Soon enough the Star Wars saga will be over from a motion picture perspective. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the new game that is tied into the upcoming movie coming out May 19th. This is the first time I remember where the game is coming out 2 weeks before the movie. Yes, there are spoilers in this game because there are cuts from the movie in the game. The spoilers aren’t too huge though because they center mostly on Obi-Wan and Anakin’s side of the movie and don’t really delve into Yoda or Padme outside of the short time you are working with Yoda.

To be honest, I don’t think the spoilers are that bad for anyone that feels anxiety over playing the game before seeing the movie. Anyone that has seen the 5 films released so far should be able to add everything together and figure out exactly what is going to happen from the Anakin/Obi-Wan side of things, so things represented in the game should be no surprise.

This game is a very short oneand it is a button masher. It goes along with the games like Final Fight without the enemy life bars outside of the bosses. What this game does pretty well is the lightsaber fights you have against the bosses, but there is quite a bit wrong with the game as well.  Let’s get to the scores.

The graphics are good in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, but they aren’t spectacular. The character graphics are okay, but they don’t look nearly as good as EA’s Lord of the Rings games and they don’t blend in with the actual movie cutscenes as well as that series in my mind. There is a cutscene later on that blends very well, but for the rest it is a much more “jumpy” style of cut versus a streaming move to the in-game engine.

There aren’t a whole lot of variety with the enemies that keep coming at you and (sometimes) your mission mate. The common droids, shielded droids and slightly bigger and stronger droids are here in the game and compose the majority of what you’ll be fighting against.

The boss duels are where the best graphics are shown off with the lightsaber fights. There are problems in these sections though that you can take advantage of. If there is any sort of large object in the area you’re in you can actually put yourself on the other side and your enemy will not be able to maneuver around it to attack you. This allows you to fill your force meter and do such things as Force Heal yourself, making this game all the less difficult. There are some boss fights, such as the ending one, where you don’t have the luxury of anything between you and the enemy and it creates the most excitement found in the game.

Another major problem with this game is the collision detection. Your ability to hit an enemy, especially one wielding a lightsaber, is much like the toss of a coin. There is very little in the way of an opening to unleash some attacks on anything over the basic droid levels of enemies. Once you see the opening you can literally only get 3 strikes off before you have to go back into a defensive posture or move away from the enemy. If you do one extra strike or don’t go into a defensive posture, get ready for the beatdown!

Sometimes the camera also causes problems. It happens very rarely and you have no control over the camera, but you can sometimes be attacked off screen and not know there is an enemy there until you are attacked. Since this is mostly a sidescrolling game with some vertical movements, the camera does a good job. I just wish this game was a bit more 3D (like Devil May Cry or God of War) than it is.

The graphics are simply the best in the boss fights…outside of that it’s a toss-up.

The overall music and soundfield are excellent, but once you get into the voices this game goes very wrong. It’s tough for me to play this game when, although they sound relatively close, Obi-Wan and Anakin don’t sound like the actual actors. The absolute worst case is Mace Windu though…the voice actor sounds nothing like Samuel L Jackson. He doesn’t even make an attempt to sound like him. If there’s one thing the Anakin voice actor has going for him, it is that he sounds like just as bad of an actor reading lines as Hayden Christensen does (if you guys want to see Hayden acting well, go rent Shattered Glass, you’ll see he can actually be a capable actor). Obi-Wan’s voice actor sounds somewhat like Ewan McGregor, but I can tell the difference. Same goes for Yoda and the other actors that appear.

The voice work just destroys this game in this section. The 5.1 sound on the Xbox is excellent, but I just can’t get over the voices. The lightsabers sound great and the John Williams music is great as well. I noticed later in the game that the music was moving more toward Episode IV-VI territory than I-II.

Control can be summed up as okay at best. This is very much a button mashing game so you’ll find yourself just pounding on buttons as you go through wave after wave of enemies. X does a simple slash, Y does a horizontal slash and B does a power slash. A is used for jumping and different buttons are used to do the force powers depending on which character you play as. The simple ones are things like Force Heal (push in right and left analog sticks), Throw Saber (White button) and Force Grab (R trigger) and the other ones you can find button combos for by simply hitting the Start button and looking at the controls.

Your most used button outside of the slashes will probably be the L trigger, your blocking button. During the lightsaber duels with the bosses you will find it is your best friend as it blocks all the strikes except for the unblockable ones. With the L button and the timing down on a boss (that one opening spot where you can unleash 3 attacks before going defensive again) you are virtually unstoppable except against the unblockable attacks. During regular gaming it will block laser fire and you can actually do a force field with the lightsaber to block the bigger lasers back at the turret to destroy it. Of course, using that last one will deplete force power for your character, but it comes in useful.

To be honest I expected a bit more than a simple button masher from this game and it is sad that it came out as simply that.

As explained above, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is a button mashing action game at heart. You go through the levels and just defeat anything that moves pretty much. Depending on your level of destruction you get 4 types of kills that give you more experience points that you can then put toward 10 areas at the end of a mission for the character you just went through it as (Anakin or Obi-Wan). You have control over Anakin a bit more than Obi-Wan in this game, so you’ll probably have more experience points to dole out to Anakin over the course of the game.

Obviously delving into the whole game will probably be spoiler filled for people, but I will say this game only hones in on Anakin and Obi-Wan’s treks through the movie with some other characters coming in at different times. It certainly doesn’t give the whole movie away because Padme doesn’t even make an appearance at all. In many of the missions you will be battling alongside the other main character. The problem here is that the computer controlled character will basically pick a spot and just stand there and do nothing, leaving you to make it through the waves of enemies by yourself. Even early on in a boss battle that both Obi-Wan and Anakin are a part of, you find that the character you are not controlling will actually run away from the fight and leave you all alone against the boss. I’m sure in the movie you see both characters going against the boss, but not here.

I was quite disappointed by this game. I think the Collective could have went more with the EA Lord of the Rings-style gameplay and made this game a little more fun. At its foundation this game is good simply because you’re playing with lightsabers the whole game with a little bit of taking control of turrets here and there. However there are so many problems revolving around the game that you eventually find yourself just going through the motions in order to get to the bosses, many of which can be beaten with the simple “object blocking their progress” weakness. The last boss battle is easily the best because you’re in a confined space for the most part and you can’t rely on having an open chance to use the Force Heal in order to heal yourself. If more of the game was like that it would have been far cooler.

This game is quite short. I think it took me about 5-7 hours to beat. There is quite a bit that gets unlocked as you go, such as concept art and multiplayer characters and arenas. I really don’t have anyone around to play multiplayer with, but it is quite cool to be able to have lightsaber duels and this might be one of the few redeeming qualities this game has. However you have to get through the game in order to unlock all the participants and arenas so you have the full range of multiplayer options.