Game-A-Week: Star Wars: Republic Commando

Title: Star Wars: Republic Commando

The Gist: You play as a Clone trooper, grown especially to lead an elite commando squad of troopers. Your missions vary but you’ll be typically dropped into situations no normal trooper could handle and are capable of leveling droid factories if you work well with your squad. You’ll be playing it as a first person shooter with the ability to issue orders to your squad, those squad members will be able to complete tasks such as hacking doors, targeting specific enemies and setting up explosive charges. Continue reading

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Game-A-Week: Star Wars The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes

Game Title: Star Wars The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes (PC)

The Gist: Another Star Wars game, they’re plenty in number these days and I don’t think a year goes by without Lucas approving a new game of some sort. This game in particular extends the Clone Wars TV series and allows players to take control of Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Clone Troopers and various other characters along the way. The game is spliced with scenes similar to that of the Clone Wars series in order to carry the Story similar to that of an episode that bridges the gap between the first and second season. The game feels like it’s been set up as a clone wars based imitation of The Force Unleashed and designed for kids. Levels take place on a third person view for both characters themselves and vehicles such as speeders. You fight enemies and navigate obstacles occasionally finding a vehicle or a boss fight such as a giant battle droid.

Pros: You get to play with a lightsaber pure and simple. No matter how bad a Star Wars game can be as long as you have a lightsaber to swing, it’s got something in it most people want. I like the ‘attempt’ at bridging the first and second series of Clone Wars however the first hour of game play revealed little in the way of Story and felt more like an excuse to use the characters from the series. Bizarrely whilst Jedi levels feel pretty boring the Clone Trooper based ones feel rather fun and make me wonder if this should have been the concept for the game instead, in fact I have the urge to load up Republic Commando sometime soon.

Cons: Graphically this game is ugly. With full settings, max AA and such the game still has a distinct feel that it’s nowhere near as polished as it could have been. The difficulty settings for the game essentially consist of normal or hard…hard being easy enough for a gamer of any calibre to beat the game. The challenge sections of the game are clearly designed for two players only, anyone doing these on single player even on hard will find no challenge at all and most likely find themselves bored. The cinematics do not match the quality of the series which is a shame as the voice over work is spot on and utilises the same cast as the series itself. The in game dialogue does however seem badly ‘edited’ and often feels like someone’s rushing the lines in order to make game play occur sooner. Whilst this might be what some gamers would like, more pew-pew less chatter, as a Clone Wars fan I’d actually like to sit and watch both cinematics and dialogue from characters. One of the features of the game is being able to jump onto battle droids and stab your lightsaber into them enabling you to take control of the unit for a short period of time, blasters and all. The game utilises Games For Windows Live which brings achievements to the game, however these achievements are essentially a child’s way of building up his game score, being rewarded for completing a level or jumping onto a battle droid.

Musical Note: The music is a collection of classic Star Wars style music mixed with specific Clone Wars music that is overplayed as it should be to each area of the game.

Hunger Level: After playing for an hour I felt little desire to continue playing. Even after watching the latest episode of Clone Wars the game did not entice me to play on.

Conclusion: This game is one of those Star Wars games that uses the franchise as motivation to play a bad game. You’re much better off playing The Force Unleashed if you’re looking to use force powers and a lightsaber, not that TFU is without flaws itself. Give it a miss unless you happen to find a copy of the game inside a box of cereal, at the bottom of a well or if it’s incredibly cheap and you’ve nothing better to do.

One Hour, One Review, One ‘Game-a-Week’ @ Black Vinculum

‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Falls to the Darkside

 

In the past two months Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Season 3), has drifted away from season three’s politics and fallen to the dark side by means of not one but two trilogies.

The Nightsister Trilogy’ finds Dooku’s assassin Asajj being deemed too powerful by the emperor, Seeing her as a threat Dooku’s ordered to dispose of her. Surviving and seeking revenge against her former master Asajj brings a new character into play, Savage Opress, allowing him to become Dooku’s new apprentice and her aid in battle against Dooku when she wishes it. The episodes feature several well choreographed fight scenes and insights into the Sith training process which bring a much needed change of pace to the events we’ve been following in the Clone Wars this year.

The second trilogy steps away from the battlefield that is the Star Wars galaxy and ends up becoming an echo of things to come. Both Shimi Skywalker, Anakin’s mother and Qui-Gon Jinn make an appearance (guess voiced by both Liam Neeson and Pernilla August from Episode One). We return to the prophecy of Anakin being the one who will bring balance to the force, interplay between the light-aligned Daughter, the dark-aligned Son (voiced by Sam Witwer/Starkiller of The Force Unleashed!) and their neutral farther on the Force imbued plane of…wherever it is. We get a glimpse at a few interesting concepts such as Anakin discovering his fate, his decisions after discovering this and Dark-Side Ahoka Tano. Interestingly ‘The Son’ at one point in development was going to be the character Darth Revan from Knights of the Old Republic. Being a major fan of that character myself I’m sort of glad I didn’t see this happen, yet I’m intrigued of course. It seems his scenes were actually animated for the episode but pulled by Lucas himself. I rather hope we’ll see this footage surface someday, perhaps on the DVD/Blu-ray for the episode.

Both trilogies contribute a lot to the Star Wars galaxy, quite honestly more so than the entire Clone Wars series has done to date. I look forward to storylines spun from these trilogies in future episodes and rather hope one will become the thread for the fourth Clone Wars series as it’s rather dark, exciting and may just bring back a character from the first film we believed to be dead. You will cast aside your political storylines and embrace the dark side more frequently…I have foreseen it…

Before the Dark Times, Before the Empire, There were Darker Times

The Old Republic, MMO descendant of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic won’t be in a galaxy far, far away for too much longer. The game’s set three hundred years after KOTOR itself and features the Sith Empire knocking on the Republic’s door for vengeance. It’s your job to either protect the Republic from the Sith, or impale it on the end of your glowing-red lightsaber.

Having followed the game since its announcement I’ve been picking apart any information I come across, re-watched every cinematic, every documentary and digested as many stories as I can find. It’s about time these recourses came together so I’d like to provide what I’ve found so like me you can get your fix of the Old Republic prior to launch.

The first points of call are the cinematics. We’ve two so far, the first ‘Deceived’ depicts the Sacking of Coruscant where basically Jedi were drawn away on peace talks whilst the Sith invaded the capital Republic system. The second trailer ‘Hope’ gives us an insight into the ongoing battles between the Republic and the Sith Empire throughout the galaxy, this fight in particular taking place on Alderan. Both trailers feature Jedi and Sith clashing lightsabers and scream epic.

They might not be as flashy as the trailers but there are also two series of web comics, Threat of Peace and Blood of the Empire. Each tells a story from the creators of The Old Republic itself spanning several issues available for free on the Old Republic’s website.

Accompanying the pre-release content are a few novels, the first and only available at time of writing being Fatal Alliance which has both the Republic and Sith Empire racing to claim a treasure that will aid their cause. There are more novels on the way such as Deceived which tells a tale featuring the main Sith from the deceived trailer.

If you’re the sort who prefers watching something to reading, or you’re just wanting as much information on The Old Republic as you can get, there are also a series of Galactic Timeline videos voiced by Lance Henriksen (Bishop from Aliens). These are intended to be content of a vast Jedi archive and have a new addition from time to time.

Those interested in the making of the game itself can follow both the Developer Dispatches (video), and the Developer Blogs (written blog). These typically consist of world design and Class creation for various sections of the game.

It seems that these pre-release aspects of the game will continue to grow, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a third cinematic not too far from now too. It certainly gives people something to talk about, The Old Republic has had the floor at many a gaming even such as E3, allowing people to observe the game, test the game and generally crave the game’s release.

I’m glad that the MMO has stuck to the concept of choice as I’m wanting to be as dark as I can be in this game, my first mission is to construct or claim a double-bladed lightsaber (red of course) and learn how to use force lightening to fry my enemies. A famous Sith once said, “Join me and together we can rule the galaxy…”, this galaxy’s about to become mine, and I don’t plan on sharing.