Reviews

Star Wars 1313: The Future of Star Wars Gaming


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Contributed by Sean Coleman.

Star Wars is one of those entities that is never far from the spotlight. It seems no matter the decade, Star Wars is a dominate force. Since the release of the original trilogy, to the vast mythos created in novels, comics, fan movies and of course video games over the course of the past four decades, Star Wars has always been there. It has been in the news recently for the sale of Lucas Arts to Disney and the subsequent announcements of a live action television series and additions to the film franchise.

On the video game front, many gamers were not pleased with the last series console release, Force Unleashed 2. Many complained about the short campaign with a disappointing ending and were hoping the next game released would make it up to all the fans. The latest franchise release for gamers was the MMO-RPG Star Wars: The Old Republic. This release gave you the option to choose what character you will trek the universe with. Be it a brave Jedi, savvy smuggler or evil Sith, the choice was yours. Now an anticipated release from Lucas Art’s has us paying attention once again through a third person, action-adventure game; Star Wars 1313.

The latest video game installments all have something in common; they let you or force you to take control of a powerful Jedi (Old Republic, Force Unleashed, even Lego Star Wars), who is fully equipped with lightsabers and force powers. But in Star Wars 1313 you take control of a bounty hunter on the subterranean level 1313 on the city-planet of Coruscant. The bounty hunter must venture into the deep underworld of the vast planet to try and uncover the truth surrounding a criminal conspiracy. Instead of wielding an unstoppable saber or telekinetic mind powers, the bounty hunter must rely on blasters, gadgets and others tools at his disposal to survive. This take on the Star Wars universe is darker, grittier, and much more fast-paced than we have seen in previous games.

This isn’t the first time that a Star Wars game has moved away from Jedi and Sith to try and tell a story through different characters. The Playstation 2/Game Cube game Star Wars: Bounty Hunter was released in 2002 to mixed reviews. This game put you in the shoes of Jango Fett (Boba Fett’s father for you trekkies out there). Many flying and racer games were made (Rouge Squadron, Pod Racer, Jedi Starfighter), and even the highly successful third person shooter series Star Wars: Battlefront, that gave you control over nameless rebels and imperials. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire for the Nintendo 64 (similar to Star Wars 1313 and my personal favourite game within the franchise) gave you control of a mercenary by the name of Dash Rendar, to explore the galaxy, shoot stormtroopers and wampas. This all happens while you’re trying to help Luke Skywalker and rescue Princess Leia from the evil Prince Xizor.

All these games have their merit and pitfalls, but all are proof that Star Wars games without Jedi and Sith can work and be fun (some of the better story lines in The Old Republic are outside the Jedi order). From the brief gameplay demo we first saw at E3, we can see that this game will be very fast-paced, action packed with surprises around every corner and whether or not you are a diehard Star Wars fan or fan of third person shooters in general, you can enjoy this game. Star Wars 1313 is the future of Star Wars gaming and proof that the future of this franchise isn’t just hokey religions and ancient weapons.

May the force be with you.