After a Lego game I like playing a game with “realistic graphics” – and vice versa 🙂 This time I kept the Star Wars theme and played The Force Unleashed for Xbox360. I have to admit – I didn’t have high expectations, BUT this game surprised me in so many (good) ways and I thoroughly enjoyed playing it (on easy-chicken-“Apprentice”-mode, of course…).
The story fits in nicely within the Star Wars Universe. It used to be canon, before Star Wars Episode VII came along. You play Starkiller, a Sith who has secretly been trained by Darth Vader. Your mission is to eliminate the last Jedi Masters – but the light side of the Force is calling to you and there comes a time for decisions that could influence the balance of the galaxy…
The narrative holds some surprises and great twists and turns in store. The animations in the cut sequences are usually of good quality, but sometimes small details like weird moth movements can take you out of the flow of the scene. But overall I found the story quite strong for a video game (not flawless) and I really got into it, especially as the game progressed. The first level offers a pretty epic start – you play Darth Vader on Kasshyk. An another videogame highlight (for me) is a sequence shortly before the finale, when Starkiller pulls a Star Destroyer out of the sky – with the Force! The controller is going mad and it feels suitably grand and epic.
The controls were quite intuitive for me. Well, I’m definitely no combo master… You collect EP and get points of special skill trees that you can unlock to your liking. And there are loads of combo attacks. I’m more of a buttonmasher or I like to stick to a few trusty attacks. The control of and feel for the character is excellent. It definitely draws you in when you character is jumping to new Olympic heights, Force-dashes, unleashes lightsabre attacks and Force lightning. The controls were a pleasant surprise for me – I thought I’d be struggling, but I found my way around quite quickly and really enjoyed the responsiveness of the character. It makes for a very immersive gaming experience.
The actual gameplay only took around 7 odd hours – however I chose the easiest mode and didn’t collect everything (like lightsabre crystals). I think the game is supposed is supposed to be played multiple times with increasing difficulty. I definitely want to play it again, but I would choose the easy mode again. I like playing video games for fun and I don’t like to get frustrated. So before it turns negative, I prefer going the easy way. I’m not that skilled anyway… 😀
One small anecdote on graphics – I think the detailed (and destructible) environments are a massive plus and the overall graphics are very impressive by my standards. Another reason for the game having the potential of being quite immersive. In one level you are on a space station and then you step into a lift. I thought it’s just going to be a boring ol’ ride, but suddenly the lift is going up through a glass tube and you can look around and see the stars above and the station beneath. At seeing that absolutely amazing starscape I actually gasped. That was another unexpected, but utterly fascinating moment in the game.
I highly recommend Star Wars – The Force Unleashed to Star Wars fans and linear, but rich level-based video game fans alike. The detailed environments, Star Wars-worthy story and intuitive (and pretty epic) fight controls make it worth trying – and for me playing again! I’m looking forward to Part II. Again, I try not to expect to much and hope to be pleasantly surprised, like in this game.