How Not To Celebrate May The Fourth
2013 has been a rough year for fans of the Star Wars universe, making this year’s May 4th aka May the Fourth, a mixed bag of emotions. Not only did Disney purchase the Star Wars license, but they shutdown LucasArts and cancelled two highly anticipated Star Wars titles, Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313. In the words of Obi-Wan, “I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror.”
The Star Wars universe made its first digital appearance in 1983 with Star Wars: Jedi Arena on the Atari 2600 and over the years it has been exploited across various genres. Some managed to faithfully recreate the movie experience (LEGO Star Wars), expand the universe (Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic) or pay tribute to the lore (Star Wars Pinball). But for every quality title, there has been a bevy of titles that left us yearning for Darth Vader’s Force Choke to end our misery. We teamed up with our buddies from SelectButton and complied a list of Star Wars titles that are not worth celebrating their existence.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Although not the worse Star Wars title we’ve played, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II was one of those sequels that should’ve never existed. The “rebirth” of protagonist Starkiller not only discredited the ending of the original but his existence was no where nearly as epic as in the original. Sure its dazzling graphics were easy on the eyes and using the Force to interact with the environment was enjoyable, but its repetitious gameplay and unfulfilling story lacked depth or substance. Trust us, he is no star.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan
As one of the early titles for the Xbox, Star Wars: Obi-Wan was an action adventure prequel to The Phantom Menace. Taking control Obi-Wan, players used different attack combinations based around lightsabers and Force-pushing enemies, over and over again. Add to that some below-par graphics, a temperamental camera, massive playing areas devoid of atmosphere and idiotic AI and the end result is a disappointingly sloppy journey. The Force was definitely not strong with this one.
Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles
Released for the PlayStation and Dreamcast, Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles seemed like a neat concept. Set during the time frame of The Phantom Menace, the campaign could be played solo or with a friend as you donned the robes of 5 different Jedi Masters – Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Plo Koon, and Adi Gallia. Similar to Final Fight, you ran through stages while destroying everyone and everything in your path, except with your lightsabers. Unfortunately, the end result is a horrendous campaign coupled with awful controls, problematic camera, and crude graphics, nothing good came out of Jedi Power Battles — then again, nothing good came out of Episode I.
Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels
When the Nintendo Wii introduced motion control, the very thought of using the Wiimote as a lightsaber seemed like a dream come true. What we ended up with was Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels, a game based on the movie and animated series of the same brand, and the easiest way to get diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel. Although graphically pleasing to the eyes, duels consisted of waggling the Wiimote left and right and up and down to slice upward and downward. Even with the ability to use the Force, the configuration felt uninspired. Maybe one day we will get a chance to unleash our inner Jedi properly.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
After a phenomenal first game that saw players piece together their mysterious clouded past, become a Jedi and restore peace to the Galaxy or turn to the Dark side and become a Sith Lord, LucasArts wanted to quickly to capitalize on the games success. Even though the game became one of the fastest selling Xbox boxes, developer Bioware wanted to focus on their own intellectual properties, which led LucasArts to turn to Obsidian Entertainment to develop the sequel.
LucasArts, wanting the game to release in time for the 2004 holiday season, heavily pressured Obsidian to frantically finish the game. This led to the game releasing with a laundry list of bugs (some game breaking) and the longest list for cut content in a single game we’ve have ever seen. The ending or lack of an ending didn’t bring any closure to the narrative and in its day it was even more despised than the RGB Starchild choices in Mass Effect 3.
Star Wars: Rebel Assault
Let the nerd rage begin! Star Wars: Rebel Assault for the SEGA CD was an overall failure. Composed of mainly choppy FMV sequences, players took “control” of a character named Rookie One as he is training to become a pilot before joining the Rebel Alliance. Regardless of which of the 15 levels you were playing, your controls were limited to moving only left or right. Yup, it was an on-rail shooter and the controls sucked! It would take about two to three seconds to drag your cross-hairs from one side of the screen, making tracking any enemy nearly impossible. Rebel Assault was essentially a light gun game without the gun..and the fun.
Kinect Star Wars
It’s hard to put into words everything that went wrong with Kinect Star Wars, especially since we can’t think of a single redeeming factor. The dancing mode (yes there is a dancing mode) replaces lyrics from popular songs (is Genie in a Bottle still popular?) with words that fit into the Star Wars universe, but rarely does it make sense. If that wasn’t bad enough, seeing the iconic characters dance in what essentially is cheap knock-off of Dance Central is vomit inducing.
You know you are in trouble when the horrendous dancing mode is not even the worst aspect of the game. The core story mode, which does allow a friend to join in (you would be a terrible friend if you asked someone to play), features terrible animation and broken gameplay mechanics, that wouldn’t have been any fun even if they were working. Besides requiring a LARGE unrestricted playing area, Kinect Star Wars requires an insane amount of precise movements, all of which the Kinect is incapable of tracking. Oh, and did we mention the entire game is on-rails?
On a scale from Emperor Palpatine to Salacious Crumb, Star Wars Kinect would be the scooped out guts of the Tauntaun from The Empire Strikes Back.
Starting out as a Windows game, Yoda Stories was somehow trimmed down and ported onto the Game Boy Color. Taking place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, players are tasked with completing 15 fetch quest as a form of “training with Jedi Master Yoda.” With no central plot, players take control of Luke Skywalker to complete Jedi worthy task like..collect objects and keys? Making matters even worse, the graphical capabilities of the Game Boy Color were severely inferior to the Windows version and controlling Luke was nightmarish. There is no reason for anyone to play through Yoda Stories..EVER!
Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi
If there’s one thing we can universally agree on, it’s that 1997’s Masters of Teräs Käsi is the perfect example of a novel idea poorly executed. Taking its name from a style of unarmed combat and set between Episodes IV and V, the game deserves some merit for featuring an original plot and incorporating a bevy of characters from the Expanded Universe, but its clumsy mechanics and horrible character balance made it one of the worst fighting games ever. Some characters were able to deplete nearly half of your health with an unblockable move, while lightsabers were treated like neon-glowing baseball bats and pistols were useless since they needed to be charged before being fired. Adding insult to injury is one of the most ridiculously named characters (worse than Count Dooku) — Hoar, the Tusken Raider.