Star Wars The Force Unleashed Review

Posted: June 25, 2013 in Game reviews

Greetings mortals. I am DracoJames102 and I am here to give you a review.

I am a big ‘Star Wars’ fan. I grew up with the special edition of the classic trilogy (I am expecting hate mail for saying that.) and I absolutely love those movies. When I heard that there was going to be a new Star Wars movie going to be released in 1999, I was so exited. When I finally got in the cinema and watched ‘Episode 1 The Phantom Menace’, I did not know what to think of it after I left the cinema All I knew was it was not nearly as good as the original trilogy. When ‘Episode 2: Attack of the Clones’ came out, I was so bored and uninterested after I came out of the cinema. I could not remember a single thing about that movie and that was not at all good for a kid that loves ‘Star Wars’. When I saw ‘Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith’, I really thought it was a big step up from the last movie. I really liked it, but it still wasn’t up to par with the original trilogy. Overall the prequels were lackluster in comparison and they got noticeably worse over the years.

But enough of my personal history with the ‘Star Wars’ franchise. I am here to talk about the spin-off game that was released in 2008 for the Playstation 2, Playstation 3 (I don’t know why they decided to release the game for both systems), Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii. This is my review of ‘Star Wars The Force Unleashed’.

force unleashed cover

Back when the game was released, it got mixed feedback. Some people liked it, others didn’t. Despite that however, it sold over 1 million copies in America and Australia on the month it was released and reached over 7 million copies sold in 2010, resulting in its sequel which was released in that year which I will review another time. I am going to see how well ‘Force Unleashed 1’ holds up today. I won’t be spoiling the story so much as I will only describe the premise of the game.

The story of this game takes place in between ‘Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘Episode 4 A New Hope’. Darth Vader (one of the most badass villains ever I should say) is on a mission to hunt down the last of the Jedi that did not return to the temple after ‘Order 66’ was issued. He finds a Jedi on Kasshyk (the wookie home-planet) and launches an invasion on the planet going after the Jedi himself. When he proceeds to kill the Jedi, he discovers the Jedi’s son and recognizes his ability in the force. After killing the Jedi, Vader decides to take the child and train him in the ways of the dark side for a secret plan to overthrow the Emperor and rule the galaxy.

After years of rigorous training, Vader decides to send his new apprentice codenamed StarKiller to hunt down more hiding Jedi to prove that he is ready to overthrow the Emperor with him. Vader also orders Starkiller to kill any witnesses he comes across on his missions whether it be Empire or Rebels so that the Emperor can never know of his existence. Starkiller travels with a droid named Proxy that is programmed to kill him and can turn into a hologram of a Jedi and a pilot named Juno Eclipse who he has a crush on. Your goal as Starkiller is go through each and every level completing missions

So that’s the premise of ‘Star Wars The Force Unleashed’. What do I think of it? …….Eh. I did like the story when I first played the game, but I was young and naive back then. I started to notice most of the problems with the story as I got older. For the most part, the story is harmless, but I find some aspects of it just plain ridiculous especially the big twist near the end of the game (players of the game will know what I am talking about).  Another problem is that there are some things about the characters that I find just not right mainly Starkiller. If Starkiller is supposed to be a ruthless assassin I think he could have been portrayed better. I can understand his character development in the later half of the game but I don’t really like the way he was portrayed before that. The prime example is when he first laid eyes on Juno. He hides behind the wall and asks Proxy who she is as if they were in a romantic high school movie. That just does not seem right for the character. This isn’t the worst Star Wars story to come from George Lucas, but it is still pretty stupid.

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Story aside, the gameplay itself is pretty action packed. Your goal of the game is to reach the end of the level and fight the boss at the end. Along the way you will fight varieties of Imperial troopers and alien life-forms. All you have is a lightsaber and the force. You attack with the lightsaber by pressing the square button (PS3 version), jump with the X button, force push with the circle button and use the triangle button to use force lightening which you learn in the second level of the game. You use the left analog stick to move and the right analog stick to move the camera. The L1 button allows to use force dash and holding down the R1 button allows you to use the force to move objects or lift some enemies around using the left analog stick to move it left or right and the right analog stick allows you to move the object up and down. Releasing the R1 button while holding the analog stick in a direction allows you to throw the object/enemy in that direction. The force is necessary if you want to progress with the level.

force unleashed 1

This game also has some RPG elements thrown into the mix though it is nowhere near as bad as ‘Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game’s RPG system. You start off reasonably strong and once you level up you earn force combo, force power and force talent spheres to power up your lightsaber attacks, add power of your force moves and combos that allow you to combine lightening with your lightsaber attacks or combine the force push with your lightsaber attacks.

Along the levels you come across Jedi holocrons and Sith holocrons. Sith Holocrons are temporary power-ups that can help you defeat enemies easier. Some grant you temporary invincibility, force energy and extra physical damage, but my personal favourite is the health draining aura power-up. This can drain all of your enemy’s health and add it to yours as you slash your enemies away, getting weaker as you grow stronger. (Evil maniacal laughter.) Jedi holocrons help you level up more or grant you prizes. Some holocrons grant you more force points to level up or grant you extra force power, combo or talent spheres while others give you different colour lightsaber crystals, lightsaber power crystals which grant your lightsaber extra effects or new costumes. On the same menu you can level up your stats, you can customize your lightsaber and change the costume of Starkiller. You also gain another costume when you progress to the next level.

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There are only eight levels top travel through throughout the whole game, but some of them are pretty lengthy and come equipped with their own challenges and enemies. For most of the levels, you will be fighting Imperial troops, but other levels such as Felucia and Raxus Prime, you fight the natives of those planets to get to the boss at the end of the level. Besides regular troops, you will fight stronger variations of troops and even giant creatures such as Rancors and AT-STs. When Starkiller is close to finishing off a big enemy, you can press the square button to set off with a series of button combinations where Starkiller uses his force powers in a creative and awesome way to finish it off.

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The bosses of the game can range from average to pretty challenging. The fights against the Jedi can be pretty tough if you don’t know what you are doing and the last few bosses are just outright challenging. Each boss fight is unique in its own right and can actually be pretty fun.

force unleashed boss fight

Graphically speaking, the game is ok in my opinion. The graphics and environments are beautiful but sometimes I lose track of where I am supposed to go because some textures on the environment look the same from one another. The character models are ok but some aspects of their models are structured and sometimes the lighting clashes weirdly with the models.

The music in this game is all composed of the Star Wars themes we all know and love though they have created some original themes for Starkiller and nearly everything else that was introduced in this game so if you like Star Wars music, here is the millionth place you can listen to it.

In terms of the game’s control, it is ok but I have my issues. First off, the collision detection can be pretty unpredictable at times. There were even times where I got myself got in some pretty nasty glitches that caused me to go back to the last checkpoint. Starkiller is also really nasty to maneuver across small platforms. Other than that, the control is ok.

Also before I forget, at the very start of the game you can actually play as Darth Vader when he attacks Kasshyk. This pretty much serves as a tutorial level to show you how the game mechanics work. Darth Vader is an absolute tank in a literal sense. He hits like one but he moves like one. Darth Vader moves so slow and he cannot force dash like Starkiller can (so how he taught Starkiller the force dash I’m sure to find in the box of prequel plot-holes). You only control Darth Vader one time in the entire game and once you beat his level, there is absolutely no way to select and play it again, so for all of you wanting to play as the ultimate lord of the Dark Side, sorry. You have to start tons of new games if you want to play as him again and again and again.

Vader_vs._Kento

So do I think that ‘Star Wars The Force Unleashed’ is worth playing today? I would say yes. The gameplay is pretty fun, the way Starkiller uses his force powers are a sight to see and dare I say it, some of the new characters can actually be pretty entertaining sometimes. Some of the levels can be pretty lengthy, but they don’t go on for too long and I do enjoy fighting all of the different types of enemies. I may not enjoy the story anymore and the game does have its technical problems but I can kind of forgive it seeing as it was an early Xbox 360 and PS3 game. I think the game is worth playing for the gameplay alone because I feel it can satisfy both the casual crowd and the Star Wars fan base. So with fun gameplay, cool visuals and the classic Star Wars feel, I recommend giving this game a shot if you are ever curious.

Final rating: 7/10

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