With the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie hitting screens today, it's to be expected that LucasArts would be prepping a game tie-in. This time out, there are actually two games tied to the upcoming film: a Wii version, which we've already seen twice, and a DS version. The game sports a lengthy name, Star Wars The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance, and features an original story set in the universe during the war. We recently got a first look at the upcoming DS title, which is being developed internally at LucasArts' Singapore studio.
The game is set during the same time period of galactic strife as the Clone Wars film but features an original story with some characters from the expanded universe as the big bad. The mysterious Night Sisters are on hand to cause the kind of trouble only Jedi can come fix. The menace is a perfect setup for the core gameplay mechanic in Jedi Alliance, which is using teams of Jedi to make your way through levels. Besides the traditional gameplay, Jedi Alliance features a host of different minigames that come up during gameplay. We checked out a God of War-style minigame during combat for when you lock lightsabers with an enemy or when you're being attacked by certain enemies. In addition, there are proper stand-alone minigames for when you try to hack a door.
The game's control mechanic is almost totally stylus driven, a bit more in the Zelda vein than the Ninja Gaiden. You'll move using the stylus and tap onscreen to collect items. Tapping also comes into play when attacking, as you'll focus on targets and be able to perform different attacks on them. Your Jedi partner helps you use different attacks that are unique to the different pair combinations.
Jedi Alliance's presentation benefits from an ambitious push on the DS hardware that yields detailed graphics and more special effects than you usually see on the platform. The character models and environments are nicely done and complemented by slick lighting and shadow effects. The team has even managed to get real-time lip-synching in. In terms of audio, the game taps the film voice actors to voice the cast of characters in the game and surrounds them with a host of familiar Star Wars sound effects.
Based on what we saw, Star Wars The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance has a lot of potential. In the wake of Zelda and Ninja Gaiden, stylus-controlled titles are making more and more sense. We're eager to see how everything gets fleshed out and actually plays, but there are enough nice gameplay touches and good ideas to promise a cool game.