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
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…
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.
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
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