Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith is the movie-licence game that came out when old George Lucas was hashing up the much loved Star Wars (not by me mind you) universe with his rather atrocious trilogy of prequels. As the title of the game implies, it is pretty much the tie-in for the third and last of the prequel movies. The cool thing about movie-tie-in games is that the game generally includes a lot of footage from the movie which is great for fans of that particular movie. Less enjoyable of these types of games is the fact that a) they usually forgo all CG cutscene work which is a pity if you like watching these pre-rendered and b) the games are usually quite poor and generally feel a bit thrown together.
However, there is one batch of movie-licence games which I did in fact quite enjoy – and those were the Lord of the Rings games developed by StormFront Studios who also brought out the enjoyable Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone based on the same game engine. The reason I mention this is that it becomes rather apparent from the get go that The Collective, the developers behind this title, did in fact use that same StormFront engine for Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. In fact should you have access to any of the StormFront titles, pop it in and you’ll be rather surprised to find yourself playing an almost exact replica game – just sans the force powers.
The plot for Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith pretty much centers around Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as the Clone Wars come to an end and although it does tend to mirror the movie’s plot most what, it does deviate ever so slightly in places as well as cut out an awful amount of story just to keep the action sequences flowing. This isn’t all that bad if you just want to slash at things all game long, but it does make for a rather disjointed story that certainly is going to win any awards for storytelling (not that the movie did any better of course).
Throughout the game’s sixteen levels you get to control either Obi-Wan Kenobi or Anakin Skywalker depending on which mission you are playing and although initially fairly similar in style, they soon differentiate their skills once you start unlocking the bigger combos and force skills. Although you only control one character at a time, you will often find yourself partnered with an AI ally who can die but usually spawns instantaneously and becomes quite a big help in clearing out some of the stages.
The missions are all pretty linear and fairly easy to get through, with the action usually depending heavily on simply slashing at everything in sight with your lightsaber (the mechanics of which are quite nicely implemented), though the occasional turret sequence and boss fight are thrown in just to mix things up a little. You are occasionally asked to cut open doors or slash at panels, but really, the emphasis of this title is all on the constant fighting of enemies thrown at you without remorse.
There is a fair variety of enemies to battle, each with their own skills, strengths and weak points, and it is up to you to figure out what combo beats what opponent. That said, the game isn’t particularly difficult and apart from the boss battles and the much later stages, you shouldn’t die too often in this game.
Like I said, each player has a number of upgradeable skills and combos and the points for these upgrades is earned by your performance in each level. As you kill enemies you have a “ability meter” that rises as you dish out damage and falls as you incur damage. The higher you can maintain the meter, the more points you get for killing your enemies.
Obviously this wouldn’t be a Star Wars game without force powers and you get more than enough to play with in this game. You are able to telekinetically pick up objects and people, hurl them about, control their minds and even electrocute them if you are playing with Anakin. A nifty force heal is also available to you, but with the little bit too overpowered block you probably won’t need it all that much except for in the boss battles.
On the graphics side of things, Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith features some beautifully rendered sprites that very strongly resemble their real life movie counterparts and with some clean and fluid animations you get left with what can only be described as a good looking game. The backgrounds are also nicely detailed and well populated with breakable items and pickups. The game does however use fixed cinematic camera views throughout the game and this can become rather frustrating when you can’t see just who you are fighting with on the side of the screen.
As I mentioned before, there are very few pre-rendered cutscenes and the few cutscenes that do exist are all made with the graphics engine which means they don’t look that good from close up. Luckily the game makes up for it with oodles of movie footage which should keep you happy between levels.
The soundtrack for the game uses the classic John Williams’ score which is known and loved by millions which basically means that the game sounds exactly like the movie would have. Of course the sound effects are of as high a calibre so there isn’t much to complain about. On the voice acting side of things it isn’t all that smooth though. Certainly the soundalikes aren’t bad, but they are crippled by the terrible ham-fisted cheesy quips they have to constantly deal out and honestly there are times you just want to turn down the volume just to escape this bad and forced dialog. Perhaps if they were delivered a lot less frequently the game might have been a bit more enjoyable to listen to.
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith is certainly not a difficult game to complete nor is it a very long game to play – you should finish it in about five hours and to be honest, once you are done with it you are done with it. It is a simply hack and slash brawler with some cool force powers and nice graphics thrown in for effect and the lack of compelling story means that it really is only intended for either extreme Star Wars fans or people who like mindless action games.
Fans of StormFront Studios will enjoy this game as well, but it is difficult to recommend it as a worthwhile buy. A fun rental perhaps (and good for some co-op Star Wars action) but it is probably not going to leave you satisfied once you clock it for the first (and probably only) time.
It is competent and well made, but its length, difficulty and lack of cohesive story knocks it down a couple of notches from being a truly great game.
Related Link: http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/starwarsepisodeiii/index.html