Star Wars: Lethal Alliance Hands-On

We assume the role of a twi'lek mercenary and her droid sidekick as we check out this upcoming action game from Ubisoft Morocco.

Although they've never been committed to film, there are plenty of things that go on in the Star Wars universe beyond the events of Episode I through Episode VI. Characters who didn't make it into the movies have their stories told in novels, comics, and, increasingly, video games. For example, Ubisoft's upcoming Star Wars: Lethal Alliance for the Nintendo DS (a PlayStation Portable version is also in development) will give you an opportunity to play through an adventure in George Lucas' universe as Rianna Saren--a twi'lek mercenary who fights alongside a security droid named Zeeo. Rianna is an acquaintance of a Force-sensitive mercenary named Kyle Katarn, whom you might recognize from Star Wars: Dark Forces, the Jedi Knight series of games, and a handful of graphic novels that are set after he has become a powerful Jedi.

Contrary to any rumors you might have heard, Star Wars: Lethal Alliance does not feature cooperative play. There's a competitive multiplayer mode of some kind in the game, but to date we've spent all of the time checking out the single-player adventure. The game's story is outlined for you using the now iconic scrolling Star Wars opening text, and moments after it finishes, you'll find yourself being pursued by stormtroopers atop one of Coruscant's skyscrapers. What follows is a relatively brief tutorial mission, where you'll be guided through the game's uncomplicated but occasionally unwieldy control scheme while taking down several more Imperials and a crate or two.

When you're playing as Rianna, the stylus and touch screen are more or less redundant. You'll move using the directional pad and use the face buttons for melee and ranged attacks, evasive rolls, and interactions with environmental objects. Once you team up with the security droid Zeeo, you'll also use the face buttons to give him instructions. The shoulder buttons are used to rotate the camera and, when pressed simultaneously, to lock on to enemies. This is, however, rarely necessary, because any time you point your gun roughly in an enemy's direction, you'll lock on automatically. This autolock system sounds great on paper, but in practice, we've found that it occasionally made it more difficult for us to use gun turrets and such, because grabbing hold of them isn't possible until you cancel the lock-on feature.

Zeeo is useful in combat and can slice Imperial computers for information.

At the end of the tutorial level, Rianna somewhat reluctantly agrees to team up with Zeeo, who can be instructed to attack enemies or protect you with his shield at the push of a button. At certain points in the adventure, you'll also assume direct control of Zeeo, who controls more like Samus in Metroid Prime: Hunters than your new partner. While moving Zeeo around with the directional pad, you'll use the stylus to look around and the left trigger to fire his small electrical weapon. Zeeo's diminutive size allows him to navigate through air ducts that are inaccessible to Rianna, but it also makes him weak against enemies. Zeeo's most useful skill is that he's able to slice (hack into) Imperial force fields via different minigames that are played using the touch screen.

The first level in which you'll get to use both characters together is set in and around a Black Sun warehouse on Coruscant, where Kyle has given Rianna the task of stealing an Imperial shipment. Although running and gunning account for a sizable chunk of the gameplay in the level, you'll also find that there are a lot of timing-based challenges, which involve avoiding mines, electrical barriers, and other unlikely-looking traps. We're not at liberty to talk about many of the other locales you'll visit as Rianna and Zeeo, but we can reveal that the fiery planet of Mustafar and the Death Star will be among them. We'll bring you more information on Star Wars: Lethal Alliance closer to its release next month.

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Discussion

19 comments
Dragonclaws1191
Dragonclaws1191

This game is good, up to a point. The action takes quite a while to get started, and once it gets going, you run into one part with that @#$% droid who can't do squat. You have droids coming at you in unlimited numbers, spawning constantly, and they take out enough life that barely anything gets done before you die. THIS IS STAR WARS!! Some dumb@#$ Twi'lek and a droid that dies ALL THE TIME, instead of a Jedi who can actually do stuff. Horrible, horrible game.

aerisol
aerisol

id prefer jedi game to this. in teh jedi games u get kool powers:evil:

vanhalen316
vanhalen316

this game looks like star wars shadows of the empire for nintendo 64. anyone else think so?

Darkkarobka
Darkkarobka

Wow, this game doesn't sound one bit interesting. It brings nothing new to the Star Wars universe that would give you a reason to buy it. Running around with a droid companion has been done, and what, no light-saber or Jedi powers? Maybe if you had a Jedi for a companion, but no, you are stuck with a Zeeo. It seems to be lacking everything that is interesting about the Star Wars universe.

9_volt
9_volt

Hey, don't be so negative people! Remember DS is a console that has graphical limitations. This game looks just fine. I hope kojima makes a Metal Gear DS looks just like this!

lord_cack
lord_cack

Star Wars games as a whole are hit or miss at best. Though the have been increasing in quality of late, the fact still remains that there are more bad Star Wars games than there are good ones. The graphics of this title immediately turn me off, but if its controls and story were good enough they could be overcome. But, in all likelihood, they won't be either. I rarely have high hopes for a Star Wars game.... this title doesn't change that.

gforce85
gforce85

No, they don't really have time to fix it. It gets released December 12, which means it's probably already being manufactured. Looks like one you'll want to avoid.

steff3121
steff3121

I'm excited, but also wary of this one. I saw lots of negativity, and this was just a preview... Still, they have time to fix it.

_Sam_
_Sam_

It seems alright, but I don't have a ds anyway :(

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

It's not often that you read a Gamespot preview where they make that many negative comments about a game. I have a hunch that this game is going to land a round the 5-6 scoring range.

0v3rcl0ck3d
0v3rcl0ck3d

same here, I hope it gets alright, I really want a nice action game for the DS

nano-ha
nano-ha

looks like another wanabe starwars game but i hope it is not i will check te review!

acamike
acamike

The game has potential, but I am going to wait for the review like you guys.

thesuperbean
thesuperbean

BTW look at the top-3 similar games. Robots and Bionicle are hardly awe-inspiring games are they? What can we expect from Lethal Alliance? I really want a good Star Wars game for DS, but I'm not gonna settle for a rubbishy one!

thesuperbean
thesuperbean

Sounds interesting, but I'm with guardianlegend on this one, everyone ought to wait for reviews to be published. When handheld games are bad, they have a tendency to be VERY bad - anybody remember Dogz??? Lack of co-operative play is a shocker too, shame...

gwarlito
gwarlito

the videos don't look very good

guardianlegend7
guardianlegend7

I'd stay away from this until you see some good reviews. Ubisoft Morocco's previous game got a 2.8 from Gamespot. Youch!

Migaru
Migaru

looks like to shaping up to be a good game