Star Wars: the Force Unleashed 2

Following up on the success of Star Wars the Force Unleashed, the best-selling Star Wars game in history, was no easy task. The talented programmers and artists at LucasArts set out to create the ultimate Star Wars experience for gamers and fans alike and have crafted a visually impressive follow-up. After much anticipation and hype Star Wars the Force Unleashed II has arrived for both PC and console gamers and looks to continue this success of the first game.

The story follows a Jedi named Starkiller who may or may not be a clone of the character from the first game. After a spectacular escape and battle from Darth Vader on Kamino, Starkiller must travel the galaxy in an effort to save General Koto and find his true love Juno. Along the way he will travel to numerous locales and encounter a variety of deadly opponents all of whom stand between him and the completion of his goals. Haunted by visions he cannot explain Starkiller must confront his own growing identity crisis as he finds himself deep in a plot that has the entire fate of the galaxy hanging in the balance.

Players have a large arsenal of force abilities at their disposal, ranging from force lightning, force push, jumping and glide abilities, and of course the signature light sabers. As in the first game players will have the ability to customize and upgrade their force powers along the way to make them more effective they will also have the ability to adjust everything from their clothing to the colors of their light sabers.

The action is intense and the visuals are absolutely amazing from the incredible animation and from the epic space battle scenes, Star Wars the Force Unleashed II is truly an artistic beauty to behold and offers plenty for Star Wars fans. While some may grow tired of the constant battles against war droids, nameless storm troopers and other minions, the ability to decimate your enemies with a barrage of light saber blows and finish them off with a blast of lightning before shoving them over the edge with a good nudge from the force is should keeps fans entertained for a long time.

I found myself really enjoying the story of this game as well as the characters and the complexity of the hero not knowing his true origins and motivations. As I mentioned before, the action was absolutely intense and I took great delight as a long-term fan of Star Wars and being able to unleash a full range attacks on everything from Walker’s two ships to the numerous enemies that were thrown against me and a handful of exotic Star Wars locales. The sound graphics and action, as well as the story of the game, were absolutely first rate and everything Star Wars fan could hope for.

Unfortunately the game has a couple of major flaws that, for many, are going to be a serious hindrance to the game. One of the biggest flaws is that the game is barely 5 to 6 hours long. The original game offered at least 12 hours of gameplay, while this one could easily be resolved in half that time, and without any multi-play, it does not offer much in the way of value for the $59.99 suggested retail price for console versions of the game.

Another issue I had with the game is that many of the enemies were extremely generic. And while the game does a great job in presenting numerous opponents to you, after a while it became almost routine to use these series of simple tactics to dispatch the enemies who did not present any real challenge. This is not to say there are not some hard parts in the game. There are. But by and large, the typical approach that the game employed was to surround you with enemies and have them close in on you, which gave you an opportunity to destroy numerous faceless minions.

Another issue I had with the game was that as you approach the climactic confrontation with Darth Vader, the game required you to do a series of timed jumps which, if unsuccessful, resulted in your character falling to his death and having to restart from a previous check point.

I found this highly frustrating as it destroyed the momentum of the game which had been gearing up to an epic pace. If I want to spend my afternoons jumping from platform to platform and watching the character fall, only to redo it over and over again until successful, I would’ve whipped out the Nintendo Wii and played an old game of Mario or something along that line from an old side scrolling action game.

Thankfully, when I was able to complete the task and face Vader ina a climactic battle, it was as epic as anything in the game and was certainly highly enjoyable. A prolonged battle that was a fury of color, sound and power truly lived up to the game title.

As with the previous game, players are given the choice between a light side and a dark side ending. While the light side ending is the preferred outcome to the game, the dark side ending does offer gamers a different view of the game with a completely different outcome.

The game was impressive and a lot of fun from an action standpoint but the tremendously short gameplay was a real letdown, as was the lack of any form of multi-play or co-op play in the game. I have noticed that several players have cited the very short game time is a major concern with the game. This is an issue that I believe developers must address, especially when you are asking customers to lay down their hard-earned money, especially in troubled economic times.

Consumers should have a better idea of what they are getting. Toward that end, I propose that gaming companies should disclose on their packaging what the average play time for the game is, so that consumers can make an informed decision. (Skewed & Reviewed was at the forefront of calling for film studios to disclose whether or not a movie was filmed in 3-D or converted to 3-D in postproduction. Several filmmakers ranging from James Cameron to Michael Bay have taken up the fight and recently, while watching a bevy of trailers of 3-D films it was nice to see that one of them disclosed that the film was actually shot in 3-D while the other simply touted their offerings as a 3-D film.)

In conclusion, while an impressive action game, The Force Unleashed 2 fails to reach it’s true potential thanks in part to short gameplay and some frustrating sequences that, when combined with run-of-the-mill enemies, keeps the game from reaching its five-star potential.

3.5 out of 5 stars