The Force Unleashed Review

Five Years ago Lucas Arts struck back when they released Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic this was the first sign that perhaps a developer, with a track record of making less than worthy games, might be turning around and beginning to make quality, lasting games. Using one of the most popular movies of all time as their platform Lucas Arts pretty much had the task in the bag. The Years following would bring good games and better games from Star Wars Episode III:Revenge of the Sith the Game to the three great installments of the Battlefront saga. Lucas arts now had and idea of what to do and how to do; recruiting fans from outside the films with an interesting and engaging platform for playing.

They would attempt to continue this trend when they revealed they would be creating a game taking place between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope, a time many Star Wars fans have been eager to explore for years. The project received hype earlier on and continue throughout the year of 2007.

The Force Unleashed was undeniable, from Youtube to The Tube the game was being marketed as the next big thing in Video Games. Characters from the game being featured as Action figures and appearing in other Video Games long before the games official release. For Star Wars fans the 16th of September was the day to look out for.

I wish I could say I loved The Force Unleashed ; but, I didn’t. I enjoyed myself yes; but, there was a lot that I still am Unable to get over. The game has FAR more flaws than achievments and seems to, sometimes, relish in its simplicity and repetitiveness.

The notion that Lucas Arts put out that The Force Unleashed would be “revolutionary” and change the way players view Star Wars and Video Games in general is a mistep and could be considered a flat out lie. The Force Unleashed uses the same ideas that many games have come to before and there’s nothing really new in it…well maybe new for Star Wars; but, not for video games.

Maris Brood looks like she might have a big role in The Force Unleashed...

Maris Brood looks like she might have a big role in The Force Unleashed...

The Story for The Force Unleashed is nothing outrageous, (I don’t know why I was under the Impression that it would be) After killing a Rogue Jedi on Kashyyk Darth Vader encounters a young Jedi’s son and takes him to be his apprentice. The Apprentice grows up to be loyal to Vader and a very strong student; however, Vader’s intents seem to be shifting at times and the Apprentice finds himself at odds with whats right and whats wrong. I’m not going to spoil anything; but, anyone with have a brain can surmise the entire plot, almost down to the very word, from what I just said. The twist are nothing drastic and the turns are lukewarm. That being said there are some points in the plot that are interesting, for example when Vader first meets the apprentice there’s a moment there that immediately references to Vader’s feelings for Luke. You know there’s a want there; but, other than that the game begins to fall flat only picked up again by a line Vader says towards the end of the game that seems to reference Luke (although its impossible for that because he doesn’t know of Luke’s existence until after A New Hope). Anyone looking for the next Empire Strikes Back will be sorely disappointed.

Now-a-days graphics are the sellers of video games and in this age of X-Box and Playstation-3 The Force Unleashed should be up to date with it’s competitors. It’s not…The graphics aren’t terrible; but, there’s no excuse for the graphics not to be at least a little flashy. I mean this is Star Wars after all. The first trailer for The Force Unleashed we see the apprentice pulling down a Star Destroyer with just the force. The graphics are a bit stunning combined with the awe of the act; but, both are lacking in the game. That’s right the cut-scene that appears in the trailer doesn’t appear in the game at all. In fact there are no cut-scenes of that nature in the entire game. The in-game graphics don’t dazzle either; but, are not horrific. The graphics for the game are like the game itself…mediocre.

Releasing The Force Unleashed on the Wii meant a new way to play Star Wars; with the very interactive controls you could actually swing the lightsaber; but, what did that mean for all the other platforms from the highly favored PS3 to the wreck known as the Nintendo DS? I wouldn’t know about anything other than the PSP and the controls for that are pretty standard. Game gets monotonous really quickly and you’re only hope is to hope that you get a new force power quickly. The gameplay suffers from some pretty sad problems ranging from universal glitches to god awful camera movements. The Force Unleashed suffers from a, to steal a line from Jurassic Park, “White Rabbit Object…whatever did  it did it all”, whoever messed up the game messed it all up. At times it seemed as if the developers fell asleep, or got too frustrated with the game to continue making progress. MANY parts of the game suffer from “stop and go” glitches and you essentially visit five or six worlds and then repeat. It’s like playing the same level over and over and getting a, vaguely, different boss at the end of the level. I was hugely surprised, and disappointed to see that I was going to what i just did three levels ago again, with a different set of goals that had no bearing on the actual gameplay. The Force powers are what are supposed to sell this game and they halfway hit the mark. The problem the powers face are: Overexposure, Overuse and Overcompensation. From day one we saw the force powers in the trailers and featurettes, well surprise, surprise there’s not much more within the game. That’s right folks the same powers you’ve seen in videos are the same ones you’ll use over and over and over and over and over within the game. The few powers you didn’t see in the trailers suffer from a lack of usefulness, for example: Force Choke; first seen by Darth Vader in Episode IV: A New Hope accompanied with the line “I find your lack of faith disturbing”, is almost null in the game. In the time it takes you to grab the enemy and start to choke them you’re already being shot at from other people. Sure its fun to look at; but, you’ll only use it sometimes because it’s not practical in regular battle. The most useless power is the force grab, it’s mostly use to enact other moves like Force Choke and a move called “Pummel”, which will awaken the Darth Vader (TESB) in all of us, but; on it’s own its horrifically impossible to make sense of. Its slow and the camera angle changes completely; the time it takes you to realize what’s going on you could have beaten the enemy a thousand times over. It’s scary that Lucas arts is almost digressing; because in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith the force grabbing was very easy to use and utilize in every scenario. While you wil get into straight duels with other lightsaber wielders, the boss battles will eventually become without strategy. Run, dash, then throw the lightsaber, over and over and over. The boss will catch you off guard; but, you’ll recover very quickly without any trouble.

Prepared to get messed up...

Prepared to get messed up...

The most comprehensive part of the game are the bonus features. When you’re done with the game you’ll instantly check you’re “unlockable characters” list to see who you can play as. There is a wide variety of players; however, it lacks some focus. Whereas an old favorite, Qui-Gon Jinn is included in the game the widely popular Darth Maul is NOT included. That being said there are a good array of things to do when not playing the story mode. From a one on one survival mode against other lightsaber users, to a replication of order 66 to the  (psp only) very fun historical battles in which you can play some of you’re favorite battles from the movies with the new force powers introduced in the game. And while these mini-games are fun they are not spared from the laziness of the developers either. The force powers each characters use are EXACTLY the same as the ones you’ve acquired and upgraded in the story-mode. So while you’ll be instantly familiar with the characters (no matter who they are) there’s nothing to master or anything different between someone like Mace Windu and Assaj Ventress. The in game bonuses are fun to look at but; that’s all. Different lightsaber colors allow you to help customize the apprentice’s look along with outfit changes; but, hold no bearing on the gameply, abilities, or story at all.

All in all Lucas arts hasn’t created a bad game; just one that they didn’t need to hype up for almost two years. It’s fun with a weak; but, present replay value and should be an enjoyable collection now before it becomes a dust collector by Thanksgiving.

Final Rating

out of 10

6.7/10

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