When LucasArts announced Star Wars 1313 at this year’s E3, I admit, I’m one of the many that was floored by what they claim was in-game graphics in real-time. However, we still don’t know if the game will look like that for current-gen consoles (unlikely) or if it’s more of a tech demo for future consoles.
Once I got past the initial “wow” factor from the graphics, the game got me thinking. Can this finally be a good Star Wars game after all these years? Yes, you could argue that Star Wars: The Old Republic is a good game, but it is an MMORPG and not your conventional Triple A game. If I’m not mistaken, the last good Star Wars game was from Obsidian Entertainment and that was Knights of the Old Republic II.
It can be argued that Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a “good” game; but having played and finished it, I can’t put it past being an average game with stellar ideas that fell in its execution.
So, in saying this, can Star Wars 1313 be a good – or even great – Star Wars game?
While we obviously can’t answer that now, the game does have a few things going for it that I hope is capitalized by LucasArts…at the same time, I’m also hopeful that it won’t fall on the same trappings that mired other Star Wars games into mediocrity.
If someone from LucasArts is reading this, I beg of you, please keep some of the things below in mind…for an old Star Wars fan’s sake.
Capitalize on the “Wow” Factor but Don’t Fall Back on it
Let’s get this out of the way, what we’ve seen of Star Wars 1313 looks damn good. Again, will that be indicative of a current-gen release? We can’t say for now. But what LucasArts can bank on is that these same graphics will make the game more “fun” than it really is.
Graphics can make a game more “fun.” You might not want to admit it, but games having amazing eye candy will make people forgive some of its flaws. Don’t believe me? I’ll give you an example. Whenever a new console is released, there’s always this one game that looks really, really good and will get top scores across the board from reviewers. Now, this same game will be lambasted by fans and critics alike just a year or two after its release simply because the “wow” factor has worn off (Assassin’s Creed 1 comes to mind).
LucasArts can capitalize on that moment now. People are impressed with what they’ve seen so far. It won’t take much to push them over the edge to make them think it’s a better game than it really is. LucasArts should use that and run with it.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that they’ll get a free pass if the game plays like crap. But at the same time, they can fudge up on a few things and people wouldn’t mind it that much.
Borrow Elements from Other Games but Thread Your Own Path Too
When I first saw Star Wars 1313’s gameplay, a few things immediately popped to mind. First, they’re obviously “borrowing” elements from successful franchises such as Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed; second is that they’re obviously targeting the same demographics as the games mentioned above. Mind you, I’m not against both points seeing as they seem to be borrowing ideas from two very successful and fun games. However, the game needs to be able to use that and offer the player more.
I get it; cinematic set-pieces are all the rage now. The game made that clear from the moment the protagonist made a leap of faith onto a burning spaceship and slowly traversed his way up while avoiding danger. I don’t know about you, but it looked like a template from Uncharted 2’s train climbing sequence. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that but can they offer us more than this? And if so, can they make it work?
The game that comes to mind when it comes to solid ideas but sloppy execution is another LucasArts game. I’m referring to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. That game wowed everyone when they first saw the tech demo, but once the game itself was in our hands, everything that seemed cool at the time turned out to be nothing more than ideas that failed to materialize properly. Starkiller was given all sorts of cool powers to play with, but the game felt repetitive and didn’t even give you a good reason to use most of them.
I’m hoping that with Star Wars 1313, LucasArts can crib the good stuff from the franchises they’re trying to emulate but be able to make their own mark in it, too. Want to borrow Uncharted’s set-pieces? That’s fine. What about Assassin’s Creed’s parkour elements? That’s okay, too; but make sure you’re not just putting a Star Wars coat on it and calling it a day. The question is, can they get those ideas and build on them to make the game everyone was hoping The Force Unleashed would be?
The Lore is Already There, They Just Need to Make it Work
If there’s one thing Star Wars games have going for them, its brand recognition. And that brand recognition carries with it the whole Star Wars lore – arguably the most expansive universe in any entertainment medium.
The fact that LucasArts has the whole Star Wars lore at their disposal should make crafting a tale easier for them than most games. They already have a setting and universe people care about and the only thing they need now is to build on it without stepping all over the universe’s cannon.
Heck, even The Force Unleashed with their “secret apprentice” storyline worked to some extent and that was bordering on the ridiculous. Mind you, I’m not saying their job regarding the story is easy, but it will be easier than say, crafting a whole new storyline from scratch without anything to back it up.
From what we know of the storyline, it involves a bounty hunter that’s traversing through Coruscant’s 1313 subterranean level underworld as they go on a mission to uncover the truth behind a criminal conspiracy. Not exactly breaking new ground there but add in a few Han Solo and Jedi references, in it and Star Wars fans like me will lap it up. Just don’t, y’know, mention Jar Jar Binks and they should be fine.
So, that concludes my little take on what LucasArts needs to address in order to make Star Wars 1313 “work.”
Do you agree with my sentiments? Maybe I missed a few glaring things they should look into, whatever the case is, let’s hope Star Wars 1313 turns out better than the last few Star Wars games before it, no?