The Force has been Unleashed… I guess

September 22, 2008 by Tim

I plowed through The Force Unleashed last week. It was a good time. If you haven’t played it yet, I’d recommend it.

From a gameplay standpoint, it was solid, if perhaps a bit repetitive. No an unenjoyable kind of repetitive, mind you. After all, how boring could tossing Stormtroopers around with the force possible get? But it is definitely a hack n’ slash title first, with minor character building elements and some quick time events thrown in.

Speaking of tossing Stormtroopers around, I found that Force Grip made up about 80% of my battle strategy. Trucking through the levels, it just becomes so much easier to grab guys and toss them off a ledge somewhere than actually deplete their health bar. Only when there were no ledges, or enemies that couldn’t be gripped, did other powers and combos really play into it.

The lightsaber stuff is fun, but also a little situational with certain combos. On ledges or walkways you can’t run combos because they’ll walk you right over the edge. Other times you may be facing too many guys to really start air combos and whatnot.

The force powers were good, but dare I say… I didn’t quite feel they were “unleashed” so to speak. Force Lightning is Force Lightning, Push is Push… it was all stuff that I always figured Jedi could do anyway. Granted, it’s the first time we’ve seen the Force used with such physics effect in a game (bending metal, blasting through doors and trees, etc) so that was definitely a treat. But the Force Unleashed part seems to be referring to the “we can finally do this in a game” unleashed rather than “holy shit, this guy is going buck wild with the Force” unleashed.

I had a few minor gripes. The quick time scenes were neat, but you’re so focused on nailing the sequences, you only get to see the cool shit Starkiller is doing out of your peripheral vision. It’d be nice to be able to view those scenes from a menu after you’ve completed them.

Ran into some bugs… one time I fell off a ledge into a pit of fire while I had invincibility on. I didn’t die, even after the effect wore off, and I was left running around in this pit, unable to get out or suicide. Had to exit out and restart from the last save.

Also that sequence with the (spoiler alert) ‘ar-stay estroyer-day’ was an awful pain in the ass. Such a cool sequence, sort of ruined by how annoying it was. It didn’t help that mine bugged on me, and I spent 12 passes of TIE fighters trying to get the thing to turn yellow, and it wouldn’t. Again, had to exit out and restart, and finally got it to work.

The story of the game actually surprised me the most. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that I was very interested to see how much impact on canon that George Lucas allowed here. There’s some stuff revealed in the story which was sort of like “wow, that’s responsible for everything we already know”. It was good stuff.

I was also amused to see the “romantic” tangent in the story. I am now thoroughly convinced that love in the Star Wars Universe works something like this.

“Hi. I see you are a woman, and breathing.”
“Yes, I see you are a man, and also breathing.”
“We are in love now.”

Because frankly, that’s what they’re showing us over, and over, and over.

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