Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Set on the other side of the battle, this is the perspective of the “bad guys”, also known as the Sith. Darth Vader, and his apprentice, “Starkiller” venture on to puff out the small flame that’s left of the Jedi. Straight away, you are thrown into a battle scene on Kashyyyk. Fighting Wookies, this part of the game seems to not only be a form of a tutorial, but a way to get you locked into your interest in this game, as well as starting the story. As soon as I got into the game, by figuring out what I can do, I force pushed one of my storm troopers so hard he smashed into a wall, and then bounced off into the sky, as the camera followed for emphasis. This was extremely satisfying, and straight away got me interested in the rest of the game. At the end of this mission you find that Starkiller was the son of a Rogue Jedi, and was very sensitive in the force. Vader takes the boy in, as his own.
To start off, I will begin by addressing the start-up menus. On launch of the game, you are greeted with a launcher, which prompts you to input what setup you would like the game to be. The choices here are quite limited. The options you are allowed to tinker with, would start with the Video/Controller section. This section asks you to input the resolution, which was defaulted to my native resolution 1920 x 1080. Next it asks for what kind of input device you are going to use with the game. An xbox 360 controller gave me a lot of in-game control issues, so I stuck with a keyboard and mouse. Then after that, you are given ONE tick box, “High Detail”. Clearly this implies that you can only have two graphical options, “High Detail” mode, and what I’d assume is “Low Detail” mode. This is very limited, in fact, too limited, as a lot of PC gamers would rather an in-depth option to choose each graphical feature. To move on to the next sections, that would be Movement and Combat. These two sections list the key bindings for every button input. These can be changed before the main game opens. You are then also given a “Defaults” option, which sets them all to the default options. The launcher is a benefit, as it avoids your game lagging if your settings are too high, to the point where it lags too much to change these settings.
To move on, I will now address the graphics of the game. For its time, the graphics are actually really nice. They’ve seemed to handle optimization pretty well, preserving higher detail in models which have a lower poly count, but this is expected in games. The particle effects are nice, and so are the models when they are broken/destroyed. The graphics cater to the destructive nature of the game, which is very great to see. The force push has a very satisfying style to it, and so does other force abilities. Makes it much more satisfying when you use it to crush, or push away your enemies.
The gameplay of the game is extremely fun to play. As I stated with the graphics, the effects really make it a lot more awesome. But what really impressed me, is the ability to work with your environment nearly all of the time. You can bend certain environment features, you can throw almost everything in the room, and you can even pull parts from walls to help aid your fight. What is really satisfying, is the ability to force push your way through doors. The way they crumble outwards, depending on how powerful your force push skill is, really made a difference. Another feature of the gameplay that really stood out, was the fact that you could just kill the people who are aiding you, also. I found myself killing storm troopers AND the enemies. It was fun, and let’s be honest, you’re a Sith! You SHOULD be able to do that. Reminds me of Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic, where you would join the Sith. While doing your trials in KOTOR, it was basically suggested and recommended to use force to get rid of the other people doing trials. The ability to kill your NPC allies makes it a lot more evil, and in turn, fun. In The Force Unleashed, you are able to spend points into your force abilities, which is a nice touch.
I chose to play the game on the hardest difficulty you could do, to start with. This difficulty wasn’t the hardest altogether, and I assume to unlock the hardest you have to beat the game on a hard difficulty. Even as it is, the game is actually pretty hard to play on the difficulty I chose. Although that’s the case, it made me step up my game and actually plan what to do next. It was fun to know that I could actually die pretty easily, so I worked a lot harder.
Even though the game itself for the difficulty I chose was pretty hard, the UI and the way you navigate the game isn’t. When you get to the main menu of the game, you are greeted with a simple scroll left to right set of options, the likes of which are starting a new game, or continuing your game, checking the options etc. These were all very user-friendly, although, like I mentioned earlier, the Options are very lackluster. The in-game options are only for the Audio and Sound volume sliders. You can pick the Extras menu option, and that will bring you to a screen that gives you Cinematics, Art Viewer and Credits. These are quite interesting, as for example I am pretty interested in the Art of the game. Some other cool features of this game are the Lightsaber customization and the chance to change skins.
I came across a few issues, while playing this game. One issue would be when it comes to tabbing in and out, sometimes, it won’t tab back in properly, and lock you in a state where it thinks you’re tabbed in, but does not let you tab out, which then lead to me having to awkwardly navigate Task Manager with my arrow keys, to close down the game. I only came across this issue once. Another issue would be the one I mentioned earlier. Controllers aren’t very suited for this game, and even Steam Big Picture mode warns you for this. I found that when controlling something with the force, it doesn’t actually let you move the object about with both analogue sticks. This is unfortunate, as I wanted to play with a controller, to be more relaxed. I had no issues when I switched to keyboard and mouse.
To conclude this game, it’s a very great perspective on another side of the battle. I enjoy the game play very much, and I feel like anyone who is a fan of Star Wars would enjoy this game also. It’s very destructive, and extremely satisfying to play. I would give this game an 8/10 based on nostalgia, the game play and how satisfying it is to unleash havoc.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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