Review by funderbunkle

"The freak love child of Star Wars, Rainbow Six, Halo, and Metroid Prime"

Meh, the actual review is much more positive.

This is one seriously awesome game, though. If you own an Xbox and haven't played it yet, go out and find a copy. It's cheap enough now to justify such a short length.

Graphically, the game looks great. For a 2005 Xbox title, it's downright beautiful. Some of the textures are a bit muddy, but it's understandable. There are lots of really cool little details everywhere, and they do a beautiful job of setting the mood in the game. Geonosis feels like a hive, the CIS ship feels robotic and unfamiliar, the abandoned Republic cruiser looks exactly like one would expect a pre-Empire military ship to look like, and Kashyyyk feels like a gigantic forest. The art direction here is incredibly strong, and it benefits the game significantly. I love that the visor is visible on the screen; it really makes the player feel like he/she is inside the helmet of a Clone Commando.

The animation is stellar. The commandos move and fight in a manner that is actually quite similar to real-world special forces; they actually look like they're highly trained warriors who know what to do to win in a firefight. It's not 100% accurate, but it is pretty close, and you don't see that a lot in most "Special Forces" games nowadays. I wouldn't have ever dreamed of it being in a Star Wars game.

The sound effects are top-notch. Sounds that aren't lifted from the movies still feel very much like Star Wars, and they add another layer of immersion. From the dull, muffled thump of your own footsteps to the explosion of a thermal detonator, it all sounds right.

Voice acting is incredible. A lot of effort was put in to giving each trooper a distinct personality, and it shows. I grew quite attatched to Sev, Fixer, and Scorch (pay attention to his voice -- it's the same guy who did Carth Onasi of KotOR fame)...especially Scorch. His wiseacre comments, A New Hope references ("Look sir, droids!"), and general easygoing attitude did a lot to alleviate the tension of fighting and make it that much more fun. Sev is dark and psychotic, and sets up some great comic moments. Fixer is by-the-book and serious, trying to keep everyone else in line. All the squadmates are incredibly entertaining to fight with, thanks in no small part to the banter that goes on between them. Temeura Morrison's scratchy New Zeland voice makes another awesome appearance in this game, and his characterization of Boss is quite well done. He establishes that Boss is a clone, but he still has a bit of a personality.

The game also had a good sense of humor, and paid homage to the original trilogy a few times (like jumping down an improvised hatch during a firefight in a prison block on a soon-to-be-Imperial starship). The dialogue between squadmates can get pretty funny at times.

The gameplay is, for the most part, a blast. Using your squad is simple, elegant, and intuitive. I never had any problems positioning my teammates or getting them to fight effectively. Their AI is great for the most part (there were some bugs, but they were few and far-between). They know where to go, they stick to cover when they need to, the stick with you and watch your back when you need it. You are all a cohesive unit, and working as a team you are unstoppable. Anytime a teammate goes down, you feel the loss as it affects your fighting performance. Enemy AI is pretty good and is logically written for each different enemy, but can be glitchy on rare occasions. You have a Swiss Army blaster that comes with three different attatchments, plus a few different pick up items and a backup pistol that is surprisingly effective once you learn to pull off headshots with it. The game is challenging, but not impossible, and the learning curve is perfect. Not once did I feel overwhelmed by a new obstacle, and every time I died it was my fault for making the wrong decisions with my squad, not because the game was impossible. The game controls a lot like Halo, with a designated Grenade and Melee button, but it has a little bit of Metroid when it comes to weapon selection. It inherits a little bit more from Metroid in terms of the HUD interface, and then there's a healthy dose of Rainbow Six 3 (console version) in terms of the squad-based combat (but it has a Halo-like body count instead of a relatively sparse 20 or so enemies throughout a level).

There are a few glitches that will pop up from time to time. Once it was crippling to the game and I had to re-load it (for some reason, my weapons and bacta healing weren't working after I got revived one time...and it was right in the middle of fighting a Spider Droid).

Overall, it's a totally awesome game. Go buy it now, it's dirt cheap.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/29/07

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