Friday, 1 January 2010

Game Review: Star Wars The Force Unleashed

I'm a bit behind on these, and with number two announced I'd better get on and talk about the first one hadn't I?! It was a bit of a return to form for me with this one as it was a Star Wars game and I once lived on a diet of pretty much nothing but Star Wars games, but these days it's slim pickings, with Clone Wars games being the only offerings. Thuis one was something fresh, offering new technology a brand new story set in the 'Dark Times' between trilogies and a new force juggernaught of a character.

Rough Plot

I'd be shocked if people didn't know this by now so I'm just gonna go through it. Darth Vader finds the son of a Jedi and trains him in secret as his own apprentice, with the goal of taking control of the Empire from the Emperor. As part of his training he sends him to face of against Jedi Knights and Masters, hunting them for the Empire, but he also must kill all stormtroopers to keep his identity hidden. After being discovered by the Emperor, he is attacked by Vader, who convinces the Emperor that he is dead, then sends him on a mission to unite the Emperor's enemies and rebels against him to weaken the Empire, while doing so he begins to respect his new allies and question his lifelong loyalties.


The game plays well with the traditional third person view of a lightsaber combat game. The different force powers are tricky, but soon mastered and using different combinations of force powers to finish off enemies soon becomes fun. Some elements aren't as well put together, such as the auto-targeting mechanism which can be quite unpredictable at times, not a problem with a room full of enemies to choose from, but taking out a boss on Sith Master level can be quite annoying if the game won't let you hit them. Big fights end with cutscene sequences, asking you to press the right button in response to what happens on screen in order to finish off a boos in a spectacular set of moves - I quite like them visually, but many have found them dissapiointing in terms of gameplay. Still with new physics and AI programming pioneered in it and a gripping campaign, if you haven't played this - you probably should.

Sci-fi stuff

OK you can't get much more blatant Sci-Fi stuff than a Star Wars title. I'll go into more detail on this in my follow-up post. There's a stack of new Jedi, new spaceships, such as the apprentice's Rogue Shadow (above) and the Empire's research vessel, new stormtrooper variants and new alien races. Star Wars is set in a rich galaxy where thousands of alien races coexist, enormous starships dominate the hyperlanes and mystic Jedi wield untold powers - it's a lot of fun to play in that universe!

Worth playing?

Yes! Whille it has it's critics, and justly so for some parts of it's mechanic were frutrating, but nonetheless this game delivers a new way to play and a fantastic setting. Not many games manage to fit an original timeframe, great new enemies and destruction and a captivating character - not since Kyle Katarn anyway! If you love Star Wars you've already bought this if you want to play a very fun game without having to know everything about Star Wars EU - this is for you too.

I'll be back with more on this game soon.

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