The sequel to the best-selling Star Wars game ever promised to address the criticism of its predecessor and go one step further in the next chapter of the blockbuster Star Wars franchise. Did it live up to the hype?
Credits & Solicit Info:
Platform: PS3, 360, Wii, DS, PC, iOS,
Developer: LucasArts (PS3, 360), Aspyr Media, (PC) Red Fly Studio (Wii)
Genre: Third-Person Action
Release date: October 26 2010
Reviewed on: PS3
From the very first level, the presentation of The Force Unleashed II immediately fills you with hope that this will be a game as epic as the movies or be this Gen's Dark Forces II: Beautiful graphics, fluid animation, incredibly detailed backdrops. Appearances can be so cruel when they utterly deceive you.
For those of you that remember the first game, it was praised as an ambitious attempt to create a game that lets the player go balls off the wall nuts with the Star Wars Universe's patented Force. Unfortunately I found the game's mechanics to be clunky from the limited enemy types and a level-up system that was rendered utterly useless thanks to the games later enemies basically negating any and all benefits you got from these upgrades. And then there was the frustrating Star Destroyer level that totally killed any amusement from completing that task due to the game making it up to a half hour repetitive chore in the higher difficulties. The Force Unleashed 1 totally defined a game that tried so hard yet to hit the mark but kept missing the board entirely.
And now we come to The Force Unleashed II. While the game was in production, Lucasarts made a pretty big deal about listening to the customers and how all our negative feedback would be taken into account and all our concerns would be corrected...thus we now come to the latest installment in the Starkiller saga. Though this time we play as a clone of the original, who as you know died in the finale of the previous game. Don't go expecting a story as epic in scale as the last game however, this is an extremely short game...roughly a third in length of FU1, and the story pacing seems very rushed. After a frantic escape from Vader in the first level the story just flounders by jumping from one level to the other in new settings so suddenly it's jarring. Hell, Boba Fett is in the story to the point of you chasing him for a while one level and you don't even fight him, not event in a cutscene. He just simply is there in the shadows lurking with all this foreboding and in the end he barely plays a minor role. The downward spiral of the story in this game is a big step down from the first game which makes my disappointment compounded even further since that was the strongest point of FU1.
The gameplay remains pretty similar to the last installment, a hack-and-slash with Force powers except this time you also have dual sabers and the added novelty of your attacks dismembering your opponents (minus the blood of course, this is Star Wars, not God of War after all :P ). There is also a much bigger range of enemies this time around that all require different strategies to take down...but just like the first game after a while it gets repetitive to the point where its rinse and repeat just like in the first game.
The Force powers remain the same for the most part with some minor tweaking except this time you have another move in your arsenal: Mind Trick. This won't just make enemies believe those aren't the droids they're looking for: it helps you turn enemies on their allies (perfect if there's a controllable heavy around to turn on their poor little squad) and sometimes even drives them nuts enough to jump off balconies to their deaths in some instances.
Furthermore, in the first game every level-up added to your Force powers significantly. This time around, you start off as pretty damn powerful from the get-go to the point where you can mow through almost anyone with ease thanks to the Force provided you know what you're doing on the regular difficulty setting. Where the previous installment was frustrating based on how leveling up got negated by similarly overpowered enemy defensive capabilities, the opposite has happened how.
Level design was also a big disappointment. After getting some great visuals at some points of the levels, most unfortunately are as repetitive as the combat gets. At in almost every level you can go through the same room, corridor, outdoor area 3-4 times with everything looking the same. Gets terribly dull till you hit the next level with new scenery and then bam the same problem hits.
In summary, to say I'm disappointed is an understatement. I've played every Star Wars game from Rebel Assault right through to the Force Unleashed II now. Heck I even bought Yoda Stories, that's how much I loved almost everything Lucasarts did. After being impressed enough by FU1's story and Lucasarts promises of a reworked combat system, I was hoping that I'd have finally gotten a Star Wars game that would reignite the fan in me from back in the days of the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series. While the tweaks to the combat system were badly needed, gameplay remains as repetitively frustrating as ever despite minor improvements. The rushed, incredibly short story and recycled level designs to go with the gameplay really killed whatever else the game had to offer for me.
There also seems to be room for a third game in the series...I just hope Lucasarts gets their act together because this game felt like a cash grab that had minimal effort put into it by certain departments.
Replay Value: 5.5
Review by: fieldy snuts