Having played this game on the Xbox 360 (review) I wasnít sure what to expect from the DS version. While both versions may share the same story there are many differences between the two, from more obvious things such as the graphics and sound right down to the control method and level design. The DS version offers a very different playing experience.
It will be no surprise to learn that the graphics on the DS canít even begin to compare with the 360 version but, while the graphics arenít spectacular, they are certainly adequate for a game on this system.
Given that the DS is a hand-held and thus has limited sound capabilities this title benefits from having the Star Wars theme at its disposal because to be perfectly honest, while the 360 version is blessed with a more extensive music collection, nothing sets the tone better than that classic theme.
The main difference between this and the 360 version is in the controls. The D-Pad controls the movement of your character while panels on the touch-screen are used for jumping, using the lightsaber, and all of the Jedi powers. The control system works really well and, once you are accustomed to it, combining the powers will soon become second nature to you. It is in the act of combining Jedi powers that this version of the game really starts to come alive.http://www.teamteabag.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/938358_20080716_screen002.jpghttp://www.teamteabag.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/nextgen-rancor.jpg
One of the above screenshots is from the DS version and the other is from the Xbox 360 version. I know, itís really hard to tell which is which, isnít it?
As you progress through the game you will be rewarded by unlocking new and interesting combinations. Sliding the stylus from one icon to another will trigger these combinational Jedi abilities. Combining the lightsaber with the lightning will have your character strike his lightsaber off the ground and a bolt of lightning will shoot from it and electrocute any enemy directly in front of you. If you use grip and throw together your character will pick up an enemy in front of you and, in a sort of whirlwind effect, slam them back down to the ground which I found very satisfying to watch.
The layout of each level is very different in the DS version and largely deviates from its 360 counterpart on a regular basis. There are several moments in the game which had me reflecting on my youth and anyone who has played the Streets of Rage games should appreciate the similarities in these sections. In one such moment I found myself floating along an alien river, only to stop at certain moments, at which point a bunch of aliens would jump out and attack me. This had me thinking back, complete with the kind of grin which only nostaligia can provide, to a similarly ridiculous stage in Streets of Rage when you find yourself stuck in an elevator only for it to stop at each floor to let in some gang members who are intent on trying to beat you up. I canít imagine that this was an intentional homage to such classic beat Ďem up games but itís nice all the same.
This is a much more accessible game than the 360 version I previously reviewed and this was evident in the fact that I didnít feel anywhere near the level of frustration this time around. In fact, I found everything to be a walk in the park in comparison. The ease at which I progressed through the game could have been a downside but I enjoyed feeling that I was powerful enough to rush in during a boss-battle and smash the enemy repeatedly which, as it turns out, is a tactic I employed often.
Due to the lack of cut-scenes, and the emotional aspect which they brought to the 360 version, I would suggest that this version will hold no greater appeal to huge fans of Star Wars over those who are not. Despite the fact that this action romp is on the short side, taking me under five hours to complete, it is an enjoyable game and a more child-friendly offering than the 360 version. There are no other games on the DS which are quite like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and for this reason alone I find it easy to recommend this title.8/10