Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
When LucasArts announced a new Star Wars game not everyone was equally excited as a large number of titles based on the franchise weren’t what you would call pieces of art. And that’s an understatement.
However, that would change with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. This one would have a storyline equal to that of the movies, previously unseen graphics and very realistic physics thanks to the new engine the game would be using. Let’s see whether this one is worthy of the name Star Wars.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is set between Episodes III and IV. The game starts with an invasion by Darth Vader on the planet Kashyyk, home of the Wookies, where he goes looking for one of the last Jedi Knights to kill him. As you’re about to give the last blow, Darth Vader suddenly feels a huge Force in the room. His father instinct immediately takes control and he adopts you, makes you his “secret” Sith apprentice and prepares you to beat the Emperor together with him. During your training you need to kill several Jedi Knights and Storm Troopers and develop your powers.
As the game’s release grew closer, LucasArts sent out more news. Trailers, screenshots and interviews were praising the new engines into the air. The Havok engine, Euphoria engine and the Digital Molecule Matter (DMM) would make sure that objects and people would give a realistic interpretation of how limbs have to bow when falling or hitting other objects and the DMM would make sure that the environment was destructable. A lot of words for in my opinion little result! The environment looks good but is also quite superficial. You’ll only see the outside of a tree shattering while the tree itself will always remain intact, and objects you can throw are as heavy as feathers which also feels a bit fake.
Your Light Saber isn’t your primary weapon in this game. As the title already suggests it’s all about the dark side of the Force. As you progress your level will rise and you’ll learn and improve certain skills. By styishly getting rid of enemies or by throwing bonus objects you can gain enough Force Points to level up which allows you to get additional points in the classes of Force Powers, Force Combos and Force Talents.
There are different types of Force to be learnt like grab, push, repulse and choke. Also numerous combos are present through the leveling system like being able to get your enemies into the air to the stab their stomach with your saber or use it as a boomerang. Unfortunately you often have to use the saber as end bosses are immune to The Force. This often results to boring chopwork that has a lot of similarities (but not the same level) with the God of War series. On top of that the so-called Quick Time Event can defeat just about any endboss.
Grapically things look more than decent. Especially the clothing the characters wear is filled with details. Qua level structure, however, things are quite monotonous. After the first mission, set in a bushy environment with lots and bright colors, the rest of the missions mostly take place in space ships. The chances you get to enjoy a beautiful landscape are usually ruined by the irritating camera and I’ve never had to press R3 so many times to get the camera to position itself behind me. The sound on the other hand is sublime. Orchestral music as we’re used from the movies will flow out of your speakers, the voice of Darth Vader, and let’s not forget the sounds that occur when wielding your light saber. It all sounds very pure and familiar.
Some more little downpoints. The structure of the game is linear which makes that you rarely find a secret passage or another way to finish your mission well. Something that’s certainly bad on a next-gen console are the loading times while going through the different menus. It really takes up to seven seconds before you sometimes have opened the requested page. On top of that you can finish the game after about 10 hours which can’t be called all too long.
The expectations were high for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed but unfortunately the game can’t fullfil them all. For true Star Wars fans this will be a great game, but for those that checked out the movies once this will just feel as another unfinished title.