Star Wars: Obi Wan

The Fate of a Jedi.
The Destiny of a Galaxy.
The Disappointment of an Ugly Mediocre Game With Some Interesting Concepts.

"Star Wars: Obi Wan" is a bit of a shame, really. It looks pretty average, it plays pretty average, but there are some rather interesting bits to it. You play as Obi Wan, with various missions set at different points in his career, from the early days of Padawanage, whatever that means, to the events of Episode 1 and more. The game came out in 2001, so don't expect a lot of Ep 2/3 content, assuming you're sick and sad enough to want it.

It's a third person run-and-slash game, with minimal puzzle elements, and a rather odd interface - Obi Wan is always stuck in the centre of the screen, and it feels like you're moving the scenery rather than him most of the time. It takes a while to get used to, and never really makes a lot of sense. I was hoping odd rotate and push controls would've died with the earlier Resident Evil games, but alas, no. Your control of his lightsaber is pretty nifty, however, swinging the right thumbstick around feels intuitive and results in some good looking moves. Bad guy's arms and their weapons will be flying everywhere in no time.

The other interesting part of this game is the force powers. You can push, pull, throw and jump using the force - push to move objects or people, pull to disarm opponents, throw to make like Darth Vader in "The Empire Strikes Back" and hit people with loose clutter, and jump to make high or longer jumps. This is achieved by judicious use of a force meter (there are collectables to increase it), and holding a shoulder button and pressing the relevant button to activate the power. It's even possible to throw your lightsaber like a boomerang, which is rather cool.

Did I mention I'd seen Dreamcast games with better backgrounds and textures?

The use of the force and the control of the saber are fun at least for a while, it's just disappointing that they're in such a mediocre game with such odd control of the main character himself. Have I mentioned that the voice work is brilliant? Whoever they got to do Obi Wan's voice is, instead of doing an impersonation of the Obi Wan character, is actually doing an impersonation of Ewan McGregor's impersonation of Sean Connery from "Trainspotting", and doing it overly nasally. It never, ever gets old.

There's a two player mode as well, where you can fight a pal with sabres, the Force, trash talk, the whole bit, with a split screen, but in order to unlock characters to play it with, you'll have to complete more and more of the game itself. I'm not entirely convinced it'd be worth it. Really only worth a quick go for the sake of fiddling with the Force powers, but one hopes that "Star Wars: Force Unleashed" will surpass this and save you the effort, if you're that interested.

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