The Force Unleashed - updated impressions

The first area we were shown was a TIE fighter factory, in which we witnessed the majesty of The Secret Apprentice grabbing a huge, newly constructed TIE fighter off the assembly line and tossing it into a group of stormtroopers. And while that was awesome, it was only a fraction of what he was capable of. In short order, he used ridiculously powered-up versions of Force Push, Repulse (an explosive shove that sends everything near you flying in all directions) and Force Lightning, combining them with graceful lightsaber combos to devastating effect.

Just about everything in the environment is interactive, and obeys realistic rules of physics and structural deformation, thanks to Havok physics, euphoria biomechanical AI and a process called Digital Molecular Matter. DMM enables the realistic, real-time destruction of objects based on what they're made of; wood cracks and splinters, glass shatters, metal bends and deforms. All of these processes are rendered in real-time, meaning no two objects ever break the same way and giving the player’s actions a visceral sense of power. Combined with Vader’s chilling directive to “leave no witnesses,” the player is given free rein to smash everyone and everything in sight. Take a look at this video to see Haden Blackman and other devs talk about the integration of Havok, euphoria and DMM in The Force Unleashed.

As The Secret Apprentice cuts a swath through the facility, enemies react in realistic ways, as dictated by the euphoria engine. Some of the most interesting attempts at self-preservation we saw were when stormtroopers were caught in the merciless Force Grip. Knowing that they’re hosed, they flail around and grab at anything they can reach: crates, walls, even each other (giving you two kills for the price of one). We also heard about another instance where an object was hurled at a group of stormtroopers, prompting one self-concerned recruit leapt heroically out of the way – and right over a ledge. The dynamic reaction of enemies and environments make every battle different and spectacular. It’s not just for show, though: the game awards style points, which are then used for upgrading powers, combos and passive power-ups, like added health and lightsaber crystals. We also learned that each level unlocks a new costume for The Secret Apprentice, which you're free to wear or switch out for an earlier outfit.


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