by Keaton Arksey
reviewed on X360
When Episode III of the Star Wars saga was released several years ago, it left behind many questions. Questions concerning the beginnings of the Rebel Alliance, the deconstruction of the Jedi, and the rise of Darth Vader had all been left open, with only the books to fill in whatever spaces were deemed fit. Luckily, someone out there seemed to feel that it would be a good idea to create an “Episode 3.5” as it were, a bridge between the prequel and classic trilogies. That bridge, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, has been one of the most highly anticipated games of the year.
The game kicks off fairly close to the end of the events of Episode III. Darth Vader has landed on Kashyyk, the Wookie home world, to destroy a Jedi who has hidden there. Of course, during this time, the Imperials are trying to overtake and enslave the Wookies, so there is quite a bit of action going on. After finding and defeating the Jedi, Vader discovers his son, who happens to be stronger in the Force than his own father. Seeing this boy’s power in the Force makes Vader take him in as his secret apprentice.
After skipping ahead several years, the boy, named Starkiller in the game, must complete his training by taking out several Jedi before his final test, which is to help Vader take out Emperor Palpatine and rule the galaxy. The story is actually fairly good, with very few facts disregarded (such as the fact that the Sarlaac’s stomach is full of acid.) Since it IS a Star Wars game, you can expect different endings, but considering it is up to a single choice, it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, other than getting a different ending.
With a name like The Force Unleashed, you would expect some pretty crazy Force powers to be available, and for the most part, there is. You can pick up plenty of stormtroopers and various other enemies with the Force, fling them to and fro. You can even pick up huge items like TIE Fighters, but strangly enough you can’t pick up something like an AT-ST (or Chicken Walker). This is one of the problems with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, in which some items or enemies can be picked up while others can not.
Later in the game, you will find enemies that can resist Force Lightning, and some that can’t be picked up with the Force. While the game would be to easy if you could just walk through it picking up enemy after enemy and throwing them away like a ragdoll, it feels odd being one of the most powerful Force user in the Star Wars canon and not being able to take out a guy with a piece of technology on him. Either way, you still have access to a variety of Force moves such as a lightsaber throw, Force Lightning, and Force Push.
The controls and camera work fairly well. You automatically target on one character, and you can lock on by pressing the right bumper. You can pick him/her up with the Force using the right stick, and move them around with the left and right sticks. To throw, you simply flick the left stick in the direction you want them to go and release the R trigger. You won’t know exactly where they will go, but most of the time they hit the target you had in mind. There are a variety of combos you can pull off, which make different use of your Force powers. They all revolve around your lightsaber though, which you can use to attack with the X button. Throwing in the odd Y (Force Lighting), or B (Force Push) can result in more damage being dealt. Specific combos and grapple moves are at your dispose to use on enemies.
While the gameplay can be interesting if you want it to be, mixing up a slew of different Force powers with lightsaber mastery, it does get fairly repetitive after a while as the game is an action-beat ‘em up at heart. The AI isn’t that intuitive either, as they seem more like drones that are sent wave after wave in order to try and drown you.
No Pros and Cons at this time