Star Wars: the Force Unleashed Review

21 09 2008

As this article illustrates Star Wars games have been around for a long long time. Some, such as Knights of the Old Republic and Rogue Squadron have been awesome, others less so. But with the release of Star Wars: the Force Unleashed LucasArts is hoping to capture the awesomeness once again.

For the most part they succeed. The plot (which is probably the game’s best element) features everyone’s favourite asthmatic, Darth Vader developing a secret apprentice to carry out his bidding and ultimately confront the Emperor.

We are plunged into the action straight away as we takecontrol of Darth Vader as he butchers his way through armies of Wookies and his own stormtroopers (which earns you probably the coolest Xbox 360 gamer points: Worst Day Shift Supervisor Ever) on his way to confronting a fugitive Jedi.

There’s something incredibly visceral and satisfying in this opening in being Darth Vader  and slicing apart hordes of Wookies and stormtroopers. We are also introduced to the awesome force powers we can use in the game whether it’s Vader’s patented force choke or summoning a Naruto-like ball of force energy to obliterate everything in our path.

Yet this prologue also reveals some of the frustrating elements of the game. We can obliterate the bark and much of the trunk from a 1000 year old giant tree yet we are unable to cut down a piddling little sapling? Please.

Also the game reveals itself to be frustratingly linear. In this prologue I found myself wanting to jump to the ground below to fight the AT ATs  and the like only to be prevented. In many ways the Force Unleashed is a glorified platformer following a very linear structure through the levels. There are baddies to beat up, puzzles to figure out then end bosses to defeat.

But in saying that its still a whole heap of fun with a genuinely compelling story. The game looks beautiful and it features some inspired character and vehicle design, the new ship we use, the Rogue Shadow is a classic design that we want to play with, while Proxy the droid is insanely good value.

Definitely worth checking out. 7 out of 10