by Keaton Arksey
reviewed on X360
The original Star Wars: The Force Unleashed had a nice, compact story. Starkiller, after being raised by Darth Vader to be his apprentice, eventually realizes the error of his ways and plays a pivotal role in the creation of the Rebel Alliance. He sacrificed his own life to ensure their escape from the clutches of the Empire. Given its tremendous success, the idea of a sequel was sure to pop up at some point. While the sequel does manage to correct some wrongs from the previous game, new issues arise and the question of why this story was needed in the first place is inevitably raised.
The story begins on the cloning world of Kamino, where Darth Vader arrives to confront a Starkiller in chains. But how can Starkiller, who should be by all accounts dead, be standing before the Dark Lord of the Sith? Cloning, of course! Starkiller quickly escapes the Imperial clutches and sets off to find General Kota, a Jedi general in the Rebel Alliance and guide to Starkiller in the later half of the first game. He also searches for his love interest, Juno Eclipse. The Force Unleashed II focuses more on this relationship, as well as Starkiller’s personal search to find out whether he is a clone or the genuine article. The issue in this is that they were obviously planning on a third game, and so this middle instalment suffers from Halo 2 syndrome. These unanswered questions stand out even more when you factor in the closure the first game had.
If you have played any third person action game in the last few years, you basically know what to expect. X is lightsaber attacks, Y is Force Lightning, B is Force Push, and A is jump. You combine all of these moves to form combos, and like in most action games you will find the one combo you are comfortable with and stick with that for most of the game. Along with Force Lightning and Force Push, Repulse, Lightsaber Throw, and Force Grip all return from the first game. As always, using Force Grip to grab a stormtrooper, hit him with some lightning and throw him into a crowd of his comrades to act as a lightning grenade is as fun as ever, and the openness to combat keeps it from getting stale or boring.
New additions are the ability to block and move at the same time, a second lightsaber which speeds up combat, and Jedi Mind Trick, which can trick enemies into either jumping to their deaths or attacking their former allies. Mind Trick comes complete with them repeating whatever you said, like for example “I will kill my friends”. The powers are stronger then they were in the beginning of the first game, but you can still upgrade them (up to three levels for each power), usually adding more damage or increasing the amount of effected enemies.
One of the major complaints was the difficulty in using Force Grip on specific objects and throwing it at a specific enemy, usually involving grabbing the wrong thing or hurling it at the wrong enemy. While it still happens on occasion, it feels less often. In what is a purely cosmetic addition, enemies can now be decapitated or have limbs removed. Purely cosmetic, but it is nice to see a videogame actually treat the lightsaber like a deadly killing tool.
Another complaint was the extensive amount of enemies in the first game. There is still a fair amount, but they tend to be a bit more spread out in the campaign and you rarely see some of them for long stretches of time. As for bosses, you really only have three. The Gorog, the marquee creature that makes a Rancor look like a teacup in comparison, had the opportunity to be a Shadow of the Colossus battle.
Great cutscenes, solid gameplay, slaughtering stormtroopers still fun.
Feels short, story seems adrift, repetitive environments.