maanantai 18. huhtikuuta 2011

REVIEW - Star Wars: The New Droid Army (2002)

GENRE(S): Action / Adventure
RELEASED: November 2002
DEVELOPER(S): Helixe, LucasArts

Six months after the release of the awful Game Boy Advance title based on Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, THQ put out a new game in promotion of the most recent Star Wars movie. Even the most dedicated fans of the franchise weren't too excited about the new game until it was revealed that it wasn't really based on Episode II, but served as a stand-alone video game sequel to its events. I didn't give a damn about that, but I thought I'd give the game a shot after hearing it was somewhat influenced by Star Wars Episode I: Obi-Wan's Adventures, which I thought was all right. I stumbled on a decent game, at least in comparison to the last game which had Hayden Christensen for a cover boy...

...But I'm running out of suitable quotes!

A few months after his defeat and near slaughter at the hands of Dooku, Anakin Skywalker confronts the Jedi Council to assure them of his physical health and travels to Tatooine to investigate Dooku and his Separatist army's actions. He uncovers his arch nemesis' plot to create an army of powerful droids, and his ultimate goal of destroying the Jedi Archives.

Hunting for whatever makes the womprats
You'll start to see the game's true aim about halfway through when it comes to the storyline, and in the end it's obvious; the developers created an alternative ending to the prequel trilogy, which makes absolutely no sense. There's no mention of Palpatine in the game, it seems that Dooku is the main antagonist of Star Wars, and if I spoil someone's fun, so be it, but in the end of this game, Anakin becomes a hero to all Jedi and lives happily ever after. See? No sense! The initial purpose of the whole prequel trilogy was to provide details on how a kind-hearted child slave from Tatooine became a fearsome Sith tyrant known throughout the galaxy (far, far away) as the greatest villain of all time. This game's storyline creates a paradox like no other, it overturns the whole franchise. It's horrible. Well, at least the game is somewhat playable - not good for much more than simply killing time, though.

The game is isometric and a quick glance at it easily reminds one of Obi-Wan's Adventures on the Game Boy Color, and Jedi Power Battles on the Advance. However, the sprites are made up of tiny polygons to enable more realistic character movement; Anakin's character model looks like a miniature version of the one in the abysmal Attack of the Clones. The environments are very, very bland, and the level design in general is very much about creating illusions of grandeur, with dozens of virtual miles of empty space. The sound effects are OK, the music's the same as it's been in all games based on the later Star Wars movies thus far, only a bit more ambient throughout the line.

Those stupid droids always fall for the same
At first, The New Droid Army looks like an RPG, which is a very quickly shattered illusion. The maps are huge, and you will learn very soon that most of it is indeed just empty space. All of the NPC's you can talk to or otherwise interact with are clearly marked on the map, there are usually just one or two of them, and there's simply nothing to collect in the whole game. No power-ups, no secrets, nothing. All you need to do is keep track of your mission objectives, which change constantly, and deal with them. In other words: travel from point A to point B, save captive citizens, locate informants, kill a lot of wild animals or alternatively, send a lot of droids to the scrapyard. There's not much more to the game.

Anakin moves SLOWLY. You have the Force at your disposal, and you can use one spell from the beginning which allows you to sprint as long as your Force meter has gas - both the Force meter and your health meter regenerate in time. "Yay." Why they didn't make this an auto-ability is beyond me. You gain an additional spell whenever you finish a chapter in the storyline. Most of the spells are quite useless in the long run, but of course there are some instances during which you simply cannot proceed without using some of them. The lightsaber antics are basic stuff we've been seeing in these games for years, but they work a bit better. By pressing the D-Pad in different directions while you're chopping an enemy to bits, you can execute some pretty neat combos. The good old deflecting trick works better than ever, and I just love humiliating and killing ranged enemies with it.

Jabba's dungeon ain't for the impatient.
The neat combos and realistic animation make hacking up enemies kind of fun, but after figuring out there's really not much more to the gameplay besides walking in slow motion and unleashing lightsaber rage across dozens of huge maps, you'll get bored of the game before reaching the halfway mark. Jumping over chasms using the Force Jump is one true problem which rears near the halfway mark; sometimes Anakin just refuses to jump, and sometimes the direction of the jump seems to change magically after you trigger it, sending you down into the pit and back into the beginning of the stage. Luckily The New Droid Army is not a very lengthy game, nor is it that difficult. The only thing that might prompt Star Wars fans to engage in round two, is the opportunity to play as Luke Skywalker, which is there from the very beginning in consideration of haters of Hayden Christensen, unlockable via a simple, three-letter password.

Star Wars: The New Droid Army is moderate fun for a while, but really recommendable for true, relentless Star Wars fanatics only - and even they are very likely turned off by the ridiculous, highly paradoxical storyline. Like I said, to me it's perfectly enough that it somewhat makes up for the sheer abomination that Attack of the Clones was.

SOUND : 7.3


GameRankings: 58.92%

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti