Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike Updated Impressions

LucasArts shows off an updated version of the upcoming third person action game.

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At Nintendo's recent press event we had the chance to try out a new version of Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, the much-anticipated third installment in LucasArts and Factor 5's flight action game. The work-in-progress version of the game let us hop around and get a look at various levels throughout the game as well as try our hand at the revamped training level. It should come as no surprise to hear that the game is looking sharp and playing well.

Our first stop during our time with the game was the Tatooine tutorial level, which functioned roughly the same as the tutorial level in Rebel Strike's predecessor on the Gamecube, Rogue Leader. You'll start the game on foot as Luke Skywalker and make your way through his soon-to-be-doomed homestead on Tatooine. You'll come across various icons strewn about the area that will fill you in on the standard third-person controls when you're on foot. As you go through the various lessons you'll eventually progress to lessons focused on how to handle the assorted types of craft you'll be taking control of over the course of the game, such as an AT-ST and a swoop bike. Following the tutorial we tried out a few levels in the game that showed off the significantly improved graphics engine.

In addition to the single-player game, we were able to try out the multiplayer modes--we tried the Hoth battle from Rogue Leader and a versus mode game. The Hoth level played a bit differently with two players--it was possible to divvy up the work of attacking the Imperial forces, which was very cool. The versus game was a timed challenge set in an asteroid field. The goal was to destroy as many asteroids as possible within the time limit.

The graphics in the game were looking as sharp as ever, and the co-op levels stood out quite a bit when compared to the original game, thanks to the game's new graphics engine. The new particle-effects system offered a nice bump in the appearance of weapon's fire when connecting with the AT-ST's. Another perk to the game's visuals is the inclusion of footage from the classic Star Wars trilogy, which does a fine job of setting the tone for the various levels.

Overall we were pleased by what we saw in the game. The improved graphics, varied gameplay, and solid presentation are all shaping up very well. Rebel Strike is currently slated to ship this October. Look for more on the game soon.

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