Hello folks, Scotsperson here once more with my latest review. Today, I’m paying attention to George Lucas’ attempt to pad out the Original and sequel trilogies – The Force Unleashed. I’ll be focusing on the 360 version. Will I unleash forceful anger, or bestow a medal of praise? Let us go find out…
Now, before I get started, I should say that I love Star Wars, I even watched the original trilogy before Episode I came out ((That movie brought us both one of the best and worst moments in the whole series)). Hell, I even follow the Jedi Religion. So, my inner fanboy was jumping up and down in delight when I first heard about this game. Even more so, when I saw the gameplay trailer. From the looks of things we got to run around, blasting stuff with Force Lightning, tossing people and things anyway – it looked to be the best game that would come out for a while on any system. Hype is an evil thing, is it not?
First, let’s talk about the story. You play Starkiller, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice who he stole from a guy he killed. The guy doesn’t get a name, alas – he may in the Downloadable Mission for the 360, but I haven’t played it yet. Anyway, Darth sends his minion around the galaxy with a robot who’s primary function is to kill Starkiller, and Juno Eclipse, the girl pilot who, for some reason, tries to add romance into a game and storyline that I just want to run around blasting stuff with the Force. The cinematics certainly feel like a Star Wars Movie, but I can basically sum up the storyline like so: Starkiller goes Assassinating, stabbed in the back by Vader, brought back to life by Vader, starts to show feelings for Juno, goes to rescue Juno after Vader has her ordered to be killed, recruits rebels to take on the Empire, gets stabbed in the back by Vader again, goes to fight Vader/Emperor ((You choose)), Rebel Alliance is formed regardless. You actually get a hint as to what ends up happening, as in the Prologue, and one of the levels, you go to Starkiller’s Pre-Vader Childhood home, and on banners and inside, the Rebel Alliance symbol is proudly shown.
Here’s another point, the Prologue. In it, you get to fight as Vader on Kashyyyk, were you go through a hundred or so Wookies before coming across a Jedi Master – who, unsurprisingly, gets his Jedi ass handed to him, before getting Force choked and crushed. Now, I think when people found out about the fact you could play as Vader, sales jumped. I mean, that’s probably why Soul Caliber 4 sold so well, because you could fight as Darth Vader. Oh, and like its good friend Dead or Alive, gives you Fanservice right up where the lightsaber don’t shine. But that’s a different game for a different time. The point is, even if Lucasarts sold a game where all you did was stab innocent Kittens, Puppies, orphans for ten hours, with bosses including Santa, the Easter Bunny and Chuck Norris – it would still be praised up to the rafters, because the main character was a female Darth Vader in a bikini, with the breast engine borrowed from Team Ninja, with several other unlockable costumes for how many Kittens you punt into the horizon.
I should stop digressing…Anyway, let’s move onto the gameplay. The controls, at least for the 360, work. The attack buttons, the force buttons, they all fit. However, using the more advanced Force attacks get complicated. You need to push one analog stick for up and down, and another one for forward, back, left and right. That seems fine, in theory, but when you have a squadron of Stormtroopers and Rebels trying to turn you into Force Swiss Cheese, and you’re trying to line up the throw to squish them, that can take a bit of health off, which you can’t spare in the harder difficulties. All the fancy tricks are fun in the lower levels, but your attacks will basically go down to “Push, Zap, Slash, Repeat”. I ended up just maxing out my Force Power, because the Sabre Combos just end up getting you hurt most of the time. The bigger enemies require a Quick-Time Event to finish them off, where Starkiller pulls off a badass series of attacks, obliterating the giant foe. Sounds cool, right? Nope, it’s one of the most infuriating parts of the gameplay, because while your eyes are at the bottom of the screen, focusing on the buttons, you miss all the cool crap, having to put up with your spectators Oohing and Ahhing at the spectacle, asking you to do that again. It’s rather cool the first couple of times, then becomes a real chore.
Praising the graphics is like saying that the sea is just a little blue, nowadays saying that the graphics look nice is so blatantly obvious, any reviewer that says it is gonna get a sound smack to the back of the head. The game feels pretty short, and you could probably breeze through the story in one sitting, if you don’t go search for the hidden Jedi Holocron collectibles. It’s kind of like they put as much effort as possible for several of the levels, then just gave up. You visit Felucia twice, numerous dreary corridors that limit you jumping around like a flea with the Force, and their favourite colour seems to be grey, with some brown and a splash of green mixed in – random lasers shooting across brightening it up, but seriously! Yes, we have awesome graphical technology – there’s more than three colours available in the spectrum, or are they on special offer? Buy dull green, and get faeces brown and dreary grey for free?
Now, overall thoughts? It’s a time killer. A game you play when you just want to kill time waiting for a show to start, or a friend to show up. A nice distraction, but ultimately, its gonna be a last resort game. Buy it, if you want something to do, but the replay ability is rather limited, only if you’re challenging yourself by playing harder difficulties. Also, they need to stop trying to pad out the Movie era – the new Star Wars MMO looks like a good thing, set in a whole different time from Vader and….midichlorians…Damn you George, Damn you to hell!
[[Site Admin’s Note: The DS version can pretty much be described the same way, but with crap graphics and the novelty of using the stylus to hack and slash…a novelty that gets old fast.]]