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Star Wars the Forced Unleashed PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 7.7
Graphics 8.5
Sound 8.5
Value 7.8
Distributor: Activision
Review Date:
September 2008
Edwin Millheim


Star Wars the Force Unleashed
Available for PS3 and Xbox 360, PS2,  PSP &  Wii

Lucas Arts is good at bringing some punch to story lines. They do a very good job at bringing an interesting story with drama, passive humor, romance and sacrifice and of course the sinfully, or should that be sithfully? Fun of using the force in ways we have seen only hinted at in past games. The new game really brings it forth in such a way that makes it a fun game, but it's a game that seems to be almost a parallel of what could have been the Luke Skywalker character had Vader found him at a younger age. Interestingly enough the main character is called StarKiller, perhaps a nod to George Lucas's early concepts for the Luke Character, because he originally was called StarKiller and Not Skywalker. The story, created under direction from George Lucas, is set during the era between Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. In it, players assist Darth Vader in his quest to rid the universe of Jedi.


  • During the period between Episodes III and IV, players hunt Jedi in the role of Darth Vader's Secret Apprentice.
  • Unleash and upgrade the Secret Apprentice's four core Force powers - Force push, grip, repulse and lightning - throughout the course of the game, and combine them for ultra-destructive, never-before-seen combos.
  • Examples of unleashing the Force in ways never thought possible:
    • The Secret Apprentice won't just Force push enemies into walls - he'll Force push enemies through walls.
    • The Secret Apprentice won't just Force grip foes to throw them aside - he'll Force grip them in midair, zap them with lightning, then drop them to the ground to explode like a bomb.
  • In addition to new adversaries created just for the game, such as fugitive Jedi and Force-sensitive Felucians, players will also confront and associate with familiar faces from the Star Wars films, including Darth Vader.

The Force Unleashed makes use of a newly developed technologies by Digital Molecular Matter (DMM), by Pixelux Entertainment, and euphoria by NaturalMotion Ltd. Paired with the powerful Havok Physics™ system, these new technologies create some rather memorable game play experiences. Boss fights are won in the end by hitting the correct button sequences. Taking out AT-ATs is done the same way, after knocking their health bars down of course. Then you are treated to a pre-animated kind of cut scene sequence, it is too bad that those cut scenes repeat themselves each time. It would have been nice to have a couple more eye candy sequences to show us the power of the Force. The new technology makes for some awesome destructive environments none the less. With parts of ship bulk heads to be ripped out of the wall and thrown at enemy. Windows can be smashed and it all sounds and looks oh so spectacular.

The game opens up with the usual fan fare music and marching text that fills you in on what is going on. Starting out, the first mission that lets the player play as Darth Vader, to perhaps get a feel for what force abilities are to come. Therefore, the story goes forth and the player heads into another Saga of the Star Wars Universe.

So ok, here is where The Force Unleashed seems to become a victim of some inconsistent and sometimes frustrating gaming. While it is an absolute thrill to weald the power of the force, the targeting in a free for all with debris and enemy all around makes it frustrating because you tend to lock onto the wrong thing more times than not. Frustrating sometimes, but it can be forgiven. Especially when you get to see how some of the targeted enemy react when you force grip them and have them flop around like a captured fish. They will in desperation grab onto what ever is available to try to pull themselves from your force grip. It's very amusing when you lift an enemy to a high cat walk say for instance and then lightly let them go, they will sometimes hang on for dear life up there until you take them out or they fall. Double thumbs up for the physics engine, because it is just plain fun to use those force powers and dish out the massive destruction that is part of this game. When up on a suspension bridge and fighting enemy, try slashing the support cables with your light saber and watch the fun! That being said it does tend to be easier on the lower difficulty level, the game is very forgiving. Crank up the game play to a higher difficulty level and the enemies tend to be a lot tougher. The higher difficulty levels may actually stretch the game play out a bit, but playing at the lowest and the highest the game still seems to be really, really short. First go around it took me maybe 10 hours, and that was taking my time and exploring a tiny bit. Second go round seemed to stretch things out a couple extra hours, the enemy such as the Dark troopers where especially difficult at higher difficulty settings.

The game has a few twists and turns in the story line that do in fact give some jaw dropping holy crap moments. The clever introduction of the main characters Droid, who also doubles as a two-way communications droid in a rather unique way, paves a path to some rather thrilling fight sequences. The droid uses holographic images over itself as part of its programming and is able to take on the persona and abilities of some beings in its memory banks. Including fighting and simulating somehow force abilities. Therefore, there are plenty of lightsaber slashing moments with over the top action to be had.

Through out the game there are chances to upgrade things such as Core Force Powers, and even your Light Saber crystal. Upgrading the light saber crystal can offer some extra bonuses such as extra damage and the like, so it is not just for show. Through out the levels there are items called Holocrons. There are two types, Jedi and Sith. Both have something to offer, either immediately or later during upgrades in your characters abilities. The Jedi Holocrons have rewards such as Force Spheres, and Force Points, Color and power crystals for your litesaber. New Costumes and they also refill health and energy. Sith Holocrons bestow massive power for a short time, these come in handy especially invincibility, increased damage, infinite energy and life siphoning which is my favorite.

For all of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed incredible game play, there is not a huge amount of replay value here. The game has its moments, shining, wide-eyed like that feeling when first introduced to those far off galaxies and adventures bigger than life. While the game limps on at times with a lot of linear game play that seems to play a far second to the story itself. Once around? Twice around, maybe, unless you are a hard core StarWars fan, (And who isn't?) this one may not stay in your collection for too long.

Have fun, play games
Edwin Millheim


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