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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Box Art
GENRE
Action Adventure
DEVELOPER
Krome Studios
PUBLISHER
Lucas Arts
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
1-2
WI-FI ENHANCED
No
DS COMPATIBLE
No
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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Two decades have passed since the Star Wars franchise dropped out of hyperspace and into the public’s hearts. Even though the series may be old, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed showcases new [Jedi] tricks with Wii remote integration, physics-heavy environments and a storyline that bridges the two trilogies. As such, players pick up the lightsaber of a Secret Apprentice to Darth Vader with the purpose of exterminating the remaining Jedi throughout the galaxy. The plot serves as the propeller for a straightforward action game that attempts to fully explore force powers and lightsaber mayhem.

visuals

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed originated as a PS3/Xbox 360 title before spawning off into a PS2/Wii port. This fact becomes painfully obvious through the graphics, as the title showcases strengths and weaknesses through the visual down-scale.

The Force is particularly strong with the framerate and location interactivity. Players will not experience one dropped frame, even with a plethora of stormtroopers surrounding you. In addition, the Secret Apprentice can manipulate almost any object within the environments. The cut-scenes, though, show some bad clipping, particularly after boss battles, that take players out of the experience. At one point, a box covered the apprentice during a vital cut-scene, with only the top of his head showing.

The characters and environments reveal a jumble of striking and unpleasant visuals. Darth Vader and new droid Proxy illustrate good detail, with Vader’s cape dragging behind each step. The Secret Apprentice, however, comes across rather bland because his face features were not able to make fully the transition to Wii. Planets like Felucia demonstrate disgusting amounts of graphical pop-in, while latter levels like Cloud City sport crisp white rooms. The visuals, in a lot of cases, needed more polish after converting to Wii.

audio

The voice acting is well done and leads way to more diverse characters, with stand-outs delivered for the Secret Apprentice and Proxy. Disappointingly, Darth Vader suffers through the absence of James Earl Jones, and another original trilogy character sounds nothing like their former self. The soundtrack plays it safe and mainly stays within the confines of the movies.

gameplay

Developer Krome Studios nails implementing Wii remote controls, vital to the success of the game. Players can go up and down, left or right, and even stab with the Wii remote. These maneuvers translate accordingly on-screen, giving players tight control over the apprentice’s lightsaber moves. As for Force powers, players take advantage of the nunchuck, with an easy thrust downward to utilize force push. More complex moves, including lightsaber duels, require precision from both controllers and work amazingly well.

As for game design, a bad feeling starts to gradually sink in. Big, sprawling levels sound good on paper, but grow very repetitive within Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Areas continually unveil more stormtroopers or rebels without any variety. We wish locations were more focused, such as the Jedi Temple stages, and some other play mechanics were explored. To top it off, the boss battles can be downright broken. The fights boil down to a run and electrocute strategy, whether you fight an AT-ST or Rancor. Players can also be as reckless as they want, as dying has no consequence. The Secret Apprentice automatically respawns, even in final showdowns.

The action is wrapped up with an intriguing tale that explores the void of the two trilogies. Gamers will gain greater understanding of the origins of the Rebel Alliance and will witness the development of the Emperor Palpatine's dominance over the galaxy. The material [sanctioned by George Lucas] fits well, although the game stretches movie continuity at times and also suffers from some unnecessary cheesiness.

multiplayer

Krome Studios implemented a multiplayer feature, exclusive to Wii, for two-player havoc. Just like it sounds, the game design is more shallow and fast-paced fun than a traditional fighting game. Most of our matches ended with lots of waggle and quick deaths. On a surprising note, the multiplayer visuals improve upon the story mode. The character models sport more detail and the environments contain better effects and visuals. The Bespin stage, for example, displays splendid orange lighting that sparks memories of the classic battle from The Emperor Strikes Back.

overall

The Force defintely fluctuates with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. The visuals reveal sore spots from the transition to Wii, and the enormous environments can be repetitive. This version, however, also includes excellent Wii remote controls courtesy of Krome Studios. The ability to easily control your lightsaber adds a nice bonus to the gameplay. The story also shines by divulging further details of the Star Wars universe, including popular characters from both trilogies. Thus, like the game’s story, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed falls into a nice medium between both trilogies critically. It delivers a solid, but not spectacular, experience.



final score 7.5/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Evan Campbell
Staff Profile | Email
"Real men don't fight — they sing!"


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