A few years ago, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed came out and all Star Wars gaming fans were excited. It was one of the few Star Wars games that looked like it might very well contain a great story alongside all the of Jedi powers we have come to know and love as fans of the films. In the end, The Force Unleashed went on to become the biggest selling Star Wars game of all time despite numerous flaws, from platforming issues to repetitive gameplay. Now, here we are a few years later and it seems that little has changed in regards to the problems the first title showed.
The story picks up loosely from where it left off at the end of the first game. Your character, Starkiller, either died at the end of the last game and has now been cloned or he never died at all. Trying to find out if you are a clone is what the game's story has you trying to find out, as well as trying to take down Darth Vader and rescuing your loved one, Juno Eclipse.
Firstly, lets get some of the good points out of the way. Graphically the game is great looking. The character textures and animation on the whole are great, despite numerous clipping issues throughout the game where characters drop into scenery or lost their feet missing through the floor. The game also suffers from a number of slowdowns during some of the larger scenes, sometimes strangely dropping below 10 frames per second. The sound is also superb during the game, from the voice acting to all of the well-known music. The 5.1 surround sound is used to great effect too during the game with stormtroopers shouting out orders and screaming all around you.
The cutscenes are also great to look at, though for some reason there seems to be a lot less of them than there were in the first game. We will get to the length of the game later on in the review, as this is a major issue for The Force Unleashed 2.
The first level is based on the one from the demo, which sees you break out of Darth Vader's clutches. The level is longer than the demo version, which pretty much showed off what the entire game is like. I actually quite enjoyed the start of the game, being back in control of Starkiller and taking down stormtroopers with force lightening, throwing them off of ledges with force grip etc; it is a lot of fun. That is, until you realize that this is basically what the entire game is like throughout, with very little in the way of variety.
Taking on what I guess you could call big enemies such as AT-ST's requires you to either attack them directly or to rebound their missiles. You do this by blocking them with your lightsaber or by force gripping them out of the air and firing the projectiles back. Since this is quite easy to do, it tends to result in you standing a distance back and then doing this over and over until they are destroyed. You can also get close to them and start up a quick time event which has you press a sequence of buttons. My issue here is that the sequence of buttons is the same over and over for the same enemies each time and they are never difficult to pull off.
Platforming is a also mixed bag. Sometimes it can work perfectly, and other times it is just a frustrating experience. This gets very frustrating later in the game when falling off a platform will result in starting quite far back due to some dodgy level saving. The game also suffers from repetition not just in the gameplay department, but also from the enemies. You get the same basic enemies over and over again including the walkers. The environments look very similar too, which is a real shame considering just how good the game looks at times.
The story also doesn't seem to go anywhere. It doesn't end with any conclusion or any idea about what you were looking to find out in the game. It’s as if they forgot about the storyline somewhere along the way. This gets me on to what I feel is the worst part of the game, the games length. Don't get me wrong, a 6 hour game can be great, but this one I completed in just over 4 hours and I'm not even a fantastically talented gamer. This included all of the cutscenes and me sometimes just wandering around to take in the views. It feels as if Lucasarts' plan to pad the game out is by releasing lots of DLC in the future, something that as a gamer I'd be really annoyed about if it did happen.
So, as you may be able to tell, I'm not much of a fan of The Force Unleashed 2. It is far too easy to complete, the problems from the first game haven't been resolved, the story goes nowhere and the environments and enemies feel as if they are just rehashed over and over. As a sequel, the developers were supposed to improve what was good and fix what was broken. The Force just wasn't with them this time.