Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith wraps up the famous story with a huge movie... and a bunch of games, of course. We review the DS version...
Last Thursday I swung by my local EB, handed the cashier my credit card and asked for Star Wars Episode III for the Xbox and the Nintendo DS. He smiled and gently shook his head and I immediately knew why. To those select people who dislike George Lucas' sci-fi epics, it's difficult to understand how frenzied we fans become when new merchandise hits the shelves, but no matter. He didn't need to feel me on this matter. Besides, I had more pressing issues to deal with, the most important being how awful Ubisoft's DS game was going to be, especially since the company's Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of the Force isn't exactly a must buy, but I learned a valuable lesson as soon as I started playing this classic game. You mustn't assume anything. Instead, you just have to try things out yourself. With that being said, if you're a DS owner seeking a fantastic gameplay experience, the Force is beyond strong with this one.
Revenge of the Sith is a port of the GBA 2D hack-an-slash game except the DS version has been sprinkled with these really cool 3D shooting segments where you get to pilot some of more famous ships from the films. I had reservations going into it because the space portions appeared to be rough, and visually they are, but they're also highly enjoyable to play. In fact, the entire game is simply phenomenal. Closely following Episode III's plot (which means if you don't want to spoil the movie for yourself you should stay away), it chronicles the exploits of Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. You can play as both characters, and each has their own story to tell and special levels, though the plots will intersect, because as you already know, Anakin falls to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader, and Obi-Wan meets him in a classic confrontation.
The 2D portion of the game is set up like classics Double Dragon, Final Fight, and Streets of Rage, and it plays just as well. In fact, Revenge of the Sith features some of the best hack-an-slash gameplay that I've played in years. Both Anakin and Obi Wan feature their own Force moves and the light saber combat is incredibly satisfying. Bombarded by all sorts of droids and other enemies, you just leap into battle and start swinging, resulting in battle and destroyer droids crumbling at your feet and other opponents begging for their lives. Enemies have a tendency to gang up on you and I did plenty of cussing because they're extremely cheap, but the more I thought about it I realized that attacking in great numbers and being cheap are two of evil's best qualities, so that only challenged me to play better.
When you're not slashing enemies to bits and unleashing insanely powerful force attacks you'll be piloting star fighters and other cool ships. The first level is merely an obstacle course of sorts to get you acquainted with the controls, but the second one tosses you into the middle of an asteroid field and allows you to put those lasers to good use. At first I thought I was going to be in for a tough time because the graphics in these levels aren't so hot (though I love the cel-shaded explosions), but the gameplay more than makes up for Episode III's visual deficiencies. The controls are spot on (the same goes for the 2D combat), and the action moves at a frenzied pace. It's actually faster than Rogue Squadron for the N64! In fact, the only downside is there aren't enough of these levels in the single-player campaign. However, you can battle up to three other people via the DS' wireless capabilities or play against some bots, so even though the single player doesn't have a lot of these flying missions you can get your fix whenever you want. It's really the only reason to buy the DS version, and although it's a bit pricier than its GBA counterpart, it's without question superior because of this feature.
The last thing you want to do with a Star Wars game is screw up its presentation, but again I am extremely impressed with Revenge of the Sith. The graphics don't appear to be taxing the DS hardware but everything looks very impressive. The 2D graphics are superb and the character animations (which include light saber attacks and how droids blow up and fall apart) are exquisite. However, as good as the visuals are the real star of this game is its soundtrack. Aside from Electroplankton, I haven't heard much from the DS' speakers that's worth listening to, but John Williams' score truly shines. If you have external speakers, I recommend plugging them into the DS. It sounds that good.
There's really very little to complain about here. We can argue that the game is too short (you'll beat it about ten hours), and we can say that the AI is cheap but none of this mars the gameplay experience. It's just a matter of figuring out patterns and recognizing that what you just did was really stupid and you deserved to lose. With that being said, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is an outstanding game that's a must buy if you're a fan or just looking for a great beat-em-up/space shooter. Not only is it a blast to play, but its presentation is over-the-top and in your face. The music. The graphics. The combat. The SPOILERS!!! Being able to pilot a Tie Fighter, X-Wing, or Star Fighter. The unlockables! Buy this immediately.
What's Hot: Really great presentation and a lot of fun to play!
What's Not: A bit short, and it has a few spoilers from the movie a couple of weeks before the big show hits.