Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith

"Nick Gillard (stunt co-ordinator on Revenge of the Sith) showed us the basics of Jedi combat: the stances, attacks, defences and philosophies," explains Anthony Doe, the lead combat designer on the game.

"It was modern-day Jedi training. The best part was that it was really all geared towards us, the game developers, to create the most authentic Jedi action experience yet seen in a game. It's the reason why Nick brought in Hayden Christensen, to work with us. "

As you might have seen in the Star Wars DVD boxset, Christiansen was motion-captured so that Anakin's moves could be precisely interpreted. "Hayden had trained a considerable time with Nick for Episode III," Doe goes on, "and it definitely showed. He impressed us all by showing some serious talent with the practice 'saber.

Together they showed us not only some of the brilliant fight choreography, but also acted out custom content for the game. All this will show in the final product. The influence of Nick and Hayden will be seen in every swing of the player's lightsaber. You can't help but feel it when you come to play the game."

And indeed the motion capture does look impressive. There's a good variety of moves, the characters swipe, swing and stab like the real thing, and - most impressively of all - they move like ballet dancers. Seriously.

In one sequence, Anakin cuts through a series of droids, turning them into a pile of parts, does a kind of half-twirl where both legs glide through the air while his body turns 180 degrees, and then uses the lightsaber as a makeshift sword, thrusting it through the heart of a clone trooper.

Commendably, there's also a real difference in feel between Anakin and Obi-Wan. The former is more skilful and violent, but the latter is tighter and stronger.

It should make things interesting in the game's two-player mode, where you can play as both, as well as a raft of unlockables - including, The Collective are very keen to point out, some "surprises".

Additional to battles across 16 levels, spread over four worlds (including two never-before-seens, Utapau and Mustafar, and Kashyyyk, the Wookiee planet, which form a massive segment of the film and game), is the opportunity to use Force Powers.

In a Knights of the Old Republic stylee, Anakin and Obi-Wan will be able to bolster their blade-thrashing with some Jedi mind tricks.

"The Force powers are the complimentary piece to the lightsaber to complete the Ultimate Jedi Action Experience," spouts Justin Lambros like a walking, talking movie poster.

"In the game you'll have a variety of unique and upgradeable Force powers. From shoving droid units off of catwalks and using pieces of the environment as weapons, to using mind tricks to stun your opponents, making your lightsaber fly like a boomerang through enemies, or giving in to the dark side and electrocuting anyone in your path with Force lightning, this game has it all.

"We wanted to integrate these Force powers into lightsaber combat, making them easy to use and control, as well as accessible from the get go."

It's an interesting addition to the Jedi arsenal, although those expecting KOTOR-style depth may be disappointed. In KOTOR, Force powers were combined with more traditional weaponry to buy you time, to weaken enemies before the final onslaught and so on.

Here, it's more window dressing. Pleasant-looking, flashily designed window dressing, but window dressing all the same.

The game, at heart, is a third-person fighter, so tactics don't really come into play in the same way as KOTOR. That's not to say the Force powers aren't a useful addition to your inventory, but you're unlikely to have to give their use quite as much thought in this game.

So, there's plenty to enjoy in Revenge of the Sith. It's pacey, the action comes thick and fast, and the motion capture is excellent.

Most impressively, it mirrors the movies brilliantly, with fine detail carved into the locations, and pitch-perfect effects and music courtesy of The Collective's own aural specialists and the brains at Skywalker Sound.

It might not be the best Star Wars game ever made - in fact it might not be the best Star Wars game this year - but it will be a hearty slice of intergalactic choppery, that's a blast from start to very, very dark finish.

Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith is out now for PS2, Xbox, DS and GBA and is due out for PSP in September