Why Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is the most half-assed sequel I’ve ever played

I recently finished the Force Unleased II. While I wasn't a huge fan of the original game, I still appreciated that it was a fairly solid action game which mostly nailed the feeling of being a Midichlorian-powered murderer. So I came into the sequel fully expecting an improvement on what I'd always considered to be a 7/10 title.

TFUII is actually fairly solid. Mechanically, most of the game works well and dicking around with your Force Powers is fairly fun. I reckon there’s a genuinely good game waiting to break out of this franchise. It’s just a pity it's being buried under some of the worst game design I’ve seen in recent years. To be blunt, I think Starkiller’s latest title sucks Sith scrotum. Here’s my take on why it’s one of the most horribly repetitive, lazy sequels I’ve ever played.

Note: I'm aware that my opinion differs from that of our Force Unleashed II Super Review. I didn't write the review. Even in the happy house of GamesRadar we don't agree on everything all the time. Different opinions are good. And this is just the solitary one of a usually Star Wars-loving Scotsman.

Above: Murdering the armour off Stormtroopers is satisfying... for a while

Starkiller's adventure feels half finished

Compared to the first game, Starkiller’s sequel feels damn unambitious. Considerably shorter than what was already a short-ass game, it also has way fewer planets and characters to both meet and fight.

During the course of the game you visit a whopping four different locations. And in that paltry number, you end up visiting Kamino twice, while you walk about Dagobah for all of thirty seconds until a shoe-horned Yoda cutscene kicks in.

Above: Hmmm, this game has been rushed out, it has

Compare this to the first title, which had around nine different missions on far more planets, and it’s hard not to feel like Uncle George and his Imperial minions are short changing your TIE fighter-branded wallet.

But even though the game is incredibly short, it still feels like a massive slog. Mainly because…

It’s the most repetitive game I’ve played this generation

Two memorable set-pieces, a poor man’s GOW-style boss and that’s your lot in terms of variation. The rest of the game revolves around killing hundreds of identical Stormtroopers, Johnny Jedi types who either block all your lightsaber or Force Powers and robots who have to be done in with horribly samey QTEs. TFUII simply has no original ideas and is perfectly content to throw wave after wave of identical baddies at you with almost no variety.

Above: It says something when the game's first thirty seconds are just about its best

It all reaches aneurism-courting levels of repetition-endorsed rage when you revisit Kamino in the final level. Here, you have to battle tens upon tens of Sith Acolytes who your powers are useless against. It means you end up repeating the same grapple on them literally dozens of times in a row to maddening effect.

Above: Enjoyed doing this the first time? See how you feel on your 74th go

To showcase such a bewildering lack of variety in a really short game is so half-assed, it makes me want to blub salty tears like the fat dude in Return of the Jedi after his Rancor gets offed.

The story seems like it’s been shit out in a lunch break

I’ll admit it. I didn’t exactly love the canon-ruining yarn the first game spun. Although I’ll at least admit LucasArts tried to tell a reasonably ambitious tale. Combining several new characters with a host of folk from the films, if nothing else, the plot was told on a pretty epic scale which spanned decades and took in loads of different locations.

The sequel on the other hand, features one significant new character, while either ditching many of the people you met in the last game, or relegating them to tiny bit parts. Also, Starkiller’s love interest, Juno Eclipse, has been reduced to all of four lines in the new game.

What we’re left with is a half-assed tale of clones, a really shouty Jedi mentor and a version of Starkiller who just comes across as self-absorbed, when he repeatedly puts saving Juno in front of the plight of the Rebellion. Ah well, at least it has Boba Fett… for all of twenty seconds.

Above: And they're not even a good 20 seconds

It’s got the worst boss battle I’ve ever played

No, really. EVER. It's more irritating than any of Dead Rising 2's psychos. More annoying than fighting cheating Dural in Virtua Fighter. Hell, it's even more tedious than killing the space gorilla with the giant hammer in Halo 2. Yup, the final Vader fight in TFUII has 'em all beat. Lasting the best part of 30 minutes, a joyless war of attrition, it is. Here’s the basic breakdown of how the fight goes down…

Above: How can fighting the world's worst dad and ultimate badass be so terrible?

Darth Vader has the longest health bar in history. You must annihilate said health bar by hitting Johnny Buggered Lungs roughly 500 times in the face. The fight enters into exactly the same QTE roughly every minute, which the developer saw fit to record two lines of dialogue for.

Once your ear drums are done bleeding, you’ll be rewarded with some twitchy, platforming, rubbish clones who need to be dispatched with the same grapple move and then a big old mind-numbing QTE to round things off. It’s just about the most uninspired, repetitive boss battle I’ve ever fought. And it perfectly epitomises the staggering lack of thought that’s gone into this supremely half-assed sequel.

This is just my ranting opinion, of course. If you agree or disagree, why not share your thoughts below?  Oh, and if I'm murdered by men with glowing red sticks during the night, someone call the police on Lucas' ass.

Nov 15, 2010


  • Shinn - December 24, 2010 9:35 a.m.

    I just finished the game, and I thought it was great. It always annoys me when reviewers release articles like this undermining the opinions of their coworkers, it just strikes me as petty. And this just really seems like a case one someone with bias against a series playing through a game repeating the words "this sucks" again and again to themselves to sabotage their enjoyment. Yes there is a lot bit of repetition in gameplay, but it didn't tarnish the story at all for me. Not only that, but when you go back to Kamino you're in an entirely different setting doing entirely different things which are justified by the games story. I'd also like to mention that if you didn't tear up at the light side ending then you have no soul, and Sam Witwer makes a great voice actor. I do understand you're opinion though, and I realize you will never read this let alone waste time typing a response, this game reminds me of the countless Star Wars novels that different people come to love or hate. I also think people are really spoiled by so many truly spectacular games that they can't appreciate a good one, this was a solid 8 for me. (Oh, and yes i'm a sucker for a good dramatic romance and brilliant voice acting).
  • MrCairo - December 11, 2010 10:49 a.m.

    I agree completely. This game lacks everything that made the first game good. It's hard to put my finger on it because the game looks the same, but there is nothing good about this game. I truly love star wars and I finished the first game about 8 times and loved every single minute. I've been playing star wars games for years, games live Tie Fighter and X-Wing Alliance, games which took weeks and weeks to finish. There is nothing worse than spending a lot of money on a game and finishing it in the same day, especially when the game is awful. Haven't you got enough money George?
  • yetanotherCid304 - November 17, 2010 12:46 a.m.

    Crappy game...but the demo was amazing (mainly because it had the games best parts in it). P.S.: thank you GR, for reminding me of the fat gur in RoTJ. What the hell was up with that quy...
  • Deutero - November 16, 2010 9:19 p.m.

    i agree completely. its like they spent all their time making it play slightly smoother and look nicer. the nonexistent story is largely irrelevant, Starkiller goes wherever it makes the most sense to have a cameo appear. The trailers have more personality than the game.
  • philipshaw - November 16, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    I haven't played it but have seen my mate play the bits you mentioned and it did look like a 6/10 at best
  • kor2disturbed - November 16, 2010 8:59 a.m.

    I agree with you, I couldn't even finish the damn game it was so awful.
  • papergoon - November 16, 2010 5:04 a.m.

    agree with wedgie. definitely another battlefront, that was the best star wars game. *throws in kanye west* OF ALL TIME!
  • Bow - November 16, 2010 3:59 a.m.

    you are totally right with darth vader being worst boss battle ever. i was telling my brother whilst playing it that it had to be one of if not the worst boss battle i have ever played in my life.
  • GenericSpaceMarine - November 16, 2010 1:19 a.m.

    I know what just got erased from my holiday wishlist.
  • PolarBarrett - November 15, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    Hes absolutley right. I was supremely dissapointed. And if they start selling DLC that could have easily been in the game i will be supremely pissed. Fucking King George strikes again
  • TDUBBS - November 15, 2010 10:48 p.m.

    YES I completely agree with your opinion Meikleham! I borrowed TFU2 from my brother and am very happy I didn't shell out sixty bucks for it. Makes the first game seem like Bioshock. Also I completely agree with the suckage of that boss fight. I agree with you so much I could kiss you through cyberspace if the internets allowed it. Is that too much?
  • gamingfreak - November 15, 2010 8:59 p.m.

    The only thing I liked about the first one was the story and the only thing I liked about the second one was the better graphics.
  • Link555 - November 15, 2010 8:57 p.m.

    Lucas can't do anything correctly now!!!
  • ViolentLee - November 15, 2010 8:39 p.m.

    Your attempt at Yoda-speak in that caption is at least as bad as the Darth Vader boss fight. Missed the point, this one has.
  • brentsonier - November 15, 2010 7:53 p.m.

    why cant they combine kotor's story and rpg flavor with force unleashed gameplay. it would be the best star wars game ever, maybe the best game ever!
  • brentsonier - November 15, 2010 7:51 p.m.

    yeah i got this from gamefly last week played it for a few hours and sent it back the next day. i loved the first game but this was horrible. and after all those promises the developers made...
  • Unoriginal - November 15, 2010 7:25 p.m.

    And another Republic Commando
  • mgkyo666 - November 15, 2010 7:25 p.m.

    I sold my copy three days after I bought it.
  • wedgie - November 15, 2010 6:34 p.m.

    If lucasarts wants to make a good game, here is what they should do: Battlefront 3 KOTOR 3 the next Jedi Knight game XWing Alliance/Tie Fighter vs. XWing, etc. That is the 4 part method for lucasarts success
  • MassSaber - November 15, 2010 5:20 p.m.

    As a star wars fan I feel embarrassed to have achievements for this game it feels like should have payed 1200 gamer points for it not £35! I mean it really is that short so I agree whole hartedly with this article

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