Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II PS3, 360 Review

The Force Unleashed 2 is not a good game. That may be a very direct and straightforward statement, but it is true nonetheless. It may have the looks and core gameplay to be interesting in the shortest of short bursts, but other than that it is vacuous of anything to hold attention or entertain.

So how did things turn out so bad? It could be the distinct lack of ambition; it’s a short game, almost 1/3 the size of the original. Not only that, the content on show over its 5 or so hour run consistently fails to impress. Even the story is cobbled together – which is to be expected as the first game had the most decisive of endings, so any continuation was likely to seem cheap.

If you remember the first game, there was a section where you were asked to use the Force to rip a Star Destroyer out of the sky, and send it crashing into the ground. Now, I am sure when someone first envisioned this, it was a moment of joy akin to seeing a double rainbow, but its in-game execution was beyond terrible. Search YouTube, people got very angry – angry enough to actually make sense when commenting.

Force Unleashed 2 bluntly avoids including anything like this. When that may initially seem a plus point, it is yet another reason for the game’s mediocrity, as nothing is offered to replace it in terms of epicness. Instead of putting on a bandaid, they’ve needlessly chopped off the whole limb, and now Starkiller – or whatever his name is this time (sorry, cannot recall, shit story) – seems to just monotonically mosey through his adventure with little to no high points to speak of.

Not to be on a complete downer, I should mention the game looks nice, and that the gameplay is mostly okay. There are some nice rain effects on a few levels too, and, for the most part, it seems a more diligently put together effort than its predecessor – at least graphically. But it is hard to get excited when you have to do the same things over and over and over again, and see the same places and people numerous times as well. I am really not doing a good job cheering this review up.

Let’s go back and talk of more annoyances then. The game is linear to the point of ruin, always funneling you down a path. All levels are designed this way. Regardless of if you are inside or outside, you always feel as if you are being directed down a hallway to the next location.

There are also QTEs on show, feckin’ loads of them. Pretty much anything that looks cool is done via pressing a button that appears on screen, and, as you’d expect, that instantly makes the action much less enjoyable to perform. They are so nauseatingly overused it is sickening; you’ll have preformed the same action and seen the same result over 50 times before you reach the credits. You’ll probably want to cry into a cushion rather than press the button by the time you get half way through.

The game’s inability to entertain is so disappointing. You have abilities to hand which should be fun to use, but you’re never made to feel the need to get creative. Force Push, Force Lighting, the Jedi Mind trick, as well as 5 more are all there, and are upgradable, but dashing in and pressing the attack button works so well you never have to get clever with your attacks. The Jedi Mind trick attack got a chuckle out of me a few times, but just like the others, the game does not evolve enough to make you find clever uses for it, so the initial cleverness quickly wears off.

Oh, and the final boss made me want to cry. I know this is a review, and I should talk about it, but I no long acknowledge its existence. For Christ sake, it is 2010, learn how to checkpoint, don’t have one hit kills, and stop using QTEs!

Then there is the appearance of Yoda, which was hyped in videos pre-release as a special inclusion for fans. It turns out to be pretty much a slap in the face – at least this is consistent with the rest of the game. He just appears at the end of a level that takes a few minutes to complete, then, in a cutscene, talks like this he does, for a minute…. yes, before leaving for good – never to be seen again. It feels like he was added at the last minute just to give the marketing team another bullet point to sell the game on.

I really do not understand how we reached this low. The Star Wars series is overflowing with interesting source material; with so much available it could reach the moon and back. But instead of using some of the more interesting morsels, we get nine levels of almost complete ineptitude that take place over three separate locations that themselves overstay their welcome far too quickly. There is just not enough content here, and it feels like some of the game is missing to tell the truth.

The original Force Unleashed shot for the stars, and fell short, but at least you could commend it for trying. Force Unleashed 2 feels sterile and barren in comparison, refusing to try for anything spectacular, and managing to reuse and recycle its few good ideas countless times over its short run.

We all know Lightsabers are the coolest weapon ever – that is irrefutable fact. The Force Unleashed 2 is a boring game with lightsabers in it, and that is an oxymoron if there ever was one.

You’ve made Star Wars boring you fools, damn you all to hell!

4/10

by

Version tested: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Developer: Lucasarts

Publisher: Activision

Genre: Third-person action