The Force Unleashed Ultimate Sith Edition
AMD Athlon X2 6000+
Star Wars has been quite the roller coaster ride as far as games are concerned. Not just games actually. Televisual standards have been a bit all over the place (cough Holiday Special cough) as well. This left a lot of people unsure exactly what to make of it, when Lucas Arts themselves (for a change) started working on a new one. This time boasting a fully canon storyline sanctioned, at penned, by Georgie boy himself. But after the incredible standards set by the Jedi Knight and Knights of the Old Republic franchises, how well does this latest iteration truly stand up?
After its release, The Force Unleashed still has many gamers, and fans, divided. Some tout it as a glorious return to form, noting that Lucas Arts rarely, if ever, produce anything beyond mediocre for games. That being, arguably, the whole reason so many of them were outsourced to other companies. But that is a discussion for another time.
I have the unenviable honour of standing somewhere between the two camps. Whilst the premise, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, intrigued me, it also left an extremely uncomfortable taste in my mouth. After the revelation that, despite everything we knew already, it was actually the Clone Army, not Vader himself, who wiped out the Jedi. Then being told Vader trained someone else...well, the former, at least, can be explained away as Imperial propaganda, to make the Dark Lord more intimidating. But Vader as a Master? I could never move past that.
I want my twenty bucks Leo!
Having said that, the opening scenes, where you play as Vader, and the cinematic where he actually takes the young Jedi Orphan under his wing. That resonated with me strongly. The cold, brutal logic of Vader’s actions actually sent a chill down my spine. That was the Vader we knew, this really was the Dark Lord of the Sith at his finest. This made the overwhelming disappointment of everything that came after all the more depressing.
The story is all over the place, relying, nay, revelling in it’s contrivance and plot convenience. Assaulting our sensibilities with some of the worst tropes available, shoving pretentiously profound dialogue down our throats so hard even the aftertaste leaves a bitter aftertaste and it’s a real shame too, considering the quality of most of the voice cast.
Matt Sloan, who I was already familiar with for his work on Chad Vader Day Shift Manager# (the project which actually lead to him being cast as Vader) is so good, even knowing it wasn’t James Earl Jones I still found myself wondering. Whilst Starkiller and General Kota have an incredible on screen chemistry, despite only offering their voices. For the most part they, and the rest of the cast, go a long way to offsetting the more groan worthy aspects of the plot. Sadly, the end result just makes it seem all the worse.
Talk to the hand, 'cause the Force ain't listening
The way the game plays doesn’t help either. For a game boasting to have “Unleashed” the Force, I expected far more abilities at my disposal than a bit of telekinesis, some lighting and spamming the crap out of the same sabre combo over and over. Sure, ripping a Star Destroyer out of the sky with the Force looks good, but it’s still just more telekinesis at the end of the day. It is really, really bloody cool though. If only the TK (telekinesis) was a little more reliable, and would actually target the right thing. Instead of apparently misfiring and draining all my Force energy. After seeing Starkiller stand there like a lemon, holding his hand up in the air, for nothing to happen a dozen times, it becomes extremely tiresome.
The audio, on the other hand, is extremely good. The lightsabres (I'm English ~_~) sound like, well, lightsabres, blaster fire is suitably reverberant, the scream of TIE fighter engines overhead shrill and piercing. Strong (with the Force) too are the incidental sounds. The creaking of metal, shattering glass, static buzz of force fields are all extremely atmospheric. However, the music, good as it, does become repetitive, and overpowering, far too quickly.
And don’t even get me started on the visuals. It’s not a terrible looking game, though it does have low resolution textures everywhere. Despite being a console port, it isn’t all that terrible. It’s just lazy, seriously lazy. There is one, I kid you not, only one graphical option, high resolution detail on or off. Considering it makes absolutely no difference, whatsoever, regardless of your chosen resolution, one would question why there was even a need to offer the option in the first place.
Fluent in over six million forms of beat yo ass
Even the added “bonus” of the two, pointless, DLC packs that were released separately for the console version, does nothing to make the game more enjoyable. In fact, if anything, they make it seem like more of a chore. Add on top of this, extremely cheap enemies, who often ignore or are outright immune to certain attacks, and you have yourself the poster child for how to not make a game.
All in all, I couldn’t really call it a bad game. Many other people have, and I fully understand why. But it isn’t terrible. There are far worse games you could be playing. But that’s the problem. There are also far better. It suffers the fate of being nothing more than bland. It’s just sort of..there. Standing out for no other reason than that it exists in the first place.
- Likeable Protagonist: Starkiller is a silly idea, but a well implemented one
- Very strong voice acting: Apart from Juno, who irritates me in her blandness, the rest of the cast is top notch
- Varied Environments: There's a good mix, but they're a bit dull
- Console port: Not a bad one, just very, very, very lazy
- Dull plot: A classic example of a wasted opportunity
- Patronising dialogue: Frankly, it just takes itself too seriously