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A late examination of The Force Unleashed (by a Star Wars fan)


Having been warned off Star Wars: The Force Unleashed by pretty much everyone in the office, it took a little while before I could be bothered to check it out. Even now, it’s pretty low on the extensive list of games that I really want to play, but given that I went all the way to LucasArts in San Francisco to get a first hands-on with it, earlier in the year (great cafeteria, by the way), I figured I had to give The Force Unleashed a go.

It also helps that I’ve been watching the prequel trilogy over the past two weeks. Episode I (three stars), Episode II (two stars) and Episode III (four stars) are flawed movies, all, but I thought the combination of watching them and playing the game would work out quite nicely – loads of people claimed that The Force Unleashed was Episode III.5. Slightly lame, but it’s the best way of describing it in a review, I suppose.

I’m not convinced that The Force Unleashed justifies that title, having played through the first four chapters. Darth Vader is clearly voiced by someone who isn’t James Earl Jones, and all of his dialogue is quite clunky – odd, considering that the Secret Apprentice/Proxy stuff is really funny (Juno Eclipse, the game’s imperial eye candy, is merely irritating).

I interviewed the game’s producer, Julio Torres, earlier in the year, who reminded me that Star Wars is 20 per cent comedy. I never really picked up on this, but upon re-examining the saga, he was probably right. If that is the case, then The Force Unleashed is easily retaining that 20 per cent. It’s a funny game. Actually, if it weren’t for the cut-scenes, I almost definitely would’ve stopped playing by now. I’m so sick of Force Pushing doors open and overcoming that terrible lock-on system. The Force Unleashed clearly needed a few more months of testing to iron out its fairly angering combat.

I’ll play through the whole thing; people speak of a moment in the story that somehow ‘connects’ the two sagas, incentive enough for me to go ahead and battle through all the terrible QTEs and dogmatic-meets-boring-retard Jedi remnants.

I commend it for using the Star Wars licence so effectively. LucasArts is squeaking out games at snail’s pace, at the moment, a shame given that I’m dying for another Battlefront game, Jedi Knight instalment and its in-house Indy title.

You can get The Force Unleashed from Play.com for a cut price £17.99 on the PS3. That’s what I did. Hell, it may even encourage me to buy the Jedi Temple level off the PlayStation Store, despite its £7.99 price tag being one of the most bloated fees ever associated with a poor third-person action game.

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