Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Force Unleashed - Finally!

I bought “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II” about a month ago, but could never play it, because all in a sudden not just this game, but also its predecessor had developed a serious graphics glitch. Now, out of the blue, everything is back to normal (for the moment) and I immediately grabbed the chance to play through the game (before my computer decided to go back to this glitch).

At the end of the first game, there’s not exactly a high chance of the main character, Starkiller, coming back for more. If you choose the good end, the guy’s dead, if you choose the bad end, he’s replaced Darth Vader (and my “Ultimate Sith Edition” offers two interesting stories of what might have gone different – the first ending with Obi-Wan dying a bit earlier, the second ending with Luke Skywalker as a Sith apprentice at Starkiller’s side). But, hey, what’s cloning for? Sequels, that’s what.

I’ve had a lot of time to read about the game after I bought it, but before I could buy it, and now I’m ready to add my own two cent to it.

The gameplay works very much like in the first game – no problem there, apart for the fuzzy Force control (but once you’ve learned it, you’ll hit your target in 90% of all cases). The characters are well-known for most parts, they look a bit better in the cutscenes (no surprise here, CGI movies get better and better, don’t they) and most of the abilities are also back.

Story was one of the strong points of the first game. It was motivating (even with the ‘pull down the star destroyer with the force’ part in level 8) and highly interesting. From the moment Darth Vader picked up his future apprentice (on the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk) to the final decision of whether to be good or bad (I did not, just to make this crystal clear, choose the ‘good’ end, because I wholeheartedly felt like it, but because after one fight with Darth Vader I thought the Emperor himself the easier opponent – and I was right, too).

Story is one of the weak points of the second game – which is strange, considering there’s quite a long novel to the game. But what the novel tells (the meandering paths of both Starkiller … or his clone? … and Juno Eclipse, the love of his … former? … life) is omitted from the game. The cutscenes tell a story, too, but it’s neither as logical nor as complete as the one in the novel. While playing the game, I could add my knowledge of what else had happened to the scenes and thus make it ‘complete’. Without knowledge of the novel, I would have found the story rather thin.

The game is rather short, too … only five levels (albeit four of them are quite long – the Dagobah mission is very short, but features my favourite retired jedi … Yoda, of course). You can, with a bit of luck (and less falling than me) get through the whole game in five hours. But it will be five nice hours, at least, filled with killing stormtroopers, killing Sith apprentices, destroying walkers of various kinds (ATSTs and a few huge droids), killing more stormtroopers, killing Starkiller clones, defeating a monster, a spider droid and finally Darth Vader himself, of course. Tough luck for a Sith Lord to end up as a prisoner of the Rebellion…

I also have to say Darth Vader has been in better shape before, the fight against him on the Death Star in the first game was far more difficult than the fight this time (despite this fight being longer).

And I have to admit that Starkiller’s style of holding his lightsabers (yup, two of ‘em) with the blades pointing backwards looks a bit strange. (And here the useless piece of Star Wars history: Originally, George Lucas wanted to name the hero of his movie[s] not Skywalker, but Starkiller.)

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