Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is supposably the best Jedi experience out there, as the game claims. It was released in May, 2005 shortly before the film's release.. now, pardon my French, but..
That claim, is utter bullshit.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith kicks off to where the Clone Wars cartoon ended, Coruscant is under attack by the evil General Grievous' fleet. Now a Jedi Knight and of course still the Chosen One, Anakin Skywalker and his former master (now Jedi Master) Obi-Wan Kenobi are flying directly toward the main ship (Grievous' ship) in hopes to jump aboard, rescue the captured Chancellor (who is also the Sith Lord Sidious, gasp!) and hopefully destroy the cybernetic Droid leader.
So, let's move right into the gameplay. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is an action/adventure game, throughout the game players will be given the chance to play as either Anakin, or his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi. Unfortunately, players are not given the choice of who to play as, not that it matters anyway.. aherm. Combat, is simple. Square is your fast/weak attack, triangle is your strong but slow attack, and circle is your finishing attack. L3 is your target lock-on, while R3 can be used to swirl your lightsaber and reflect incoming blaster fire. X is of course, is your high leaping Force jump button. R1 will bring up your lightsaber to guard yourself, while the remaining L and R buttons are your Force abilities.
In regards to your Force, you have three primary powers. Your first is the ability to choke, or simply immobilze enemies, and then throw them in a direction, preferably near a flock of enemies to knock them all down, damaging them. With this skill, you can also pick up nearby objects and launch them at enemies, which can be quite a useful tactic. Your remaining Force skills will Mind Trick, which can force enemies to fight along side you, or disable Droids. You can also heal yourself by using the Force, although this will drain your Force meter quite quickly, and you will leave yourself very vulnerable.
Combat.. is very boring in this game. You're pretty much button mashing triangle and square together to bust out different combos and techniques, and once the enemy is finished you take them down with the unblockable finish (provided they are weak enough to use it). However, at the beginning of the game (the first level, the hangar bay in Grievous' ship) players will be able to take care of the n00b Droid's by simply walking up to them, and pressing circle, over and over. Against harder enemies, they will tend to avoid your attacks by dodging or blocking, and when they hit you, you're quite screwed. The targeting system is also God awful, as when you target an enemy, you could end up turning around and attacking a nearby object, despite the fact the enemy is the one targeted. This pretty much could make you fall into a world of hurt. What's also incredibly stupid is, you can't jump over enemies. It's as if they have an invisible, yet magical wall floating above their heads. When you try and jump over an enemy, you kinda just, keep jumping, but stop moving foward, and you fall down right infront of the enemy. This pretty much eliminates the purpose of jumping, FORCE JUMPING at that. The hit-detection is also silly, as you might look like you're slicing and dicing your opponents, but really, you're not hitting them at all.
Apparently, Anakin and Obi-Wan have different fighting styles to one another. In a way, this is true, but in a way, it isn't. It's time to go nerdo here, but in Star Wars, Anakin relies on the fifth form of lightsaber combat, which specialises in attacking quickly with aggression, and exploting enemies weaknesses. Obi-Wan, uses the second form of lightsaber combat, a calm and passive style that relies heavily on defense (some claim Obi-Wan is the best at this style, and could be considered invincible because of it). Now, in the game.. your fighting animations look different, but in the end, do the exact same thing. There is hardly a difference. Once Anakin turns to the Dark side and becomes Darth Vader (if this somehow spoiled it for you, how the hell could you have NOT seen this coming?!) he acquires new Force skills.. ..which do the same thing as before. One, being Force lightning. It just happens to immobilize your enemies.. wow, it's like a mixture of Choke and Mindtrick!
When it comes to bosses, it's quite painfully annoying. You recieve no healing aid whatsoever (however you can still use your Force heal) and you must fight the boss in 'stages'. Also, the boss can easily counter your attacks, and loves to do the same moves over, and over, and over again.. ..in a row. It's really uninspiring.
Overall, the combat system is boring, unoriginal, unimaginative, and just plain crap.
This game uses an experience/leveling up system very similar to that of the Lord of the Rings action/adventure games. As you fight and defeat your enemies, you will be awarded with experience, depending on the skill. Also, the more enemies you kill within a short amount of time, the greater your experience becomes, ranging from 'Novice' to 'Masterful'. If you hit Masterful, all of your attacks become powered up for a brief moment, giving you the advantage in battle. At the end of each level, you will be able to level up the character you're (forced to) playing as, and you'll be able to increase their skills and abilities, and give them much more. This though.. is just dumb. It really lacks depth or any originality, and eventually you can just make yourself one incredible powerhouse. Boring.
The graphics.. range from pretty good, to extremly bad. Some of the environments look very nice, quite beautiful at that. But then, some of the environments suddenly turn dull, boring and just, well yeah, bad. The character models look decent, but the faces and hair just look.. silly. The animation is pretty good, but at times can be completly stupid, looking like a ragdoll on speed. Speaking of animations, there are quite a few glitches, such as randomly shaking about, to even falling through the floor.
The game has two types of cutscenes, in-game cutscenes (using the ingame graphics, animations etc) and actual footage from the film. The footage is quite silly, as for some reason all voice dialog is incredibly low (this occurs on both the PS2 and X-Box, mind) and all the music and sound effects are extremly loud. So if you wanna hear what they're saying, you gotta turn up the volume, then have your brain explode at extremly loud music and sound (please note, there's no option for subtitles). The in-game cutscenes are hardly impressive, and the voice acting.. is completly, and utterly horrifying. It's not even the actual actors of the characters, and seems to have no effort whatsoever. The script, or one-liners in battle are so stupid and hypocritical, you've got Mace Windu saying things like "Come over here, I want to show you something." or "I will strike you down with great vengeance!", then there's Obi-Wan saying "I enjoyed that." after cutting off the arm of an enemy clonetrooper. How stupid.. anyway, the music and sound though, is good, because who can't like the Star Wars music and sound?
There's also two types of multiplayer in this game. Co-op, and duel, both of which are hardly any good. Co-op will have the two players playing as Jedi, and.. get this, you simply run into a run, fight hordes of enemies, then run into another room and do the same thing, for about five or so rooms. That's it. They could of at least used the single player campaigns to do co-op, I mean when you've got the computer-version of Obi-Wan by your side as Anakin, he hardly does anything but say things.
Duel mode is a decent addition to the game. Two players, or one player and a computer opponent both pick a character (most characters are unlocked throughout the game) then pick an arena (most arenas are also unlocked throughout the game). The players then face off against one another in.. button mashing combat. The use of the Force in this mode is just plain annoying, as there are too many objects to pick up and throw at your opponent to deal tremendous amounts of damage. Multiplayer sounds good, but in the end will have both you and your opponent, whether it be player or opponent, bored.
There are quite a few unlockables in the game, however everything can be unlocked by completing the single player campaign.. which I haven't mentioned yet, is very short, at least six hours in length on normal mode. These unlockables include concept art (boring) and then secret levels, where you get to play as characters such as General Grievous, and Yoda himself. Unfortunately, these levels just consist the player standing in one room while being attacked by hordes of enemies, group by group. So really.. it's just, extremly boring.
I can't recall how many times the word "boring" is used in this review, but that's what the game is. The development team made such a little effort in actually producing this game, and came out with this. The game is very short, has very bad graphics, an unoriginal combat system, an unoriginal leveling system, really bad in-game voice acting, bad dialog volume for actual movie footage, lacks unlockable content, and has really lame multiplayer. The game could of used so much more, it had so much potential, but can you really be suprised? This is a movie licensed game afterall, most of them suck, and this is no exception.
If you're a Star Wars fan, and a fan of Episode III at that, then you -might- want to check this out (AS A RENTAL, DO NOT BUY IT), if you have the courage and willpower. But, this game should not be in the collection of anyone really, not only is it not worth the money the price tag reads, but, it just encourages these "developers" to make more crappy movie licensed games.
"Do or do not, there is no try" says the Jedi Master Yoda.. well, in this case.. I'm definetly choosing not.