Today, Star Wars games are usually very serious and dedicated to authenticity. Nearly all Star Wars game released these days are also canon, connecting to other comics, movies, books, and TV shows. Which is cool, I love modern Star Wars. But I can’t help but miss the days when we got games that were less focused on being the next big chapter in the Star Wars universe and instead were more focused on being fun and weird. Games like Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith released in 2005 for Xbox and PS2.
Revenge Of The Sith is the kind of game we don’t get anymore. Based on a movie and heavily inspired by the popular God Of War PS2 games, Sith is a relic of a different era. Back when every big movie had a tie-in video game released for consoles. While many of these games were bad, a few would be worth playing, like Revenge of The Sith. It might just be a clone of God Of War and other character action games, but it turns out reskinning Kratos and Greece with Jedis and Star Wars is a good way to make something entertaining.
If you’ve seen the original film this game is based on, then you still won’t know everything that happens. Sith takes the basic plot of the film and cuts bits that aren’t interesting or easy to turn into the gameplay and adds entirely new ideas, enemies and scenes.
For example, the game spends a lot more time with Anakin, now known as Darth Vader, while he kills Jedi in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. It even has a cutscene showing Vader killing Jocasta Nu, the old librarian lady from the Prequel films and then other Jedi attacking him. You also end up facing off against a master Jedi trainer and his apprentice. These additions are nice and help show just how much of a fight it was to kill all those pesky Jedi.
However, some of the changes are a tad more silly. In the early levels of the game, you encounter some giant super battle droids that feel like a “videogame enemy” and not a droid that would have shown up in the films. They have giant claws and basically hug enemies to do damage.
Another new addition are the Clone Assassins. These are Clone troopers that use small blades attached to their arms to fight people. They have some backstory and lore, but really only exist to diversify the Clones and make them more interesting to fight against. They feel like they were created by a 14-year-old boy who was like “And then, the Clones have swords!!”
The thing is, I don’t mind these odd additions and the changes made to the story. In fact, I love Revenge Of The Sith and all of its non-canon enemies, moments and ideas.
As much as I do enjoy the current Star Wars universe and how everything is canon and feels connected, I do miss the stranger detours and spin-offs we used to get in Star Wars games. There is a sense of playfulness found in Revenge Of The Sith that isn’t really found in modern Star Wars games. Sure, Jedi: Fallen Order looks great and might end up being a really cool game. But I highly doubt it will include a weird alternate ending, like Revenge Of The Sith.
That ending, by the way, is a perfect example of how playful the game is with Star Wars lore.
In the alternate ending, which is unlocked after beating the game, players take control of Darth Vader on Mustafar during the fight against Obi-Wan Kenobi. But unlike in the films, Kenobi’s high ground means nothing and Vader easily defeats him. Then he returns to Palpatine and is given a new Sith lightsaber, which he promptly uses to gut and kill The Emperor.
The Clones guarding The Emperor point their weapons at Vader and then lower them, presumably because they realized he would just kill them and Vader screams about how he controls the galaxy now.
It’s a totally non-canon ending and feels really weird and funny and I love it. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will get these types of moments in future Star Wars media. The way all new games, comics, books, and shows are focused on fitting into the canon makes it basically impossible to include stuff like this ending. Which I think is a shame.
I believe we can have both canon and non-canon stories in the Star Wars universe, as long as they are clearly marked. Disney and Lucasfilm seem to agree, as they have recently released a new issue in the main Star Wars comic series that is actually a non-canon continuation of the old 80s era Star Wars comics.
Maybe in the future, we can get some weirder and sillier spinoff games released and marked as Legends, aka non-canon. Though I also think moving forward it would be great if EA didn’t have exclusive access to make Star Wars games. I don’t hate EA or think they are evil or anything like that, I just think more studios having more access to Star Wars is a better way to get different games in various genres and styles.
Regardless of any of that happening, going back to play Revenge Of The Sith today is a great way to see how strange and silly Star Wars games could get back in the pre-Disney era. I’m excited about the new Star Wars film and to read more Star Wars comics. But in the future, I also hope Star Wars games are allowed to be more than just shooters and mobile games and that they are permitted to fly their freak flags once more.