The original Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a love letter to fans of the series, translated by a big company. The story was fantastic, better than the prequels, and dark enough to make Irvin Kershner proud. You play Darth Vader’s secret apprentice sent out to wipe the galaxy of the Jedi. Along the way you begin to develop as a person and you eventually rebel from Vader. Along the way you intertwine through the history of the Star Wars universe between the prequels and the original movies. Again- the story was awesome, and it won several well deserved awards.
The original game also had a few moments of sadistic joy that tickled the fancy of Star Wars fans, as you were able to force slam a horde of death-ready stormtroopers who seemed more than happy to lay down their lives to satiate your perverse need to repeatedly strike enemies with lightning, over and over and over again while laughing maniacally before calling your friend over to try it out. Amazing music and cool level design also made the game memorable.
Thinking back to it, the original was an awesome game! That is if you can forget about the numerous glitches, painfully short campaign, camera that seemed to be on Darth Vader’s side rather than yours, and a score of other problems that marred the gameplay.
Still, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed sold more copies than any other Star Wars game ever, and a sequel was inevitable, albeit bewildering when you consider the ending. The original story was good enough that to spoil it would be downright mean. In fact, it was by far the best thing about the original game, so spoiling it would suck. It would be like cutting the internet connection of a World of Warcraft fanatic, but leaving them the game. Just plain mean. But, it makes it somewhat difficult to discuss the sequel without spoilers.
So here’s a compromise. If you haven’t played the original but intend to, skip over the next paragraph.
The game picks up shortly after the original ends, and you again play as Starkiller. Which is slightly confusing at first, since he died at the end of the prequel. Vader makes his entrance, and tells Starkiller that he is a clone, and a crappy one at that. A handful of stormtroopers enter, weapons drawn, ready to kill Starkiller. Poor dumb, bastards.
Several painful Imperial deaths later, the game begins, and you find that you are on Kamino, the planet of clone builders from Attack of the Clones. The first thing we saw in the demo that LucasArts reps played for us, was that the game looks jaw droppingly cool. It was like a dream that nerds used to awkwardly wake up from when their Mom knocked on the door to get them ready for school. In short, the graphics are good.
As with the previous game, it again seems that there has been a heavy emphasis put on story and cinema, and that is reinforced as Starkiller begins the demo by falling down the length of a giant tower, while the gamer (in this case reps from LucasArts) was in control. As Starkiller plummets downward, he has full use of his force abilities, meaning things blow up. A lot. One might think that Starkiller has a chip on his shoulder.
When the free fall ends, Starkiller is faced with enemies all too eager to die in horrible and awesome ways. The demo introduced a series of new enemies, and more importantly, a series of new powers plus refinements to old ones. Without actually admitting that the previous game’s combat system was flawed, LucasArts reps said they recognized a few areas that could be improved. For example, as Starkiller walked down a path, a group of TIE-fighters flew overhead. As the last one passed, he reached out with the force, stopped it dead, and crushed it. If you were born in a Vault deep underground or something, and never watched Star Wars, the move would still be very cool. For Star Wars fans, the move was sheer badassery at its finest. The game could suck, but moves like that alone might be worth the price of admission, so to speak. After a few more fights, Starkiller displayed a few new powers including the “mind trick”. When used, it makes enemies go berserk- sometimes they throw themselves off building, sometimes the turn and attack their friends. Other times they simply explode. Hilariously.
Next came a refinement to the force grab, when an enemy droid with a force repelling shield attacked, Starkiller grabbed the shield with the force, then hit the droid with it before finishing it off. As the demo came to a close, Starkiller reached Vader’s TIE-fighter, but two AT-STs stood in his way. A new ability called the “force fury” was introduced. When it is activated, for a short time Starkiller’s abilities were amped up. With a wave, he grabbed the AT-STs in the air and crushed them with ease. When a few troops came out, they were quickly dismembered with powered-up lightsaber power. He then turned to escape and the demo ended.
What we saw, looked amazing, and it will likely be a must have for Star Wars fans. We should learn more about Starkiller and his quest as the release date of October 26, 2010 approaches.