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Jeremy Jastrzab
28 Dec, 2006

Star Wars: Lethal Alliance Review

PSP Review | Filling the gaps.
It's not uncommon knowledge that there has been many a Star Wars game that has left a lot to be desired. A couple of shinning classics haven’t managed to cover up the slew of ordinary titles that have plagued gamers for a long time now. Given their history, there obviously wasn’t much expected when Star Wars: Lethal Alliance was announced for the PSP and DS. As it turns out for the PSP version, even though it may not have that much Star Wars in it, there is something of a substantial game here.

The game is placed conveniently between Episodes III and IV, and is meant to tell a side-story about how the Rebel Alliance get a foothold into some of their proceeding advantages. You play as a female alien named Rianna, who becomes quickly accompanied by a small, mobile droid named Zeeo. Together, the two of them are sent by Kyle Katarn and Princess Leia on various missions, all in order to help the Rebel’s cause. The story does deviate as Rianna cases her own goals but that's all part of the ride. Apart from visual style, there is a little lacking from the story that really makes it Star Wars, Mainly because you'll be encountering very obscure or completely made up characters. Still, the game manages to make up for it with some rather enjoyable gameplay.

It’s something of a surprise that Star Wars: Lethal Alliance actually puts up a rather strong showing on the gameplay front. You will play for 95% of the time as Riana and only very occasional switch to playing as Zeeo. At first it seems that the game will be a run-of-the-mill third person shooter. You run around using the analog nub and two of the face buttons control shooting and jumping. By pressing R and L together, you’ll target the enemy and you can flip between targets with R and L.

You will play through several, somewhat linear levels. Each level is at most, fifteen minutes in length and you’ll pretty much be following the path from one room to the next. However, often you’ll have to defeat all the enemies or solve a puzzle in order to go forward. This is where the game begins to get interesting. You see, you can use Zeeo to help you out with combat and you will need to use it to get around some of the puzzles.

The game actually does a very good job of providing a variety of situations and something of a fresh feeling. Such is the obvious advantage of creating a game specifically for a portable medium. You’ll be using the tiny robot in a number of environmental situations. It can be used to travel on rails and Riana will jump up and grab on. It can also be used to create small platforms to grab onto and somewhat “platform” your way up. There are also a few flying sequences where Zeeo will be used “on-the-rails”, where you move to avoid the incoming obstacles.

FACE!

FACE!
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It can also be used in combat as well. While you are shooting your enemies, you can command Zeeo to knock them over, hence making them easier to pick off. As you do this, your co-operative meter begins to fill. As it fills, your attacks become more powerful and Zeeo can knock over more enemies at once. Furthermore, there are situations where Zeeo will help cover, such as when you’re manning a turret. In the turret, Zeeo can repair the turret or help it cool down.

Despite the fact that you will only earn four weapons throughout the course of the game, there is a decent variety to the combat. The variety arises from the situations that you’re placed in and Rianna’s surprising acrobatic abilities. Apart from the four firearms, Rianna has a handheld weapon that allows you to take out enemies with one hit if you can sneak up on them or you can pull of some off numerous possibilities for stealth kills. It helps that the AI is rather dull but you can only work with what you’ve got. Rianna’s acrobatic abilities also allow her to get through numerous platforming and laser grid puzzles.

The mechanics in the game work reasonably well but are probably not as good as they could be. The targeting system can be a little awkward at first and sometimes a little off but it generally works. The camera can only be rotated left and right but for the most part it won’t be too much of an issue. The game design is good enough to handle it but it pales in comparison to a game like Daxter. Sometimes you’ll clip onto things or see environments phase out but for the most part, the game is a solid effort, bu t it is obviously lacking an extra coat of polish. Given the short levels and scope, it makes for a good portable title, though at the same time, it may seem like it lacks depth. Also the game does run out of tricks that keep the experience fresh.

On top of the single player, there is a small and limited multiplayer mode. It’s pretty much a case of a two-player deathmatch, where players compete for credits. The credits can later be traded for upgrades and extras. The two main issues are that the game is hardly a keeper when you’ve only got the two players duking it out and where the design and mechanics work well in the single player, they feel too confining in the multiplayer. Still, better something than nothing, right?

I wish my girlfriend could do that.

I wish my girlfriend could do that.
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In terms of visuals, the game boasts the fact that is uses the Unreal Engine but it still looks like it could have used an extra coat of polish or two. In terms of style, the game has got enough to suggest that this is indeed a Star Wars game. All the locations are typically built the way you’d expect and there are numerous appearances from familiar characters and familiar types of characters. Technically, the game is on the verge of being great. Everything works and looks optimized for the PSP but it lacks that extra bit of work. Character models move well but they could have used some extra detail and there are a few minor glitches that don’t affect gameplay but show that there needed to be a bit more work. Otherwise there are a few very impressive sequences that manage to squeeze a lot out of the PSP.

Sound-wise, the game does a good job of complimenting the graphics and the game’s Star Wars status. All the tunes and sound effects in the game are pure Star Wars and fans will without a doubt be very pleased with this. The voicing is somewhat limited but the fact that it is there, gives it a leg-up over other PSP titles. It gets the job done adequately. Overall, the sound is good and authentic.

Star Wars: Lethal Alliance looks like it was geared to be a quick cash-in but a couple of smart design decisions have actually made the game a good one. Because of this, it obviously lacks that extra coat of polish, but as a final result, you’ve got quite a decent, variable and exciting action game and fans of Star Wars have a game that won’t leave them cringing. It just goes to show the benefits of making a game for the PSP rather than bringing it over from consoles.
The Score
Despite a few deficencies, Star Wars: Lethal Alliance is a good little action game that has something for anyone whose attention was grabbed at the title. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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2 Comments
7 years ago
Hmm.....looks odd without a screeny or two throughout the article.Nice review anyways.
7 years ago
as a Star Wars fan, i very much interested in this game, albeit on DS. (any impressions on the DS version are very welcome icon_smile.gif)

i'm just not willing to pay the rrp just yet, handheld games should not be above $60 imo.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Ubisoft
Developer:
  Ubisoft
Players:
  1-2

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