Scheduled release date:
September 16th, 2008


There once was a time when most Star Wars games just weren't any good. There were the occasional blips on the radar ages ago, but the majority of Star Wars videogames weren't received very well; some in fact, have appeared in "Worst Ever" lists, such as Masters of Teras Kasi.  Thankfully, the PlayStation 2, GameCube, and especially the Xbox, have given us some of the finest Star Wars games, such as the Rogue Squadron games (GameCube), Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox), and the Starfighter games (PlayStation 2). We also have the very cool Lego Star Wars franchise, which may not be everyone's cup of tea, but they're still pretty solid.

Now there's the much anticipated Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, a game that prides itself on utilizing multiple engines to perform a number of different tasks. We detailed those engines in our hands-off preview, but now we're going hands-on with this all new Star Wars and our feelings are mixed. There's a ton of potential, but something's missing…

Off the bat, it's worthy to mention that Force Unleashed is not a bad game. On the other hand, it's a rather decent Star Wars title. It boasts some pretty impressive gameplay mechanics that really make you feel like you're part of the dark side, or that you really are part of the Star Wars universe. Having force powers such as the ability to Force Grip, Force Lightning, Force Dash, and Force Push is what Star Wars games should've had long ago.

These abilities allow your character, the Apprentice, to feel like a proper and complete fighter. Star Wars fans should know what these abilities do, but in case you need a crash course: the Force Grip is the same telekinetic move that Darth Vader has, allowing the player to grab objects or people. You'll be able to use the Force Grip to pick up and throw objects, enemies, open doors, and so on. Force Lightning is precisely as it sounds, it allows the player to expel a wave of lightning as an attack. The Force Push allows the player to release a burst of energy as an attack, or as a means of breaking down obstacles. Lastly, the Force Dash is a simple quick burst of speed forwards.

When you're not using your limited Force powers, you'll largely engage in melee combat with your Light Saber. The Light Saber allows for various combos, which you'll be able to gain more of as the game continues, and will be your primary means of recourse. When you've got the combat abilities down and actually begin to engage, things don't seem to hold up quite as well as expected.

For one, the first immediate problem I noticed is that if you're using the Force Grip, you can't move your player. It'd have been nice for LucasArts to at least let you walk slowly, otherwise, you end up a sitting duck for attacks from all around you. Second, melee combat doesn't feel fluid; going back and forth between Devil May Cry and Force Unleashed makes that much more apparent. You simply never feel like you're in total control over your character, as the actions feel sloppy, lacking precision and fluidity.

Third, the Force Grip can exhibit some annoying issues, as sometimes it doesn't catch the object you're targeting. I often found myself having to press the R2 button numerous times until the Apprentice finally gripped the object – and this occurs even if the reticle is highlighting said object. Fourth, there are collision detection issues; for example, I could use the Force Push to blow the door open, the opening I've created is obviously large enough to get through, but you won't be able to, requiring you to perform another shot.

If you can overlook these issues, Star Wars: Force Unleashed can still be an enjoyable game. It won't win any prizes, but it does feel satisfying enough to be considered a decent Star Wars game. Throughout the game, your experience will help earn upgrades for your character, granting him new abilities and moves, so you aren't stuck with the same range of attacks.

Visually, Force Unleashed is a good looking title with a very clean picture. The framerate doesn't stutter, and the 720p resolution looks solid, thanks to good use of anti-aliasing, and quality texture work. Lighting is well done, as reflections and eye-candy are nearly everywhere you look. Additionally, stages have a very proper Star Wars look and feel, by sporting the necessary epic qualities.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is set to arrive September 16th in the 'States, and two days later worldwide. There's a demo up on the PlayStation Network, check it out and see if you think this one will be worth your time and money. Stay posted for our review.

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Reccaman18
Reccaman18
12 years ago

I thought the demo was really good. I've always been a Star Wars nut, and I simply cant wait for this game to hit shelves. I agree that the melee doesnt feel quite right, but all the other great things the game does makes it almost unnoticeable.

Qubex
Qubex
12 years ago

Hmmm… I felt similarly to Arnold… the controls felt clumsy at times. The graphics and physics engine is solid, but I feel I could tire after a while… I will stick to the genres I like FPS and racing games more than others!

Q!

"aLL RoAdS LeAd ToO HoMe"

LightShow
LightShow
12 years ago

im sooooooo addicted to the demo

words cannot describe how satisfying it is to be able to just throw enemies

fatchad420
fatchad420
12 years ago

It feels like i haven't read any juicy game info in weeks :/

im4vivisection
im4vivisection
12 years ago

I think the game in its entirety, will deliver. But, as far as the demo goes, i did notice the lacking hit detection and faulty responses but what mostly got me was the length of the demo. They had previously mentioned the demo level was specially made to "show off" the game but I didn't see that great of effort put into it. But going back, the demo is just that…a demo, meaning carelessly over looked things like faulty hit detection and even a bit too poor AI could all be polshed up by now, but I guess we won't know until September 16th and as a huge Star Wars fan I will proudly say I'm definately picking up this title and kudos to all that do too!

BigT_1980
BigT_1980
12 years ago

I am a fan of the Star Wars serious well at least a fan of episodes IV, V, and VI. I played the demo twice and I felt the game was rushed and it didn't feel like a game that had the finishing touches to it. It is really too bad this demo represents the final product. Maybe they will release patches to correct the hit detection issues. But I really don't see myself buying this game anyways. Well at least real Star Wars fanatics will have an IP that doesn't butcher the serious like some previous Star Wars installments.

ArnoldK PSXE
ArnoldK PSXE
12 years ago

To be honest, this write-up is not based solely on the demo, but also the nearly done build LucasArts had at E3.

Jizmack
Jizmack
12 years ago

I am also a fan of star wars… The movies of star wars. Any knock off dont cut it, and i havent seen a game try to let u play through the story except for lego star wars. And that game is retarted.☺ yeah u heard me.. retarted.

NiteKrawler
NiteKrawler
12 years ago

Sorry…did you mean to misspell "retarded"?

Roosveltboy
Roosveltboy
12 years ago

hey arnold do u know if the game supports trophies because im addicted to them ever since uncharted.

BeezleDrop
BeezleDrop
12 years ago

Renting this game would appear to be a wise decision. It does look pretty good. I cant quite figure out whats lacking on this title.

LowKii
LowKii
12 years ago

well what ever it is lacking, it'll keep me busy 'till God of War 3 releases. I'm not a Star Wars "nut" but i did like star wars jedi academy. soo ya I can't wait for Force Unleashed.

Schmitty
Schmitty
12 years ago

im definatley picking it up. and is the battlefront series considered bad… i had a lot of fun with them but it was awhile ago so my judgement was completley biased cause it was star wars

AntDC
AntDC
12 years ago

I liked Battlefront Schmitty, but by the time Battlefront 2 came along, I was over it.