Less Than Thunderous Applause
On one hand you’ve got Obi-Wan: the refined, wisely patient, no-nonsense Jedi we’ve grown to love. On the other there’s Anakin: the short-tempered, Dark Side-drifting Jedi we’ve learned to tolerate. Whether it’s settling political disputes, making aggressive negotiations, or intersecting planets in galactic space-chases, the Jedi twosome is more than enough for the job. And in this game their combined abilities and friendship is highlighted to a fault.
In Revenge of the Sith you follow the paths of both Kenobi and Skywalker as they attempt to rid the galaxy of Count Dooku, General Grievous, and other Jedi-threatening menaces. Each Jedi has an impressive repertoire of lightsaber combat moves and Force powers, and is quite possibly “the best Jedi combat to date”—as boasted by developers The Collective, who’s responsible for the mediocre adventure title Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb.
Lightsaber combat in games has never been fully realized. Many hail the fighting system of the Jedi Knight series, but the animations are much too jerky and spastic. And while the KOTOR series might possess the most accurate moves and style, it is of course turn-based—so the level of interactivity and fluidity falls short. Not only does Sith capture the feeling of being a Jedi, but it improves the combat and puts it leagues ahead of all other Star Wars games in terms of accuracy and style—much ado to the inside work with prequel lightsaber combat and stunt choreographer, Nick Gillard.
Anakin’s raw aggression comes across with his powerful swings, while his arrogant side reveals itself with his many spins and twirls of the lightsaber. On the other hand, Obi-Wan is very precise and defensive with short, quick attacks that cause much damage. These contrasting styles do much to impart character, at least more than wooden dialog ever could.
And then there’s the Force Powers, which play a large role in this movie-based game. Scripted events such as having to move demolished droids using only the Force are present, but its main use is coinciding with the combat system. Much like your trusty lightsaber, the Force is literally your weapon as you perform a plethora of attacks ranging from the average Force Push to Anakin’s post-turn Force Lightning. The use of the Force in such a manner only adds to Sith‘s already superior combat system.
However, as well as the combat works, the game feels more like a Star Wars knockoff rather than an official movie adaptation/tie-in.
In an odd turn, LucasArts released the game two weeks before the movie, which resulted in the featured movie clips being cut to an extent that they barely mirror the scenes in which they’re meant to depict. Bosses are killed differently; the voices were recorded not by the movie actors, but by their Clone Wars counterparts; the epic score is missing; and for a game that is based on a movie that features many powerful characters, the only playable roles are that of Anakin and Obi-Wan. Now had they entitled this game Star Wars Episode III: The Adventures of Obi-Wan and Anakin, I would be fine with that. But it’s marketed as a movie tie-in, as a game that will recreate the most memorable big screen scenes. Failure to recognize any part of the movie that doesn’t directly involve Obi-Wan or Anakin is despicable.
The cut-down story mode with a grand total of 16 missions is something that will last no more than a short weekend… and that’s if you stretch it. Five bonus missions are to be unlocked and there is a good amount of artwork to be discovered, but these hardly warrant further play. In fact, the only redeeming value Sith has in terms of replayability is its excellent two-player versus mode. Think Virtua Fighter with lightsabers.
As you unlock characters throughout the game, you can use them in mano a mano combat. By the end of the one-player adventure you’ll have nine playable fighters (including two special surprises) with whom to do battle.
Sadly, however, this is the game’s saving grace; if not for this, Sith, with its wonderful combat and unremarkable voice acting, would be nothing more than just another average movie game.