Have you ever heard of a little movie called Star Wars: Phantom Menace? Of course you have. How would you like to
play it? I don't mean pop it in the DVD player (although it's very nice of you to offer), I mean
PLAY it. Be immersed in it and in control of it. Well, that's why the Xbox was invented.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan, the new game from
LucasArts, places you in the shoes of young Obi-Wan himself as he makes an attempt
to squelch the newly formed Trade Federation. The story closely follows the motion picture, Star Wars: Phantom Menace, including
meetings with Qui-Gon Jinn, your Jedi Master
(Liam Neeson), Princess Amidala (Natalie Portman), Yoda (Yoda), Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson), and a host of other
characters and settings from the motion picture, including one very difficult and time consuming battle with Darth Maul.
As Obi-Wan (yes, you are Ewan McGregor), your only equipment is
a light saber, a pair of binoculars, and the Force, but don't worry, that's all you'll need because
that light saber has some tricks up its sleeve. Sure, it can slash through droids with grace and
strength and it can deflect incoming laser fire back at the shooter, like you're taking batting practice.
But did you know that you can throw it like a boomerang and guide it on its way to taking out 4 droids
at once? Didn't think so. You see, that is one powerful light saber and you might
think it complicated to control. Do not fear. The light saber is completely
controlled by the right analog stick. That is its only purpose. This makes it remarkably
intuitive and a joy to use because it eliminates hitting the wrong button altogether and
adds a dimension of fluidity and natural control to the game.
In addition to your light saber, you also posses the Force. The Force allows you to jump
a little higher, go into slo-mo (Matrix) mode, push droids and enemies back, and makes your
saber attacks more powerful and intricate. Oh yeah, along the way, you'll also pick up
various grenades and a sniper rifle or two.
In a nut shell, the game is divided into 5 chapters, each
chapter containing various missions. You play your way through various cities, swamps, and space
outposts, killing as many droids and assassins as you can, all the while figuring out how
to get to where you need to go, culminating in a final battle with Darth Maul. The missions
have been well thought out, and are challenging without being frustrating.
In addition, each mission has 5 medals for your to earn, including light saber
accuracy, time, and how well you use the Force. There is also
a multiplayer mode, where you and a friend duel using any number of Jedis.
The environmental graphics are simply spectacular. As you look around, the game pulls you in with
strikingly accurate water reflections, lush panoramic
valleys, detailed and interactive cities, and the some of the best skies I have seen. The character graphics
are a little cartoony, or maybe I should say, action-figurey. Obi-Wan looks
and moves a little bit like you'd imagine a G.I. Joe to run. The light saber
graphics, however, steal the show. It's as good as in the movies, and gives
you that same rush.
I had more fun with this game than I have had with any game in a long time. You feel
like you're part of George Lucas' world. Whether you're using the force to push enemies off of cliffs
and into walls or deploying your light saber and returning some enemy fire, you'll love
how this game looks, feels, and plays. May the Force be with you young Jedi.