The Force is with Obi-Wan
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Originally developed for the PC, Obi-Wan was eventually released exclusively for the Xbox. Although this may anger some PC owners, you can see where the game fits right into the Xbox format.
As you can imagine from the title, you get to play Obi-Wan. In this case, you get to play him in his pre-episode I role of a young Jedi padawan. What really makes this game cool for me is getting to use a lot of the Jedi powers from the movies. Though I must admit, I am awaiting all the cool games that herald the release of Episode II. I know some of the other reviewers are having a ton of fun with Jedi Starfighter for the PS2.
This game is basically a whole lot of combat which could get boring, but is saved by the fact that you're a Jedi who is wielding a light saber. And the light saber is easy to control using the right joystick controller.
If you move the controller up, Obi-Wan does an over-head swing. If you move it right, he swings right, and if you move it left he swings left. As I said it is very easy to control. Best of all, if you don't enter any commands, he tends to block all attacks really well.
Using the force is also very easy. To activate a force power you hold in the left trigger and then by using one of the buttons, you use a force ability such as "A" for super-jump or "X" for force pull, very useful in pulling the weapons of your enemy out of their hands. My favorite power is the force push, where you get to push your enemies over the many edges in the game. A force meter, which is located at the bottom right hand side of your screen, regulates use of your force abilities. Your powers are used up pretty quickly, but they also replenish quickly.
Once you get beyond the cool force powers and the wading your way through your foes, the game looses its edge. I found the levels to be well designed when I was fighting my way through them, but once they are cleared, there is not much to denote the local color. Empty is the best way I can think to describe many of the levels. However, if the mission requires that you traverse back through the same area, you will find it pleasantly restocked with bad guys.
Unfortunately, the bad guys could have a better AI than the one currently provided for them. They do pretty good right up on you, but when they spot you at a distance, they don't always use their brains when they try to get you.
At the end of each level, you encounter a cool cut scene. Unfortunately the cut scenes look about as good as the game does, and that is not saying a lot. Another downfall is that the transition from cut scene back into game play is often poorly handled. Often you wont know exactly what is going on or how you go there.
Of all the things that I was disappointed about in this game, the one thing that I found most disappointing was the graphics. For the most part, the Xbox games that I have looked at for GiN have all been terrific. However in this case, Obi-Wan just does not use the full power of the Xbox.
Don't get me wrong, Obi-Wan looks good and some of his moves look really cool. It is the other details, like the guys who are fighting you that just don't look very good. And the game actually hangs in spots when there are a lot of guys on the screen. The most powerful console platform on the market should not be doing that at all. Also, the camera is a little unwieldy.
As for sound, the effects for Obi-Wan that were pulled from the movie sound really good, but the stuff that was put together for the game is noticeably of a lower quality.
Overall, I have to admit that I really enjoyed playing Obi-Wan. It is when I took a closer look at this title that I began to see that the quality that I have come to expect from Lucas Arts was lacking in this game. If you're a big fan of all things Jedi, and you want to take a bunch of bad guys using a light saber and lots of cool force powers, then you should really pick up this game, it is a lot of fun. However if you're a stickler for good graphics and a game with a really deep plot, then you should wait until this summer where I hope LucasArts will take the time to put out some really great games that complement Episode II.
Chris Richards is a Gin Product Tester. He played his first game in 1985, Rogue, and it has been downhill ever since. Chris can be contacted at : firstname.lastname@example.org.