October 31, 2010

Unleash Mediocrity…..

Going into this game I had my doubts. The original force unleashed was a good game but had blatant issues that kept it from greatness. Now about two years later we get the sequel that fixes a lot of issues I had with the first game but lacks where the original excelled at.

The plot to TFU2 seems like it was made to bring a sequel to life to make money. Vader goes to Kamino to clone Starkiller and hunt down the newly formed Rebel Alliance that he helped create. You play as clone 14 or some number around there, all the other previous clones have gone mad and Vader had executed them but for some reason you are different, which is never explained. As the game progresses it is continually told to you by General Kota, of whom you run into later in game, that jedi cannot be cloned because they go mad and become unstable nut cases. Well for some reason the clone you play as is totally stable, he just has random flashbacks that activate some force powers you “forgot” and has this undying urge to save Juno Eclipse from a mess he started. This is by far the weakest point of the game, the story of the previous game kept it simple and cohesive and did not seem to be forced, no pun intended.

The game play and the proprietary engine that TFU2 runs on received the most love and care from the dev team. The game is absolutely gorgeous, every animation and texture is something to be seen and hold in the limelight. The game play received a complete overhaul while keeping all the basics of the first game in check. All the force powers return and the duel saber combat is very visceral, the addition of dismemberment was a nice touch and threw me back to the days of Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast. The powers are still over the top and watching you either crush a Tie Fighter like a beer can or using the mind trick to watch storm troopers take a leap off a ledge to their impending doom never gets old. There are only a few boss battles that are epic but feel a bit undercooked and the repetitive enemy types can get a little annoying. You’ll face about three different storm troopers, some sith trainees that can block force powers or that have light sabers, and three different types of droids that almost all do the same thing. There are some AT-ST spinoffs that are thrown into the mix but enemy variety is not a strong point of the game.

The game is inexcusably short. There are some of the levels that are longer than expected; the final mission on Kamino was a valiant effort to hit the climax of the conclusion. Then you have the Dagobah, which is one of the shortest levels I have ever played in a game, and again it’s unforgivable. You take about 10 steps and that’s the level. You finish the stroll down a small walkway to grab some holocrons, then breaks away to a cut scene. You could finish the game in less than 8 hours and is about half of the length of the first. I understand that some games are short due to having a bevy of multiplayer options, such as Medal of Honor, Halo, or Call of Duty. For a single player game there is no excuse, when you have one of my favorite games of last year and possibly all time Uncharted 2, which was made in 18 months! There was no lack of polish or length and they did it in less time. I understand that Lucas Arts was hit by layoffs after TFU was released, which for a game that sold so well and made a ton of money you would think they would pour more people into developing the sequel. This is not to say that I am disappointed with this sequel, I really enjoyed the time I had with this game and definitely plan on playing through the game a few more times but while playing it I just couldn’t get over the feeling that this was rushed and put together with a barebones dev team. Hopefully they can fix the length issue with DLC or have a sith edition ala TFU and have all the DLC and cut levels in a nice package.

I really wanted to rate this game higher than I am giving it. I really loved the combat, the freefall sections, and the aesthetics but the lack of a good story and indefensible length of the main campaign, these are faults that I cannot look past and really wish I could. I am not trying to make it a point of length over quality, because with the revamp of the game it’s self they did a lot of work in areas that were needed and just let other areas slip. They seemed so concerned with fixing the issues with the first game they failed to keep the strong points consistent. I am eager to see what could be made with the inevitable sequel that the ending hints to. Will they put all of the strong points together and conceive a masterpiece worthy of the original trilogy or will they make a Bantha pile the size of the prequels? I guess we will have to see after the inevitable layoffs and what becomes of the crumbling corpse that is Lucas Arts.

+ Incredible visuals, sound, and voice acting.

+ Combat is satisfying and powers are still over the top.

+ Free fall sections are a fun addition.

–  Short, very short.

– Throw away story.

– Dagabah level is useless

– Yoda and Boba Fett cameos are disappointing

Final Score – 7/10

7 comments

  1. T8 - November 8, 2010 9:24 am

    Excellent review CAB, you should stick with the very same format for all of your game reviews. Simple, precise and easy to follow with a good summary at the end. To bad it wasnt about PC games 🙁

    Reply
  2. ScrotusKilmystr - November 3, 2010 3:30 pm

    so the question is how many people would buy the rusted out shit box with a brand new motor vs. the ferrari with a shitty motor both for the same price…..

    Reply
  3. thsoundman - November 3, 2010 8:25 am

    The game being short though is a huge problem for me especially with the high price tags. I mean lets take a look at Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. The game had a excellent story, really good cutscenes, good character development and great graphics to boot, for the time anyway. I would say the game was near 10 – 12 hours long depending on the difficulty you played and it had decent multiplayer as well. I believe the game was 39.99 when I bought it. Granted it was made damn near 11 years ago and games do cost more to make now days.

    I believe developers should spend more time developing the content within the game instead of spending millions upon millions of dollars on flashy graphics. Spend some time developing a deep story. I don’t even care if the story is a repeat of something else as long as it’s done well. I’m just tired of all these subpar stories being tossed into games and then spending all the rest of the money on graphics.

    Reply
  4. Strider782 - November 2, 2010 7:39 pm

    “I’ve per­son­ally not been impressed with any Star Wars game since. KOTOR and the Jedi Knight series.” Well said, I completely agree with you. Personally I’d like to see a sequel to Jedi Academy. Or if they’re wondering where else they might be able to go they could try creating a game following the story of what happened after episode six. There’s no reason why they have to keep playing the thousands of years before the first movie idea. No saying that there’s anything wrong with that cause I was a huge fan of the original KOTR, but the order was already established. Continue the story of Luke working to rebuild the order and the continuing threat of the empire and the sith like the Jedi Knight series.

    The topic of the shortness of a game was one that came up often when I was in college. The conclusion was always that it’s better to have a game that is short and sweet over one that is long and tasteless. This however is one that is short, a sweet taste that lasts for a few minutes until you get to the center and leaves a bitter after taste as you tell yourself you swallowed sixty dollars to play this game.

    Reply
  5. thsoundman - November 1, 2010 10:55 pm

    I had ever growing fears that this would be the case. I suspected from the initial game videos that contained little of substance that this was going to be a disappointment.

    Lets first take a look at the games length. I am sorry but even in the age of crappy campaign lengths such as MW2. It’s unexcuseable for a non multiplayer game to have a campaign shorter then 12 hours. Any less then that and it doesn’t justify the $60 price tag. I don’t see why it is so hard to come up with a gripping story and good narrative and challanging gameplay for 12 or so hours.

    It looks like this game… along with several others this year were just rushed out to get more “material” out there. It’s been a good number of years since we’ve seen a solid star wars game. I’ve personally not been impressed with any Star Wars game since. KOTOR and the Jedi Knight series.

    Reply
  6. Strider782 - November 1, 2010 3:33 pm

    Have to say I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this game and I ended up a little disappointed. I really liked the first one and after seeing how the new one was going to look and reading about what all they were doing to the new one and I was excited to get my hands on it. As you said the upgrades to the combat system and the force powers were great, but what really killed this game for me was the story, or rather the lack of a story. The clone idea was a good concept, but they could have taken that much further than they did. The cameos by Yoda and Boba Fett seems like nothing more selling points rather characters in the story.

    I also really wished they didn’t cut down the lightsaber customization as much as they did, that was one of the things I really liked from the first one. The levels were another excellent point, a few that never seemed to end and one that was so short that it’s over before you can blink. I also noticed a few issues in some of their designs. One being the loose clothing on Starkiller is pulled down when on the elevators and in a few points of the game I saw negative space where the scene elements weren’t lined up.

    Just seems like they put all their time into polishing the look and feel of the cinematics and combat system and just let the storyline go. That’s not to say that it’s not a good game. It’s beautifully rendered and the cinematics are seemless in how they flow and it’s a lot of fun using the force and your lightsabers on the storm troopers, but I was hoping to experience what Starkiller was going through instead of just playing it.

    I was also kind of hoping for a more dynamic battle with Vader. Vader’s the biggest bad ass of the Sith and Scrotus said it best he had the walk to show that he’s a bad ass. Yet he spent most of the battle hopping platform to platform sending clones and cloning tubes at you.

    Reply
  7. ScrotusKilmystr - October 31, 2010 1:45 pm

    ok so i was ready to defend this game when you told me you put up a review but I hate to admit you have some very valid points….. ugh
    the game is crazy short or no reason yes why is yoda in it basiclly yado was a 25 dollar whore and lucas arts his pimp i guess boba did have some plot relivance but then again in the 1st game he was only a boss in the dlc if memery serves
    i did like the story though the mystry of are you real or memorex was intresting but not given enough effort and juno was a swwet piece of ass but i think it it was lacking as well
    I really liked how they made vader have he” bitch where’s my money at” pimp walk it gave him total bad ass-edness!
    so you I will agree with you whine they fixed what was broken but broke was was great…..

    Reply

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