Thursday, March 18, 2010

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

**NOTE: This is an old review, one that I did for the old site. I had it on hand and wanted to go ahead and get something up. I KNOW it's kind of irrelevant now. I know.

When the demo for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed hit the Xbox Live marketplace, everyone with a 360 and access to the internet dove into what was essentially the first level of the game, plus several advanced force abilities unlocked. And there was much rejoicing. I was among many who salivated at the crisp graphics (no stranger to the console), and took a childish delight in chucking storm troopers into oblivion. Let's jump forward here for a moment. It's barely a week after the game's release, and I'm standing in GameStop, game in hand, ready to trade it in. "But how could it have come to this?" Well I'll tell you, but you won't like what I have to say very much. One of the principal issues lies in the game's length. It is around 10 hours long, with virtually no replay value because of certain control hindrances to be later identified. One might argue that the publisher has plans to release additional levels later on. Levels you buy off of Xbox Live. For money. Wait... I just paid sixty dollars for half a game?

As you advance through the game, you begin to realize that the targeting system has little to no sense of priority, so many times while attempting to zap an enemy you find yourself instead blasting yourself to kingdom come, because you've accidentally detonated a nearby bomb. Similar to God of War, when you've done enough damage to an enemy, you are directed to follow a sequence of on-screen prompts, resulting in you character performing a sort of finishing move. Unfortunately, the buttons you hit in the sequence are the same ones you attack with, so you occasionally trigger the event without realizing it.

Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of the game is the fact that you can hit an opponent with your lightsaber, which should cut them in half, and they won't even get knocked back. However if YOU take a hit you're sent flying, and it takes so long to get back up that during melee battles you get tossed around like a rag doll.

I won't say there aren't any positive elements to the game, it looks gorgeous, and the voice acting is excellent. However, gamers shouldn't have to rely on graphics and voice work as the selling point for a game, especially with the high quality play possible on the next-gen consoles. If you've got to play this one, rent it or buy it used.

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