Star Wars has been a bit of an awkward teenager recently. We celebrated 35 years since A New Hope by paying $34 to see The Phantom Menace in dodgy 3D with a small popcorn, following some basement-dwellers being very angry about minor changes in the highly anticipated blu-ray release. Besides the misplaced rocks and that “nooo”, I liked watching the double trilogy in glorious 1080P.
The video game series -- Star Wars’ major platform to grow -- has bestowed itself upon similar disappointment. The Knights of the Old Republic proved gamers don’t just jump ship when it comes to an MMO, especially when it costs money.
Its fortunes could improve now that it’s free-to-play, but an MMO wasn’t the answer.
Enter Star Wars 1313
Star Wars 1313 is the revival of Star Wars. It’s the next generation of the video game series, yet for fans who grew up watching the original trilogy. It’s more mature, it’s grittier and most importantly, it’s first and foremost a video game.
The worst Star Wars games have always focused on what made the universe so intriguing and almost ignored why we play video games. Some of the more recent releases, like The Force Unleashed 2, were caught in-between, and ultimately didn’t deliver on either front.
Star Wars 1313 is so promising because it combines the most engaging recreation of Coruscant yet with proven video game conventions.
Early impressions suggest 1313 has got the balance right by being a video game first, and a Star Wars licensed product second. The Star Wars universe looks amazing, the best it ever has, but that’s only useful if we get to experience it like a video game. Imagine the freedom of Grand Theft Auto on a lively Coruscant (although, I'm getting well ahead of myself).
The solution was to forgo lightsabers and overpowered force manipulation. These are what theoretically make Star Wars awesome, but are yet to be proven in a video game. What do Super Star Wars on the SNES and Rogue Squadron have in common? For the most part, they used established video game conventions installed within the Star Wars universe; with limited use of lightsabers and the force.
Star Wars 1313 is a third-person shooter that focuses on the notorious underworld of bounty hunters on Coruscant. LucasArts has been tight-lipped about the story, but we know that our unnamed protagonist is on a mission to reach the planet’s 1313th level. It’s not on Coruscant. It’s underneath it.
Sinister contacts lie beneath in the criminal underbelly, as you delve deeper into the shadiest regions of the Republic capital. At this stage we can only hazard a guess as to what ruthless tasks we’ll be forced to undertake, but it sounds unlike anything we’ve ever confronted in a Star Wars game before. 1313 presents a whole new side of the Star Wars universe to unravel; a side we’ve always known exists, but only scarcely explored in niche literature.
Uncharted comparisons have already been thrown around following its E3 unveiling, for both the cover-based third-person shooter and climbing elements, and that can only be a good thing. Although, in a planet-wide city that spans over 5,000 stories, I’d like to see a jetpack or speeder at some point to offer a sense of scale -- but only if it’s beneficial to the gameplay.
After all, Star Wars 1313 is so promising because it combines the most engaging recreation of Coruscant yet with proven video game conventions targeting a rightfully adult audience.
By Ben Salter