Star Wars Jedi Power Battles
Until now there wasn't a Star Wars game that involved much saber-whacking, and maybe it should have stayed that way. After playing Power Battles, I wondered if it would have just been easier to become a real-life Jedi than it is to control a video game one. After enduring one of the cheesiest CGI intros to a game, you must pick one of several Jedi to control. Each looks and moves differently, but they all control equally horribly. Combat consists of pressing buttons to execute different types of jedi attacks, some of which are combos. The problem is that the attacks take too long to execute, watering down the action into a chess game where you must block then decide which attack to use over and over again--who would have thought jedi warfare would be so boring? This wouldn't be completely bad if LucasArts polished things up. Right now, the 3D graphics are incredibly glitchy, to the point that their flakiness causes you to die because of disappearing scenery. Checkpoints are few and far between, making these problems worse since you must retrace large parts of the levels. Nothing seems to be hashed out well-even the potentially cool two-player cooperative mode is ill-conceived. The only great part about the game is its superb music and sound effects, but you might as just buy the movie soundtrack CD instead since that's just about all this game has to offer.
To its credit, Jedi Power Battles tries to be more than a simple Phantom /Menace-flavored beat-'em-up. The developers implemented a control system that seemingly adds depth, while you also get a decent amount of combos and Force tricks for your five characters. Trouble is, the control scheme only works well a third of the time. Locking onto enemies and focusing attacks is fine when only one or two baddies appear on screen. But when surrounded, you must rely on hit-and-run tactics, which become a chore with the loose control (platform jumping's no picnic, either). You can unlock some nifty fighters and mini-games, but they're not worth the frustration.
It would've been one thing if the game was either strictly a platformer or a side-scrolling beat-'em-up. But the developers tried to do both, creating a frustrating mix, suffering from shoddy-looking graphics and loose control. Forget about being able to pull off quick jumps or blocks. Seems as if the levels were designed with more attention to accuracy within the Star Wars universe than making them fun. There are awe-inspiring moments--like the way battle droids sometimes mistakenly kill their own kind with their blasters, or being able to deflect shots with your lightsaber. But those moments can't save this game from mediocrity.