by Keaton Arksey
reviewed on X360
Less often (cntd)
It sadly falls into the typical ‘fight the arms and head of the giant stationary monster’ battle. There are only two other boss fights, and the climactic battle in particular seems to overstay its welcome a little too long. Thankfully the over use of quick time events in the first game has been cut drastically shorter. While they still exist, they appear much less frequently and are much shorter.
Graphically, the game is quite impressive. While the graphics themselves are not too amazing, the weather effects are quite profound, and the animation is smooth and lifelike. These animations are further expounded by the simply stunning CG cut scenes. Watching Starkiller rub his temple almost perfectly in one of these already beautiful scenes only helps the visual appeal. Design wise, the game is a bit less impressive. While it is true that using a set franchise limits the games ability to create much new material, the game tends to rest too much on rather bland environments. In fact there are only three real locations in the game: Kamino, Cato Neimoidia, and the Rebel Ship Salvation. Kamino has some sleek apple-like aesthetics, and Cato Neimodia has some pretty vistas, but as there only three locations they wear out their welcome pretty quickly. There is an appearance by Dagobah, but it is so short and so insubstantial that it barely is worthy of a mention.
Voice acting and sound
Speaking of which, a great deal was made pre-release on the appearance of Boba Fett and Yoda, two of the more iconic Star Wars characters. The problem is, like Dagobah their appearances are short. From a canonical sense, it makes sense as you can not have the strongest Jedi ever fight Boba Fett and not kill him, but it still feels like fan service and is unnecessary. There are some hints as to where it can go in the hypothetical third game, it still feels like it could have been left out and the story would have barely been changed.
The voice acting is pretty good, and you get a good sense of emotion from the dialogue. This being a Star Wars game, heavy use of the classic tracks is a given, so if you enjoy them you will quite enjoy yourself. Sound effects are basically ripped straight from the movies, from the lightsaber sounds to the firing of blasters. There are some repeated dialogue lines, but its not enough to completely ruin the experience.
The major problem with The Force Unleashed II is the length. Harping on a games actual length may be seen as bad form, Force Unleashed II feels short. Maybe it’s because of the lack of environments, or the lack of replayability, but the 6-7 hour campaign just doesn’t cut it. Sure you have 10 optional challenge modes where you do things like move as quickly as you can through a platforming section or block projectiles for as long as you can, but they’re not deep enough. There are some unlockables like costumes, cinematics, concept art and lightsaber crystals that add various effects, but there’s not a lot here.
So what can be said about The Force Unleashed II? Well, overall it is solid. The gameplay falls in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra (though it’s nothing to write home about either), and visually the game is pretty impressive. But the experience is so short, and the story seems so unnecessary. It’s still fun, but much like the first game you have to hope the issues are resolved in a follow-up.
Great cutscenes, solid gameplay, slaughtering stormtroopers still fun.
Feels short, story seems adrift, repetitive environments.