Last month's Lego Star Wars may go down in history as the only Star Wars game based specifically within the storylines of George Lucas' recent prequels to actually be any good. This somewhat disheartening statement is solidified by the most recent game based on one of the films, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Revenge of the Sith certainly had a great deal of potential, featuring lots of scenes taken directly from the film that currently isn't even out yet, lots of lightsaber dueling, and 16 missions based around action-packed sequences from the film (as well as a few bonus missions). Unfortunately, the scenes taken from the movie give an awful lot of the upcoming movie away while still leaving out too much story to be relevant. Meanwhile, the lightsaber dueling is ultimately too repetitive and easily exploited to be very fun for long, and each of the 16 missions (and subsequent bonus missions) don't take more than 10 to 20 minutes apiece to complete. As a result, the sum of Revenge of the Sith's parts is simply a repetitious and fleeting experience that won't appeal to anyone outside of Star Wars' most devoted audience.
Luke, I am your cash-in movie-licensed game.
If you've been keeping up with movie news over the last year or so, you probably already know the majority of the plot details for Lucas' third and final Star Wars prequel. Needless to say, the game follows that storyline almost exclusively, albeit in somewhat of a dubious fashion. In Revenge of the Sith, you play as both Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi and Hayden Christensen's Anakin Skywalker (although neither actor actually plays his role for the purposes of the game), and the game version of the story focuses almost entirely on events directly related to these two characters, almost completely ignoring any of the other major players, save for when those major players happen to be involved in an action sequence with one or both members of the twosome. As you probably would expect, Revenge of the Sith is an extremely spoiler-heavy game, giving away a lot of plot details, as well as the ending of the film (although a somewhat truncated version of it). Actually, the truncation of the storyline is the most problematic aspect of it. Most of the edits the developer made were seemingly done to keep the action moving. So little, if any, of the real drama from the upcoming movie seems to have made it in here...assuming there is any, of course. Mainly it's just a lot of swordfighting and blaster shooting, with little bouts of emotionless shouting between the main characters. Perhaps once the film is out and everyone's seen it, filling in the blanks will be less of a problem. And maybe then the game's method of storytelling will seem less disjointed (since you'll already know what's going on). But on its own, the game is kind of a mess.
Fundamentally, Revenge of the Sith is a beat-'em-up in which the characters have lightsabers and Force powers instead of fists and knives. Both Anakin and Obi-Wan control exactly the same at the beginning of the game. You've got a few different types of lightsaber attacks that can be strung together into some basic combos, as well as the ability to manipulate the Force in all sorts of crazy ways, like being able to levitate objects and people, project energy blasts, and even use the old Jedi mind trick to turn your enemies against one another. Through the early portions, you don't get access to any of the particularly good combos or Force powers, so you'll find yourself executing a whole lot of the same moves over and over again, which becomes extremely tedious. Once you get a little over halfway through the game, however, the combos start becoming deeper, and the roster of Force powers becomes a lot more fun to play around with. Sadly, some other problems pretty much knock the wind from the gameplay's sails right quick, though.
For one thing, the game is altogether much, much too easy. Two-thirds of the time, you're just running around linear levels, cutting up easy-to-kill droids that barely put up a fight, let alone enough of a fight to even damage you if you just hold down the block button. Periodically, this tedium is broken up by some slow-paced and dull turret-shooting sequences. However, all they do is desperately make you want to get back to cutting up robots. Later in the game, you start fighting some more-fearsome foes, including some bosses that represent major players in the storyline. Here, you'll basically be indulging in some fairly epic, though still altogether too easy, lightsaber duels where you'll actually have to periodically make use of your dodge and counter moves. Though, again, you won't use them as much as you'll just have to hold down the block button and wait for a quick chance to strike. The overpowered block really does wreck a lot of the fun, as it's incredibly easy to just avoid getting hit at all by most enemies. The characters you duel with do have some block-breaking moves, but they don't do a whole lot of damage. It's also entirely too easy to just back an enemy into a corner and just keep hammering on the attack button. Eventually your opponent will get his or her block up, but he or she will take a lot of damage before doing so.