With the final instalment of the Star Wars films upon us it wasn’t surprising that there would be a video game tie-in. LucasArts and Activision have joined forces to create Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith. A traditional tie-in game in every way, you can imagine the game making references to a movie blockbuster, but does it fail like countless other attempts have gone before it (including other Star Wars titles)? We grab a lightsabre and find out.
With 12 minutes of footage from the final film you can understand why people yet to see the movie will want to hold off from this gaming fest. Understandably so, the game follows the storyline down to crossing the T and dotting the I. If it's not footage of the movie then the film’s represented by a reinactment in gameplay as you slowly but surely carve your way through the film and the levels to boot.
Gameplay isn’t too tough until you reach a baddy and causal gamers will get through this in a couple of evenings. In attempt to add some longevity to it, you have to unlock characters and extras as you go. The extras normally amount to concept art for the die-hard fans and the characters - everyone from Count Dooku, Darth Vader and Mace Windu are opened either upon defeating them or merely getting to the part in the film where you have to play them to continue.
To start with, you get to play Anakin or Obi-Wan and hack and slash your way through a couple of hundred droids while solving puzzles along the way. To help you further and make things a little more interesting you’re rated on your hacking abilities. The better you score, the more experience points you gain. The more experience points you gain, the more you have to spend on upgrading your characters’ Jedi skills. Jedi skills are separated into two sections; Force and Combat. Force involves Force Push, Heal and so on (Jedi Knight 2 fans will be right at home here), while the Combat option lets you upgrade your characters’ attacking, blocking and other such elements. Obviously upgrading your skills helps you complete the game, fend off bad guys and generally make it slightly easier as the levels get harder.
If the game were to stop here then the score would be very low as there just isn’t enough meat to fulfil a budding Jedi gamer. Luckily it doesn’t stop and Lucas Arts has included a two-player option so you can battle the forces of the Dark Side together, or failing that just fight it out between you in a Duel. This, for all intents and purposes, is a Tekken-styled affair but with Lightsabres rather than fireballs. Rounds are scored on the best of three and it’s the saving grace of the game. Here, guaranteed that you’ve unlocked the characters, you can finally see who’s better - Yoda against Darth, R2-D2 against C3PO.
All the time, graphics are good with the Star Wars universe coming to life before your eyes. Sound is provided by Skywalker Sound who also happen to do the sound effects for the movie. This also adds to the gameplay, however if you think Hayden Christiansen in the film is annoying, the constant repetition here will bug you even more.
As a movie tie-in, it ticks all the boxes. The movie footage will allow you to relive the film while you wait for the DVD (or in between multiple viewings of the film as it'll be out for months) and the gameplay will give you a sense of involvement in the movie once you get back from your trip to the cinema.
Tie-in niceties aside, if it wasn't for the Duelling level this game would be over in a swish of a lightsabre. Short but sweet although since it's guaranteed six-figure sales, there won't be much resale value or collectability to this as much as other merchandise getting launched this month.