by Keaton Arksey
reviewed on X360
The game has a customizable element to it. Depending on how you take out enemies, you get Force points. The flashier you are, the more points you earn. When you have enough points, you level up, which gives you points toward upgrading your character in categories such as Force skills (power up your Force powers to deal more damage, affect more enemies), combos, and character stats (health, how fast you recover Force). Outside of leveling up, you can get upgrade points through completing bonus objectives and finding hidden Jedi Holocrons spread throughout the levels.
The Star Wars universe has some of the most interesting worlds of any fiction property. Some of these are included in the game, such as the jungle world of Felucia and the junk planet Raxuss Prime. It is kind of disappointing, however, that you repeat several levels in the game later on. They are different enough to not be too bad, but you do wish you could see a bit more of the universe.
Graphics and sounds
Graphically speaking, the game is very beautiful. The characters are detailed, and the levels themselves are visually pleasing. The game utilizes several middleware engines, like Havok for realistic physics. But the real wonder is the Euphoria engine, which gives AI realistic movements. When you pick up a stormtrooper with the Force, he will try to grab on to corners and comrades to keep from being thrown away. When he is in the air, his legs kick and he turns his head looking for something to save him. The DMM (or Digital Molecular Matter) engine allows for objects that actually act like its real world counterpart, such as wood splintering like wood. It all sums up to create the most realistic Star Wars experience so far.
The interface functions and is not overly difficult to use (though it did take some time to stop pressing start when I wanted to upgrade Starkiller), and thus is good.
Finally, we come to sound. The game’s voice acting is done well, and the music provides a wonderful mix of old and new Star Wars. The sound effects are just right, from the drone of a lightsaber to the scream of TIE fighters. If Star Wars is known for one thing, it could very well be the music, and The Force Unleashed follows this suit.
Yet, for such a technologically advanced game, there are still some bugs. The AI can be worse than the basic drone: it can be brain-dead. There are times when you can stand right beside a stormtrooper and he won’t even react. It was so bad, it ruined one of the final boss fights, and that is not to mention some weird invisible wall issues and the fact that I was able to jump right through the ground.
When it comes to length, you can expect the game to take anywhere from five to ten hours to complete. With upgradable skills, a bounty of holocrons to discover, four difficulty levels, unlockable costumes and lightsaber parts, and two different endings, there is a bit of replay ability, but don’t expect to get that much extra bang for your buck.
Overall, the game is a mixed bag. Star Wars fans will love the fact that the game provides an important link between Episodes III and IV (even if some small canon facts are disregarded), and the fact that for the first time you can really use the Force to raise some serious hell. Still, glitches, occasionally brain dead AI and ultimately repetitive gameplay keep this one from achieving true mastery of the Force.
No Pros and Cons at this time