Thursday, November 18, 2010

Star Wars games!

As I mentioned last post, I'm doing anything I can to fuel my Star Wars obsession at the moment. Of course that means that my gaming tastes have also had a Star Wars flavour, and believe it or not I've actually played through three generations of Playstation in order to satisfy my Jedi enthused yearnings... I'll now take you through my Sony console odyssey!

Starting off, we have Episode One:The Phantom Menace representing the PS1. Now this is a rather lovely movie franchise tie-in from way back in the simple 32 bit era... That's right folks, its my favourite decade... the 90s!

The first thought I had, on re-playing this classic title, was that it was graphically great for the time it was made. The developers managed to get a lot out of the system visually, and the cut scenes are pretty impressive. It was through playing this game that I actually discovered a rather pleasing feature of the PS3. There is an option which allows you to "smooth off" some of the pixellation and jagged edges on your PS1 games, thus enhancing the graphics.

Now this is nothing new... the Dreamcast was able to do something similar a generation ago with the Bleemcast software... but it does enhance the playing experience when sampling retro Playstation goodies...

The game plays through each scenario of the movie, but adding a slight 'Tomb Raider style' platforming element to the story. There is also a good amount of Jedi style combat, employing both light sabre skills and force moves.

Voice acting, sound effects and musical score are of top quality, and overall the game carries the prestige, of being the most 'pleasantly surprising' of the trio I'm sharing with you in this post. That's because despite being a product from the last millenium, it's actually a game which is still very enjoyable in 2010. The game is quite addictive and the save system is very forgiving, but the game can still be frustrating when you have to repeat the same jump or battle over an over again... Now on to number two!

Representing the PS2 we have Episode Three: The Revenge Of The Sith. I picked this title up quite some time ago at Blockbuster as part of a "three for £5" deal. Very often I'll pick up a game and then not even think about it for months. Much later I'll think "Now what can I play today?", go and have a root around and discover a hidden gem! That was the case with this particular game. (I think I bought it during my obsession with London based gangster title, The Getaway. At that time I was not interested in the Star Wars universe and therefore the title got shelved.)

The game is pedestrian and straightforward, with no attempts to dazzle or amaze, but it very much satisfies my Lucas based cravings. Graphically not that amazing, but the simple and uncomplicated gameplay more than makes up for it. As you progress (in a very linear way) through the plot of the film, you accrue Jedi powers and combat skills by earning points for stylishly dispatching your foes. Again the whole aural side of things is sublime with great voice acting and an excellent soundtrack. The game is relatively easy to play through, and again the save system is forgiving.

Unfortunatelywhilst playing through and saving this game, I managed to wipe out the entire memory and saves that I had on my PS1 internal memory of my PS3, thus erasing about 6 levels of my progress on the Phantom Menace... DOH! Now onto the next and final game, this time on the PS3...

The best of the featured trio of Playstation offerings, is the rather fabulous PS3 offering, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. It's not it's current generation status that makes it the winner
( -you can actually play a version of the game PS2- ) nor the shiny graphics, or enhanced Force abilities.

It's the fact that it expands the Star Wars story and sheds some light on the events between Episode III and Episode IV. It also allows characters from Episode III to appear alongside characters from Episode IV (Bail and Leia Organa) when the actors who played those characters (Jimmy Smits and Carrie Fisher) filmed their respective roles over twenty years apart... I think that's amazing!

Leia Organa (portrayed by Carrie Fisher in 1978) and Bail Organa
(portrayed by Jimmy Smits in 2005) meet up in a videogame in 2008!

The star of the game is Darth Vader's secret apprentice, Galen Marek, also known as Starkiller.
The game charts the path of his relationship with Vader. The plot is almost Shakesperean in it's twists and turns - Vader murders Marek's father then adopts him. He brings him up as a Sith Lord, but Starkiller is redeemed through his love for new character Juno Eclipse, being drawn from the Dark Side of the Force into the Light and eventually becoming a Jedi.

- There is far more to his backstory than that, but suffice to say, this new examination of an interesting and murky period in the Star Wars chronology and plot development is extremely exciting for Star Wars nerds like myself!

,Galen Marek or Starkiller - (Darth Vader's secret apprentice)
expands the Star Wars story in an extremely tantalising way!

The gameplay of Force Unleashed, becomes more enjoyable as you progress through the game and your destructive Force powers increase. I say destructive Force powers, because destruction is the name of the game. Although Starkiller is more than capable of handling a light sabre with skill and dexterity, his modus operandi is to storm through his oponents hitting them with Force 'push','lightning' or 'grab'. This sends foes and parts of the environment flying off into the cosmos.

So there you go! Three generations of games but all with a common feature... 'quality'!

I'll put some video of each one here under the post, so you can see what they look like. May I leave you with the assurance, that I'll leave Star Wars alone as subject matter for my next few posts. I've actually got a backlog of played games to tell you about, due to my year long hiatus... Enjoy the videos (although I really disagree with the Revenge Of The Sith review) and I'll make a pledge to get out and visit some of my favourite blogs over the weekend... See you soon!


Emma's Daddy said...

Good reviews there father, for three games I've never played (I have used Forced Unleashed 1 but only in multiplayer) I may try and find those games because they are multiformat (I think).

As for my favourite Star Wars games, its been something of a personal quest for the last 15 or so years. I would highly recommend Knights Of the Old Republic -Fantastic story (would have made a brilliant prequel trilogy -just needed to change a few names and there you go -winner!) great gameplay, characters you care about, make your own lightsabre the list goes on...

Flightsims have been a mixed bag. I think the Rogue Squadron games are pretty good. But the best in my opinion, without question, -if you can find it, and if you have a PC which can run it- is X-WING which is just multi-layered awesomeness. TIE FIGHTER is cool too (and a little bit easier). I was never so keen on X-WING vs TIE FIGHTER (probably because we could never get the thing to work properly.

There you go!

fatherkrishna said...

Why thank you dear ED! Is it possible to play KOTR on any of the current consoles or is it PC only?

Even if I don't get to play the game, I'll research it's place in the expanded Star Wars universe. I'm off to see if there is any KOTR on youtube and if the story is in the wookiepedia!

I seem to remember a few of the wise old sages on PDF raving about it.

blondejon said...

star wars pod racer on the n64 was the finest star wars game ever!!

Barry the Nomad said...

Love the Star Wars games, especially the Dreamcast offerings for obvious reasons. Great write up!

You should check out the Star Wars Battlefront games, they're good old mindless fun.

Barry the Nomad said...

Oh yeah, and KOTR is on the original XBOX and is playable on the 360. I played it a few weeks back, lots of fun.