Third in my Star Wars review saga and, thankfully, a game I have played much more recently and actually remember. That game is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, brought to us by LucasArts. I will not promise that I remember these games clearly, especially not the first one, but I remember them well enough to put forth a decent review, unlike with my review of KotOR. So let’s check these games out and get us all further educated on the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008)
This series is set in between the events of Episode III (Revenge of the Sith) and Episode IV (A New Hope). We start off as Darth Vader, running rampant on the Wookie-filled planet of Kashyyyk, the planet of too-many-y’s. Vader is looking for one of the Jedi that managed to escape Order 66 at the end of Episode III. Upon finding him, Vader quickly dispatches him. He then finds that this Jedi had a kid. Seeing that this child is strong in the ways of the Force, he takes him and raises him as his apprentice behind Emporer Palpatine’s back. When the child (now known as Starkiller as an homage to the original name that was going to be given to Anakin instead of Skywalker) reaches adulthood, Vader sends him to kill the remaining Jedi to complete his training and become more powerful so that he could eventually kill the Emperor at Vader’s request. The Emperor finds out about Starkiller and orders Vader to kill him, but secretly keeps him alive and sends his apprentice to start a rebellion against the Empire to distract the Emperor and allow Vader to kill him. He does so, along the way rescuing Juno Eclipse, pilot of the Rogue Shadow, Jedi Master Rahm Kota, Princess Leia Organa, and her father, Senator Bail Organa. Kota teaches Starkiller about the Jedi way and that leads him to spare a Jedi apprentice named Maris Brood after a battle with her. At a meeting to start a rebellion, Kota, Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, and Garm Bel Iblis are arrested by Vader. Vader attacks Starkiller and informs him that he was not meant to overthrow the Emperor, but to collect the heads of the rebellion so that they could be destroyed. Starkiller don’t take kindly to this, and he has massive anger issues. He travels to the Death Star and battles Vader as Kota fights the Emperor, but is wounded. You then have a choice on how to end it, but the canon ending is that Starkiller defeats Palpatine, but Kota stops him from killing the Emperor because thems the path to the dark side. In order to allow Kota and the Senators to escape, Starkiller sacrifices himself. Vader and Palpatine fear that his death will become a martyrdom, fueling the rebellion they hoped to squash. He is, and it does.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (2010)
How do you make a sequel when your protagonist died in the first game? CLONE THAT MAMMA JAMMA! Yes, that’s right, 6 months after FU 1, we catch a giant FU when they piss on the significant death of Starkiller in the first game by ignoring his death and cloning him. Oh well, it is what it is. Darth Vader has used Starkiller’s DNA to try to create the perfect secret apprentice. You have a vision that Vader kills you because of your inability to kill a droid wearing the appearance of Starkiller’s love interest from the first game, Juno Eclipse. The Clone escapes and embarks on a quest to understand what has happened to him and Juno. Vader hires Boba Fett (apparently no longer Baby Boba) to track down Juno and lure us out. We rescue Rahm Kota from a gladiatoral arena, and also encounter Yoda on Dagobah. We have some strange visions on Dagobah (probably the ‘shrooms), and rush to Juno’s ship, arriving just as Boba captures her. With help from Kota and the Rebels, we launch an assault on Kamino. Starkiller shows off by Force grabbing a Star Destroyer and crashing it into a planet so that Kota can stage a ground assault while we go after Juno. While fighting Vader, Juno is thrown out a window. Starkiller is not fond of this. He viciously attacks Vader and cuts off his hand. Kota arrives and pleads with Starkiller not to kill Vader because he needs him interrogated, and then put him on trial. We again get to choose our ending. I couldn’t find out which ending was the canon one, but I believe it to be the light side ending. In this ending, Starkiller allows Vader to be taken and discovers that Juno survived the fall and the two jet off with Vader as prisoner. Going to rub it in, Starkiller goes down to Vader and tells him that he’s free of his control because he was the one who made the choice to let him live. Vader tells him that, as long as Juno lives, he will always control Starkiller. They jet off and Slave 1, Boba Fett’s ship, follows. I believe this is the canon ending because, though the other one fits with the canon too, it gets wacky and the DLC shatters canon. In this ending, Starkiller raises his saber to strike down Vader and is stabbed by another lightsaber. The shrouded figure appears behind him and kills Kota. Starkiller looks over to the dead Juno as Vader tells him the cloning process had actually been perfected. The shrouded figure removes his hood to reveal another Starkiller. Vader tells him to hunt down the rest of the rebels and destroy them. The DLC gets wacky as the dark Starkiller particpates in the Battle of Endor from Episode VI, killing Ewoks and Rebels and later, Han Solo and Chewbacca, and even Leia.
Both of these games are solid action adventure hack-and-slash games with fancy Force powers thrown in there (though I tended to prefer to just throw down with some sabers. The only difference between the two games here is that Starkiller’s clone in TFU 2 uses 2 sabers. The gameplay is very solid and typically satisfying, and the force powers work well, though better in the second game. Having a second lightsaber doesn’t change the gameplay much beyond making Starkiller awesome. Which he totally is. And if you don’t believe that, pull a Star Destroyer out of the skies with YOUR mind. …bitch. I also liked the ability to change the crystals in your lightsaber as you collected them throughout the missions. The only bummer to this is that they changed both the color AND the stats of Starkiller’s that they buffed. The problem with this is that I want my lightsabers red or black, because that’s metal and awesome! I don’t want to have to use lame ass green because it would help me more!
These are not perfect games, though. They capture the atmosphere of Star Wars well and practically capture something else from the Star Wars movies: the length. These games (especially TFU2) are super short. TFU2 being the most recent one, I can recall this game taking me about 5 hours to complete. What’s that all about? You know I paid 60 bucks for you, right? I don’t even get paid 10 dollars an hour! Shame on you. It gives you a little more in that you can play them twice to be good and evil, but since the decision that changes the game is made at the end, you can simply reload a save and find out what happens. Or just look it up on YouTube. If they had made it possible to make decisions throughout the game, playing through twice would’ve been more worthwhile.
Altogether, I think both of these games are worth playing, especially now that they’re both $20 or $30 instead of the $60 that I paid. TFU2 is slightly better than the first, but both are too short for me to recommend at $60. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you gotta play them. If you’re a casual fan, I give these games “Still worth a play if you’ve got nothing else on your plate” out of 1344.
And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.