Great production values, fun mini-games and a decent story compromise for slightly sub-par combat.

User Rating: 6.5 | Star Wars The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance DS
I've never been a huge fan of the Clone Wars movie. I see it as an abomination to the series, and I'm not alone in thinking so. In fortunate contrast, Jedi Alliance is probably the best Star Wars game on DS -- if you're a fan of the series, definitely check this one out.

Jedi Alliance begins with mysterious footage of a clone being attacked by a lightsaber-wielding foe. You choose two of 6 Jedi to investigate who is responsible, and soon enough a large conspiracy unfolds -- an organization by the name of Nightsisters (Amazon 'jedi') are in league with Dooku and are aiding in his invasion. As you would expect, fans will definitely enjoy the storyline, which is made even better thanks to the decent voice acting. Jedi Alliance is a very story-driven game and there are a ton of cutscenes to boast the voice acting, which is done by the actual actors who do the show.

Even more impressive are the great visuals, which truly shine in quicktime events and cutscenes. Despite being an unknown third-party game, Jedi Alliance's graphics can pack a powerful punch in the world of 3D DS. Most interesting are the subtle aspects of the visuals; you might not notice the character's shadows, for instance, but almost no other DS game includes shadowing. Similarly, major characters actually lip sync when talking -- a rarity for the platform.

Where Jedi Alliance takes a nose dive is in its controls and combat. Tapping on an enemy has your jedi jump to that enemy; tapping again commands your character to slash it. After that you generally keep tapping until you, well, tap some more and defeat your enemy. It's slightly more complicated than that -- for instance, you have to aim your taps -- but overall, combat is a breeze and for the most part a "tapping masher."

While combat is sub-par, though, Jedi Alliance's mini-games, environmental puzzles and quicktime events are not. Mini-games come up frequently and rise in challenge as you progress through the game, and while they're simple, they can also be a lot of fun. Environmental puzzles are usually incredibly obvious, and while that may not be great for those hunting for a challenge, it makes the game very child-friendly. The game's quicktime events have to be seen to be believed, however; I've never played a game with quicktime events so fluid and satisfying. Instead of just pressing a button or waggling a controller, you slide your stylus in a specified direction. It doesn't sound like much, but it really adds to the intensity and cinematic feel of the game.

The staying power of Jedi Alliance is rather short, but after going through the campaign there are a plethora of extras to go through. The unlockables are very impressive; excellent concept art and 'game tweaks' will help keep Jedi Alliance in your DS slot for a few extra days.

If you don't like Star Wars and are looking for a strong action game on DS, I would recommend Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword over this fairly average adventure; but if you're a fan of the series, consider this score an 11. Clone Wars fans, pick this one up immediately.