Star Wars: The Clone Wars Jedi Alliance Review

TCW_Jedi_Alliance_DS
After a long break, it’s finally time to take a look at the next Star Wars game. This title keeps us in the Clone Wars which is the best era in the Star Wars mythos. I know what you’re thinking…how can the prequels have the best timeline? I’ve thought about that myself and it all boils down to the fact that it felt more like a cool Sci-Fi franchise back then. There were a ton of Sith and Jedi fighting it out along with a bunch of other factions who could use light sabers. In Episode IV and beyond, there aren’t really Jedi or Sith anymore so we don’t get a bunch of fights. There are less variables and pieces on the board. That’s why I like this part of the series. Starting from when Anakin became a Jedi to when Darth Vader was in his early days. That’s the best period in the series even if it wasn’t handled too well in the movies.

The Nightsisters have stolen important cargo from the Jedi. It’s a power source that uses the Force and they are going to put it in a weapon that can destroy entire worlds. The Jedi council decides to do something about it so they send in Anakin and Obi Wan. Moreover, they bring in a few other Jedi to assist them when they learn that Count Dooku and other Sith members are involved. It’s a decently large cast and each of the 3 main villains are a serious threat. The leader of the Nightsisters ends up being the most formidable threat as she decides to blow up the planet on her own. Dooku gets some hype since he stays standing after her attack, but he did run off rather quickly.

The game’s cutscenes are a little cheesy when the narrator explains what’s happening. I could have done without him so be honest since he has absolutely no enthusiasm for the game. The actual cutscenes were pretty good though. It’s impressive that the game had voice acting and it helped make the story feel more real. I also thought the actual plot was a lot of fun. Whether these Nightsisters are created for the game or exist in the comics/TV show as well, they were great antagonists. Their designs were really cool and they got a lot of solid lines. Their leader is probably one of my favorite Star Wars villains. I guess I’d put her 4th behind Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Jango Fett. It’ll be hard to defeat those 3. She gained my respect when even Anakin and Mace didn’t want to risk a confrontation with her.

The graphics aren’t amazing, but few DS games are. To this day, Mario 64 DS, One of the Kingdom Heart titles, or Ghost Trick probably leads in this category. Still, it looks reasonable and the game excels during the actual combat. The sword swings are handled pretty well when you engage opponents and the level designs aren’t bad either. This title shines even more with the soundtrack. It has some recycled themes from the other Star Wars Clone Wars games, but also some original one. The cool rock theme that plays when you infiltrate the Nightsister base is really good and gave the level an epic feel. It was my favorite level for that reason and it certainly one of the most hype moments in a Star Wars game.

What hurts the game a bit is the gameplay. The actual platforming can be a little boring since the characters move very slowly. Imagine walking in a Mario game without being allowed to run. That’s their max walking speed in this game and you can’t go any faster. This makes going from place to place a little tedious or at least more than it should have been. There are little minigames that you play to deactivate computers and such like connecting the symbols and connect the circles. They were all right. I don’t think the game needed them, but they were short enough to not really get in the way.

The actual combat is all right although it’s a little repetitive. You keep tapping the screen to hit your opponent and you tap high or low depending where you want to hit. The computer will block everything 100% of the time so you just have to swing until he/she gets tired. Then you actually land some damage and repeat the process. It makes for a fun visual with the constant attacks and I found it to be reasonably enjoyable. It’s just very limited. You have Force abilities but don’t actually use them in combat except for certain bosses who are impervious to any other attack. That was a bit of a missed opportunity since I love wielding the light sabers.

I should mention that you always control the characters through the touch screen. I prefer moving with the control pad myself. This only becomes a problem during the quick time events. Yes, the game actually has a bunch of quick time events which is extremely impressive. I can’t think of any other game that implemented them. Unfortunately, the screen doesn’t always work well. I think this was more on my console than the game as the screen is likely pretty bruised by now. Still, having to repeat an entire section a bunch of times because of that can be a little annoying.

There is some very mild replay value here but not much. You can replay the levels to earn medals, but I don’t really know how you even get the medals. They’re related to challenges in the level I suppose like defeating a certain amount of enemies or something. I can’t say that I’m too interested in trying that. The game’s story was of a reasonable length though. It’ll last you a few good hours and the price is low so it’s not a bad buy.

Overall, The game was pretty fun. It was ahead of its time in some ways, but that also meant that the gameplay styles could be a little rusty like the Quick Time Events. The sword clashing was interesting and while it may not have been the best, it was fun for a while. The game likely benefits from not being too long or the repetition could have begun to really show. I’d definitely recommend buying this Star Wars game. It has likely flown under the radar compared to the more popular titles, but it can hold its own with the solid story it presents and the fun soundtrack that accompanies it. It’s a well made game.

Overall 7/10

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