Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Gamefly’s been pissing me off for the past week or so. It skipped at least 10 games on my GameQ and fished out two seemingly random games was totally not expecting. This was one of them.

But I’m not one to hold grudges, and I had been meaning to play this game at some point or another (just was looking forward to a weekend of CoD WAW..*grumbles*..), so I didn’t consider it any sort of big deal.
So, here’s the run down, plain and simple: Force Unleashed is really, really kick ass. But only for the first hour or so. Then it gets boring.
The game starts soon after Revenge of the Sith; Order 66 has killed off most of the Jedi, and any remaining are in hiding. You start the game as Darth Vader, who has been sent to Kashyyk to kill off a Jedi master living there in secret. After a short romp across the battleground, where you show off your badass-ness by easily destroying any Wookies or allied soldiers that get in your way, you face off against the Jedi, and kill him. Interestingly, before Vader can strike the final blow with his lightsaber, the thing flies out of his hand, and into those of the Jedi’s toddler son. After Force choking the Jedi and tossing him aside, Vader takes the boy into his care, raising him as his secret apprentice. From then on, you play the game as him, having grown into a young man.
The Force Unleashed is, at its core, a hack n slash game. Starkiller (the apprentice’s codename) has a wide arsenal of fancy combos at his disposal, but if you so please, you’ll probably get along just fine with the standard 4 hit combo (though you’ll have a harder time if you don’t at least take advantage of your force powers when they are likely needed). Most enemies can be taken down quickly and efficiently in this manner. Besides his physical lightsaber attacks, Starkiller employs the Force as a weapon too. Someone out of your range? Toss your lightsaber at him, and itll slice right through him from a distance before heading back towards you. Don’t feel like fighting your enemes? Use Force Push to knock em down, and make a break for it. But what Sith warrior can’t use Force Lightning? Indeed, pressing the triangle button prompts Starkiller to release mighty electricity from his fingertips, zapping the poor fool caught by it into oblivion. You can also Force Grip a LOT of stuff, from enemies to various objects around the area (even Star fighters!), but the controls for it are kind of sketchy. They work, but require most of your concentration to use with any sort of accuracy. And since you can’t move while Force Gripping something, it tends to go unused in the thick of battle. You’ll also use your Force powers outside of battle too, like using a massive Force Push to blast open a door, or Force Lightning to overload a generator.
I’m betting a majority of the people who got this game were more interested in its story than its gameplay. And it delivers well enough. Its not a grand masterpiece on par with the likes of Metal Gear Solid or any better-than-decent RPG, but its compelling, and ties together the old and new trilogies well. Most of the characters are likeable, and are voiced well in my opinion. But honestly, unless you hate reading or something, you might be better off checking out the novelization of this instead, as it probably portrays the story even better than the game, and you don’t have to bother with repetitive gameplay.
As for graphics and overall performance, the game does glitch occasionally. But this seems to be typical of most Star Wars games. I’ve seen glitches on SW: Bounty Hunter. I’ve seen them on Battlefront 2, Jedi Starfighter, Starfighter, and probably Rogue Squadron. They’re usually just visual ones, like distorting views or soldiers freezing in place, but I have encountered clipping issues in this one often as well, like being stuck in between a door or the physics engine miscalculating. None of them are game-breaking, and the title as a whole looks pretty darn good.
The Force Unleashed isn’t something I’d recommend anyone to buy for keeps for more than $20-30. There are a wealth of costumes to be had in the game, as well as more that can be bought via DLC, as well as standard extras like concept art, but overall there’s just not much to keep this game from becoming shelved after the first or second playthrough. Gameplay-wise, the free demo offers almost as much excitement as the entire game. A 7/10.

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