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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Nov 1, 2010

Review – Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (Xbox 360)

Post Rating

I have to admit, I was pretty excited when The Force Unleashed II released last Tuesday. I couldn’t wait to pick it up and give it a go. As soon as I got home with the game, I put it in, sat down, and just waited to unleash my own Force fury on some unsuspecting Storm Troopers. Here’s our review of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II.

Storyline

Our story begins with a newly-revived Starkiller, who is merely a clone of the original. We find ourselves on the rainy planet of Kamino, at a cloning facility being run by Vader himself. In an effort to reconnect with his apprentice, Vader has been testing clones of Starkiller in training, but they all seem to fail beyond his grasp. The clones have been having meltdowns when faced with the pilot from the last game, Juno. The clone we see in the game is no different. During his training session, he suffers a mental breakdown and attacks Vader, thus ensuing a desperate escape from Kamino. From this point on the storyline simply follows Starkiller on a journey to save his love interest, Juno.

Gameplay

I have to say that the gameplay is definitely one-sided compared to that of the last game. It is good to see Starkiller with the levels of power that he has attained in the sequel, but compared to the actual Starkiller in the first game, the new one makes the old one look like Mary Poppins on a cold winter day. The developers really gave Starkiller an amazing amount of power in the second title. Force Gripping Tie Fighters right out of the sky in crumpled heaps is extremely fun, but in the last game we couldn’t so much as move one. We see Starkiller survive impossible falls, jumps, and many other death-defying leaps of faith that weren’t even imagined in the previous title. Don’t get me wrong, it makes the game extremely fun, but as far as storyline and playability, it is a bit lacking and unconventional.

Starkiller gains a useful (yet bland) assortment of new powers in the game, such as dual sabers and the Mind Trick power. Also, his combo attacks have changed in the new game in such that two button presses will send him into a mad combo, which gets you into trouble. I can’t tell you how many times I had gotten stuck because as I was flailing around like an idiot, all of the enemies flanked me and got me from behind. This was very frustrating, and became the source of a lot of rage quits for me.

One disturbing thing I found about the game is that even though Starkiller is extremely overpowered, the enemies follow suit. Before too long, even the fall-in-line troopers wielding dual sabers, and have Force powers to match your own. The combat isn’t too advanced, it is simply button-mash while in close, block here, Force Push there, end of battle. The only annoying issue I ran into was the constant bombardment of missiles from AT-STs and when the arachnid drones would constantly stop the flow of battle at the most opportune moments, which made my rage mode that much more apparent.

The addition of the new Force overload mode is quite fun, though. Defeating enemies allows you to build a rage meter, then you can unleash it for more powerful attacks, a health boost, and the use of less Force energy. I found this quite helpful while in tight situations.

Of course the saber customization is back. Each crystal beyond the first grants bonuses, and you can mix and match to suit the situation. I really liked this concept, because it turned Starkiller into a Jack of all trades.

The campaign, however, is quite short. On normal you can get through it in about eight hours. With nine levels to go through (including an extremely short two-minute walk on Dagobah), the length of the game is sure to disappoint. It wouldn’t be so bad if the straight-lined mediocre gameplay from the first game was improved to a great extent in this title, but again, therein lies disappointment.

The Verdict

All in all, the game was fun, but somewhat of a disappointment. With the absence of a well-written storyline, repetitive and overpowered gameplay, annoying enemies that make you feel that you’re on the same level as them, and the large lack of gameplay detail, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is a game that was set up to please, but didn’t achieve much more than a disappointment.

I admit, I had fun playing it, and the gameplay is enough to keep you entertained until you rage quit because of the annoying AT-STs. Of course, it is a Star Wars game to have if you are a collector, but I would urge you to rent it before dropping full price on it. Hopefully, if there are more to come in the future, time will be taken to make it the game we expect from LucasArts.

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