Review by Drogan13
An honest review from an average Star Wars fan...
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is by no means a bad game, but it does fall short of being a GREAT game.
With the new generation of gaming consoles, there is really no reason that any game should get under an 8 in this category. Beautiful landscapes (even as early as the prologue) are rendered through every level. Distant buildings and vast forests, mechanical arms and docked tie fighters... these are just a few of the things that you will find in each level. The force powers themselves look beautiful (force lightning, enough said) and the lightsaber activates and deactivates fluidly with no hesitation. Even the idle stance of Starkiller is great as he stands the and tosses his lightsaber into the air over and over again.
The only reason SW:FU doesn't quite reach top marks is that there are just too many graphical glitches within the game. At one point in the first mission I got a glitch where the tie fighter's blaster kept pounding one spot over and over, long after the fighter itself had disappeared. Getting stuck in walls, objects seeming to jump to catch up with force grip, and a few other minor things keep this from being a 10. Now, don't thing this game is nothing but a glitch-fest, because it's not. It's just that the glitches are obvious enough to require comment, but they are not so bad that they ruin the game.
Gameplay: 9/10 (first mission), 7/10 (rest of the game)
This category needs to be split, only because the first mission as Starkiller is amazingly entertaining, but after that the game becomes more tedious and repetitive. When you first start playing and you're learning the force powers and playing around with different combos, the game is amazing. The problem is that once you start to progress, you don't really get many new powers, and therefore the few you have will be used until you start to have a persistent sense of deju vu. By the end of the second mission you'll find yourself Force Gripping an opponent, throwing a Force Lightning at him before crashing him into his friends, or simply throwing your lightsaber through him.
Speaking of force powers getting repetitive, eventually you won't really have to worry about them, since enemies will begin to carry force shields and be immune to the powers. At this point you'll be picking up objects and ramming the enemies with them over and over again.
The levels themselves, while beautiful, are very linear. With a few exceptions (small hidden areas containing Holocrons) you will be going from point A to point B, blasting everything in your way. There are plenty of action puzzles for you to figure out, though the game makes it very obvious how to proceed throughout most of the game.
I'm basing the score for this section on the idea that you are an average to below average Star Wars fan (basically not a fanboy). If you're obsessed with the Star Wars universe, the story will likely be more interesting for you. The story is basically this (no spoiler): Darth Vader finds a hidden Jedi Knight and sends Starkiller (you, his secret apprentice) to kill them and bring back their lightsaber. Rinse. Repeat. There are some other bits thrown in here and there, but overall, that's the main story.
To be honest, I've played this game for about 8 hours and have yet to really notice the music. It's good enough to not be annoying, but not great enough to be truly noticed.
This gets an 8 because the sound effects themselves are very nicely done. Lightsabers sound like lightsabers, tie fighters have their signature whine as they buzz past, and plasters sound like they always have. The sound effects stay true to Star Wars with no major liberties taken to change them.
The game is good, but nothing spectacular. There are just too many glitches present to make it perfect, and it lacks anything entirely new. There is most likely nothing in this game that will make you sit there and go "wow, I'm in awe," but there's also very little (unless you're unlucky and the game gets glitch every five minutes) that will make you want to throw your controller across the room.
Rent or Buy: It Depends
If you're a huge Star Wars fan that plays all the games over and over, buy it, it won't disappoint you. There's replay value in it for those of you who enjoy playing on multiple difficulties, and even more for those gamers who like to get EVERYTHING in a game (there are a plethora of hidden items throughout the game).
If you're not a huge Star Wars fan, or if you aren't a huge fan of action games in general, rent it. You'll most likely enjoy the game. There is a lot to be said for just bouncing Stormtroopers off of walls and throwing people over cliffs, and the game has plenty of elements that are just plain fun.
This game is definitely not for everyone, and I hope that this review has helped a little. In the end you have to come up with your own opinion, and whatever you decide, may the force be with you...
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (US, 09/16/08)
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