Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II - PS3

Two years ago, LucasArts released probably the best Star Wars video game to date, a tale taking place shortly before A New Hope following Vader's secret apprentice, Starkiller, as he resists his master and helps the early days of the Rebellion. As a story, it was an exciting piece of the extended universe filled with familiar characters and fascinating new ones. As a game, it wasn't terribly original (essentially the God of War engine with lightsabers and Stormtroopers), but the thrill of playing a powerful Jedi who was vaguely neutral in the Dark/Light discussion was irresistible. Force lightning, choking enemies, lightsaber was a fanboy dream come true.

The annoucement of a sequel this year was met with eager anticipation...Starkiller (spoiler alert) seemingly died at the end of the original game, so how was he back and where would the story go from here?

Force Unleashed II picks up probably a year or two after the first. It's quickly revealed that our new "hero" is a clone of the original of several Vader has attempted to perfect. He can't seem to get them to shake their memories and desire to reunite with lady love Juno. This latest clone is no different and quickly escapes Vader's facility. The ensuing game is little more than a hack/slash actioner, following Starkiller as he tears through hordes of stormtroopers and various robots. I'd venture to say there are no more 15 unique enemies and the methods to kill them are easy to figure out. The original game wasn't overly complicated in action, either, but it also never felt this monotonous.

What disappointed me most was the story...I felt very little concern about what was happening, there was minimal character development and only Vader's role seems to really connect it to the Star Wars universe in general. The ending leaves things wide open for the inevitable third entry.

I finished FU II (that seems oddly appropriate) on Medium difficulty in six days, only playing for an hour or two each day. I rarely felt challenged and wasn't upset to stop playing for sleep or other activities. Replay value would seem to be minimal. I can't even say that the game looked or played better than the first. It was glitchy at times and the cut scenes weren't as well animated.

I only recommend this one as a rental or deep discount purchase. I doubt I'll rush out for part III either.

Rating: C-