The Force Unleashed games bridge the gap between episodes 3 and 4 of the Star Wars movies. During this time, Darth Vader has taken on a secret apprentice, with dreams of training the young warrior and eventually overthrowing the Emperor. The first game ends with the apprentice, named Starkiller, having a bit too much independence and actually helping to form the Rebel Alliance. At the close, Darth Vader ends up destroying his apprentice. As TFU2 opens, we learn that Vader has been cloning Starkiller, in an attempt to weed out the independence without losing the apprentice’s incredible powers of the Force.
The combat in TFU2 is tightened considerably from the first game, and feels very satisfying. The combinations of Force powers available to use is fun, however I found that I ended up using only a couple of them repeatedly. I tended to use the lightsaber abilities much more than the Forcepowers, simply because (to me at least) that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. So, until we get a PS Move-controlled lightsaber game, I’m stuck with either the very satisfying but Six-Axis Controller-based combat of TFU2, or looking like the unfortunate “Star Wars Kid” of Youtube infamy.
The game allows you to upgrade the various Force powers available to you and to customize your lightsabers with multiple abilities. Examples include setting enemies on fire, healing Starkiller when you strike an enemy, increasing the rate at which your Force powers recharge and more. You can change the abilties of each of the two lightsabers that Starkiller wields, affording you some nice variety.
The writing is passable (but not up to the high standards of the first game) and well voice-acted. The storyline is decent, adding some more depth to the years between the two movie trilogies but, predictably enough, ends with a bit of a cliff hanger and an “uhm … excuse me …” moment.
The game is short, however. On the hard difficulty setting, I finished TFU2 in just under 7 hours. That’s ridiculously short, especially for a full-price game with no multiplayer. There’s also some poor level design where it’s obvious the designers were simply trying to pad out the game.
There are challenges and unlockables to encourage replay, but still, the price is too high for a game that short. You’ll visit Kamino (the cloning planet), Dagobah (including an insultingly short meeting with Yoda), Cato Nemoidia and lots of the internal corridors and areas of starships.
I’d recommend getting The Force Unleashed II once the price drops.