Review by ArkfellerKonan

"Does it really get all that hype?"

OK, maybe I am being a little harsh, but I ain't changing that title.

When you first pick up this game you're thinking "wow, I know I'll have fun playing this thing.'

Not exactly, and I'll tell you why.

Graphics: 6/10

So-and-so. For PSP standards it's only to be expected, and you can't really pump anything more out of it. The Force Lightning looks sweet, as do the explosions, the lightsabers, and... wait... nothing else looks good. First off, there are utterly horrible clipping issues - and believe me, they're worse than Spore creatures' parts running into each other. What I mean is capes in cutscenes going right through the character, or areas in the game where whole parts of the ground you're standing on vanish into the dark abyss of Star Wars universe dark matter, then reappear seconds later. The textures are even worse, looking so elongated and blurry it is even worse than pea soup or integrated video chipsets. And the thing is, every texture in the game (including character's faces and various bits of clothing) are pixelated beyond reckoning. The character modelling could have been improved on by far - they are simply polygons mashed together - the NPCs and player models together could have been made out of badly carved ice and no one could've noticed the difference. On this point, however, I am being a bit critical, and at some points in the game (for some strange reason) the models are seen with more polygons. Either way, graphics are a definite 'average.' No strong points, but sometimes huge letdowns.

Gameplay: 5/10

Nothing but your classic hack-and-slash with a few Force tidbits mixed in. For all your combat needs: run up to enemy, chop away with your lightsaber. Or, run at enemy, blow him away with Force Lightning and finish with lightsaber. It's that plain. Sure, there are a few Force combos you could 'unleash' (no pun intended) here and there, but you could play through the whole game with just a lightsaber. What really bothers me is how inconsistent the lightsaber damage in the game is compared to the movies. In the films, lightsabers were capable of cutting through anything and killing enemies with one brandish. In the game, it takes at least 2 swipes of the lightsaber just to kill a droid. I know it was made to get balanced out - because one-hit-kills aren't fun when they're continual - but it's just... disturbing. At one point in the story, (spoilers ahead) Starkiller uses the Force - by himself - to knock a Star Destroyer off its course. In the game's rather easy boss fights, it's the same old drill, but special (and somewhat drab) action sequences are thrown in. They serve as finishing moves or little breaks. For example, if the enemy attempts to blast you with Force Lightning, and you somehow do the same simultaneously, button mashing comes into place. Boss fights aside, the only other notable gameplay element would be striking a number of enemies down before proceeding to the next area. The problem is, these areas are so devilish hard, swarming with baddies and if you're unlucky, the game even chooses to throw a miniboss (like the Rancor) at you. These minibosses, coupled with a small space teeming with aliens/Stormtroopers/Mandalorians can really make you spend countless hours on the same stage. Off Story Mode, Force Unleashed provides an arcade-like experience. Think Dead or Alive but in 3D. There are 3 modes you pick from: Order 66, Force Duel and Historic Mission. As Star Wars fans would've guessed, Order 66 is a defeat-wave-after-wave arcade style, and bosses/minibosses every 5 or 6 waves. Nothing special, and definitely for endurance players. Force Duel, arcade with bosses. Historic Mission, where you get to fight the most notable duels in the saga. But it strikes me as odd that the Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon vs. Darth Maul Duel of Fates wasn't included. All in all, Force Unleashed mode is a downer, and Story Mode, while not being irksome, can bore you after a while if you know the plot. If.

Sound: 7/10

The sound is, compared to the rest of the game, alright. It's not terrific, of course, but it could've been worse. Music was fine, the pieces composed by Mark Griskey, but when playing in Story Mode and Force Unleashed, it's rather hard to focus on what's playing, being thrown into dozens of battles at once. It is epic, but definitely not on the scale of John Williams' genius, and sometimes fails to convey the full scope of how far Starkiller has come. Nevertheless, the soundtrack was a stronger point in the game. The voice acting in the game is a mixture of the more popular dialogue ("I HATE YOU!") from the saga, in with some new voices from some fresh talent. However, the voices occassionally sound flat and emotionless and certainly doesn't fit the current atmosphere. Nevertheless, sound is the best part of the game.

All in all, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for PSP is an almost-definite rent, because after all the speculation, rumours and hype, it's just another PSP game.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 10/02/08

Game Release: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (AU, 09/17/08)


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