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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Review
Posted on December 09, 2008 by Oscar Gonzalez

One of the most anticipated games for the holiday of 2008 is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Part of a whole multimedia project including graphic novels and games on several systems, SW: TFU became an immediate favorite when it was displayed at E3 2007. So does it live to the hype? Very simply, someone on gametrailers.com made the perfect comments about it:

Star Wars fans = must buy

Non-Star Wars fans = rental

So let's get down to what this game is all about. SW:TFU takes place after Star Wars: Episode 3. Darth Vader has gone from being a scrawny blond emo kid to the epic robotic monster that we have all come to know and love. In the first level, you play as Vader himself allowing you to play with all the force powers while training the player on how the game works. The actual main character is a disciple of Vader's and you will have to level him up to become a powerful Sith. In Star Wars fashion, there are a few twists and turns that happen throughout to keep you on the edge of your seat. Be forewarned, you will be duped a few times.

After several hours playing SW: TFU, another game popped into my head: God of War. First off, the game has a leveling up system so you got that RPG element. When you level up, complete certain tasks in a level, or find special items, "holocrons", you will have the choice to improve your character. Whether it's improving the force powers, light saber combat, or stats (HP, Force, Force recovery), you're given the choice of how you want to focus on. The problem with this system is that it's such a common way of doing things and frankly, it's a little lazy.

Combat itself involves the combination of light saber and force powers. As a Star Wars fan, you'll love the ability to use the force and just throw enemies left and right. On the other hand, you'll be annoyed at how many enemies can block the "force" and your light saber. The targeting system doesn’t help either since you can target a variety of items to move with the force. Don't be surprised that you’re targeting a rock that you can barely see because it's so far away while an enemy hacks away with you right next to you. Action can be manic sometimes with enemies coming from all over with enemies coming in forms of small flying small enemies to Rancors all at the same time. Now the real similarity between this game and GoW is the finishing off of bosses and large enemies. For large enemies, the Rancor for example, you'll have to finish it off while pressing a specific button sequence which results in a very cool and brutal death. The same comes with the level bosses which brings an even more epic death for those bosses.

Like any Star Wars game, you're in for a great presentation. You're given the standard Star Wars intro with the John Williams music and the upward scrolling story. It's always a treat to listen to a Star Wars theme while playing a Star Wars game. Voice acting is top notch but don't expect any actors to reprise their movie roles. Sound effects are great as expected. Graphics is a little bit of a downer. Characters are detailed very well and the levels have a lot to them in regards to substance. Even though you're confined into a specific area, you'll still see a drawn out land in every level. The problem comes with the actual detail of the environments. They're very plain and blocky without any rich detail to it. You'll enjoy the look of the levels but you won't spend time in awe looking at the details.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed will be released on every system that currently has games released for it (that means a PS2 version as well). There will be various features and some content will be different here and there. The 360 version will not have online multiplayer while the Wii, DS and PSP version are supposed to be online. Don't ask me why that is, but I'd expect the 360 version to at least have some downloaded content. Expect a good 15-20 hours of gameplay unless you really focus on racing through it or finding every little thing. The additional tasks in every level are really where the replayabilty of the game is, and will reward you with different light sabers and various outfits. In all, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is not the best Star Wars game out there but it's brings solid Star Wars action with a new Star Wars plot into the next generation of consoles.

The PS3 version has everything the same but a little less polished. It's obvious that the developer did not push the PS3 hardware to its limits.

Oscar Gonzalez - Editor-in-Chief og (@) original-gamer.com | all author's articles

What's your most anticipated game for March?

Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation
Tom Clancy's The Division
Hitman
EA Sports UFC 2
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus
Samurai Warriors 4 Empires
MLB The Show 16
Pokken Tournament
Killer Instinct Season 3
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