Review by InvaderKimimaro
"Many hundreds of in game enemies were harmed in the making of this review."
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. A game based off of a book that was based off of the enormous Star Wars franchise. I borrowed this game from a friend of mine, finished it, and then decided to write a review for it. I'm going to try my best to avoid spoilers for this review, so if you're interested in the story read on without fear. Anyways, I don't like very long introductions so I'm going to get right to it.
I think that it would be profitable to say that I don't have a HD (high definition) TV (television) so the graphics that I'm basing this on are in SD (standard definition)
I figured that I'd start on a more positive note. The character models are wonderful and everything they do looks like they're actually doing it (instead of objects magnetically clinging to people's hands like I've seen in some other games) and look very nice. Another thing that's good about the character models is that the characters aren't perfect looking human beings; they have flaws (not in the way that they're executed, they have small blemishes and such that as far as I know were programmed in) and look more like real humans do in that way than many other games that I've played.
The scenery is wonderful, enticing, and will probably make you spend a few seconds looking at it just for pleasure. The one problem I found with this is that the environments aren't quite as interactive as I'd hoped they would be. You can still pick up rocks, logs, and other such things to use as projectiles to crush your enemies (more on that in the gameplay section), but a lot of things like trees and bushes only wobble. You can't really cut them up or rip them out or cause them to break/get crushed by throwing other stuff at it. It would have been really cool to throw a gigantic tree at a giant robot.
Conclusion: Great looking graphics with great character models to go with it, but the environments are slightly lacking (though this is easily gotten over).
The next section isn't quite so positive. The story is quite... lacking. You're a child who has been saved (read: not killed) by Vader. He has trained you almost your entire life to be a deadly assassin. You are a master in the ways of the force. Vader sends you on a series of missions to do his bidding. That's all I'm going to tell you, though, as going much further would include spoilers, which I'm trying to avoid in this review. It really did not keep me interested at all. I kept wanting to skip the cutscenes but I wanted to be able to have a credible opinion in this area, so I didn't. After playing the game I know that I wouldn't have missed much.
The characters were rather bland with little to no personality. Starkiller (I probably should've mentioned earlier that this was the name of your character) is the only one who has any depth at all (shown in this game at least, so characters in the movies dont give this game extra points), and it still isn't that much. Other characters will undergo radical changes (that don't really even make sense) in a very short amount of time. And all of the others are either incredibly stupid or just there for the sake of being there while trying to have a purpose.
The cutscenes are also unbearably long. I generally don't have a problem with long cutscenes, but when the story is as uninteresting as it is it really becomes a problem, although you can skip them (45-60 seconds in, however).
One other gripe I have with this game's story is the levels. While technically an aspect of gameplay, you will generally go to a level with a single purpose and end up doing many other things within that level before you ever actually fulfill your purpose. With this it seems like a lot of it is filler content that was put into this game simply to make it longer. I don't get why you can't just be dropped off at point G instead of point A and then going through all the points in between. It doesn't add anything to the story and just makes the game more drawn out.
Conclusion: Boring story, bland characters, and filler content to fill out the game's empty spaces. All in all not good.
The sound isn't that great either. There is (as far as I could tell) only one noise for all the explosions. So even if you place ~20 bombs in an extremely close area and then blow them all up (I have done this, as they say, for teh lulz) at once you get almost the exact same sound as you do if you only blew up one. There's no increase in noise; the sound is just a fraction of a second longer.
The noise that is made when you throw a large object into another large object is negligible. I thought it would be really cool to throw a giant rock into a giant wall, but it really just lost all momentum and fell when the two objects came into contact with each other. If there was a noise then it was extremely quiet, definitely not fitting for what had happened.
Enemies speak a very limited amount of lines, and usually at times extremely un-fitting. I once picked up a clone trooper (the last one in a large group of them) and he then proceeded to say, I have you now. I had just force lightning'd about seven of them at once while floating in the air. He was the only one left and I hadn't taken even a tiny bit of damage. I personally think he was the one who was in my possession and not the other way around. Multiple times I had picked more of them up and then slammed them abruptly into the ground headfirst only to listen to the enemy finish his line completely, even though he had just gotten his skull smashed in by the floor.
The voice actors do a just okay job. Nothing special.
The music is also negligible. The music is pretty repetitive and isn't very engaging. You'll find yourself forgetting that there is music a lot of the time.
Conclusion: Not interesting. Turn subtitles on and don't feel bad about listening to your own music. Or listen to the sounds provided by the game if you want, but it really isn't worth it in my opinion.
Gameplay will be split into 3 sections: actual playing of the game (and the enjoyment provided by it), game length, and glitches.
Actual playing of the game (and the enjoyment provided by it): 6/10
The actual playing of the game is really, really fun. Or at least, it is at most times. Normal combat is awesome. Watching your enemies slowly die while you have them paralysed in a seemingly endless supply of electricity (and maybe even continuing the stream long after they're dead), picking up three of your enemies and slamming their faces straight into the ground, picking up your enemies and slowly moving them towards a force field that vaporises anything it touches, hitting your enemies with your lightsaber a large number of times, pushing them up into the air then grabbing them and slamming them back down and then pushing them into a wall at uncountable numbers of whatever measuring system per hour, picking them up and throwing your lightsaber into them twenty five times before finally letting them fall off of the edge of some high edge, and throwing explosives into a large group of enemies are all amazing to witness, and even more awesome to know that youre the one that wreaked such havoc over the (what used to be) lives of the enemies. It's all wonderful.
Now, remember when I said it was only fun at most times? At this point I'm going to talk about the times that weren't quite so fun. When you're not doing all of those wonderful things mentioned before you'll probably be dashing your way through long pathways wishing you were faster or your dash lasted longer or you could use it more often. The force dash doesn't use up any of your force meter, but the game makes you wait a second or two in between dashes. That can get rather annoying.
Another thing that can get rather annoying is falling off cliffs (and other such things that cause you to die). Some enemies have explosive shots that send you flying. That can very easily push you off a ledge if you're anywhere near it. Also, a lot of these explosive attacks are homing. Now, while the homing may be rather easy to dodge, the majority of the time you're fighting enemies with these explosives you're near the end of the game and there are a lot of other enemies that have smaller shots that can't be blocked in the air. So you're basically going to eat machinegun fire from ~6 smaller enemies or get blown off a cliff. Both of them are rather dismal. You might also encounter some smaller enemies that have paralysing rounds too. Fun. There are also a few points in the game that if you jump down ~10 feet you'll die because you fell off a cliff. I know for a fact I actually landed on the part because your body becomes limp in the air when you die, and I saw Starkiller's body sprawled out on the part that I landed on.
There are also some points in the game that are very confusing without a FAQ (its a good thing that this site exists). There were multiple points in the game where I had no idea where to go next, or how to get into the next place. At one point I had to jump into the flame (that is above a pit that you can fall into and die) of a rocket thingy to trigger a mini-boss to spawn. How was I supposed to know to jump into the flame, meaning almost certain death?
There was one mini-boss fight (that if you do decide to play this game you will definitely know when you see it, but I'm not going to say which one as to avoid spoilers) that I spent an hour and a half on. First you have to destroy a large number of gigantic things that are flying towards you with no prior hints on how to do it. Then you're given instructions on the direction you have to point both of your analog sticks. First of all, the instructions are wrong, and if you follow them you don't even get to the part where you gain the ability to damage the mini-boss before more flying things come your way. If you know what to do then there is no way that you should need to spend so long on the fight, but there was nothing that could help me in the FAQ. I have now submitted some information to one of the FAQs here so that I may help others who are stuck on it. My skill didn't make a difference in this fight; I'd like to think of myself as at least somewhat intelligent, and there's no way that I should need to spend so long on a single boss (and even more so a mini-boss).
Game length: 2/10
I finished my first playthrough in 8 hours and thirty minutes. That's 7 hours, minus that one mini-boss fight. That's extremely short for a game that costs $67.19. Hell, it's short for any game. You can choose to play through the game again to see the other ending, but it's five or so more hours (it's easier on subsequent playthroughs) for a minute long scene.
Another thing that really lowered this score was how it felt drawn out. Stretched as far as they could. You know that when you're complaining that an eight hour game feels drawn out the developers must have done something wrong.
And one more thing that I feel extremely necessary to mention is loading times. I spent a minute and a half waiting to start the level (45 seconds to load and then 45 more to switch to a costume that I like) and around 5 more minutes waiting every time I died. That's about six minutes and 30 seconds per level. There are nine missions. That means that I was in the loading screen for about an hour in the entire game. So all in all my playthrough (including that one mini-boss fight) was actually seven and a half hours.
There are times when an enemy will get their head caught between a moving object and a wall and their arms, body and legs will flail about hilariously. This slows the dying animation and could possibly cause you to die (when enemies die they drop health, and if you don't get it there's a possibility that you'll die due to the lack of it). This one occurred a countless number of times with varying results from hilarity to death.
I fell off of the edge of a balcony type thing once and I got the dying body animation in the middle of the fall. But then I landed on a floor made out of blackness. Starkiller then got up and proceeded to be stuck. I needed to reload my game from the last point in which the game had auto saved. This happened once.
At one point I had all of the objects in the area that move to constantly flail about really fast. This was hilarious, but it did get annoying after a while, as it obstructed my view and throwing of projectiles. This happened once but lasted for about ten minutes.
The glitches aren't bad, but they really are very annoying.
Conclusion: Fun gameplay that doesn't last very long and is marred by some technical details.
Replay value: 3
Replaying the game is an extremely similar to your original playthrough, except that you have all of your powers. The difficulty is exactly the same with all of your bonuses as the only difficulty you should be having is the annoying bits that you can't help but die from. Even if you change it to hard mode for a second playthrough it should still be the same.
Rent or buy:
I'd say buy it if you're either: really rich and don't mind wasting your money, a huge Star Wars fan who needs this for a collection, or an idiot. If you aren't any of these three I'd recommend that you rent it (or better yet, borrow it from a friend like I did).
OVERALL: (8 + 2.5 + 4 + 4.5) / 4 = 4.75 (rounded down to 4 because GameFAQs description for 4 fits this game more than the description for 5 does)
Thank you for reading. I apologize for any typos I may have made in the writing of this review.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 12/14/08
Game Release: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (US, 09/16/08)
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