I had the time I could have easily completed the game in my first sitting.
There are more niggles too, there are break ups in the lightsabre fighting where you can take control of large guns on the battleships, yet I can’t see why they were even put into the game as they add nothing to it as they are shot and have a difficulty level of 0. Next we have the enemies who are fighting you with guns, a lot of these enemies are offscreen at the time when they shoot at you so you can't see where they are or where to fight them, this is something that managed to irritate me from level 1. One good thing here is the unlockable content that has been added to the game, you get all manor of excellent artwork which really is well done (as anyone who buys the Art of Star Wars books will already know)
Also the game does have cooperative play, although this only makes the game even easier to complete on your first go. Despite what other in-print reviews may tell you, this is likely to be a game that you only want to play through once. One redeeming feature is the presentation, the game has about 10 minutes of footage from the film added to the start and end of each level, the footage looks good, but it is disjointed when it jumps back to the poor graphical look of the game where as Lord of the Rings made the blend of film and in-game graphics work really well.
Graphics & Sound
Graphically the game isn’t bad, but it can’t compete with most of the recent titles like Halo 2 and Pariah or maybe even Lord of the Rings: Return of the King for a closer comparison. The game mimics the film sets well though, and does contain a number of enemies who you won’t see in the film and have been created just for the game. The game does animate well though and there are a lot of things going on in the backgrounds when you get the chance to look at them. Overall it just feels like a basic Playstation 2 port.
I can’t think of a time when I have ever criticized a Star Wars game for its sound, well this will be the first. Musically I can’t fault it, but that’s all thanks to John Williams soundtrack coming straight from the films, the sound effects are also good once again thanks to the massive archive of sound that Skywalker studios have to work from, but sadly the games voice over acting is dire, the only character I thought did a good job was the one portraying Obi Wan, but even then he was just cutting it, some of them are laughable. When you compare this to the fantastic voice work that Lord of the Rings had, you feel quite a let down.
Well I came into the game with high hopes thanks to “The Collectives” great work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the Xbox and some other previous titles on the PC, but this is quite a let down, the game play is fine for an hour or so, but once you realise that it plays the same way for the next 5/6 hours before you complete it, you realise what a shallow experience it is. Graphically the game is ok, but in these days of getting the most out of the Xbox it’s a shame to feel that Revenge of the Sith is a basic Playstation 2 port graphic wise. The sound is also a let down too, which is surprising considering the talent that goes into Lucasarts sound department. All I say is rent it, you’ll have completed the game over a weekend without any trouble.