STAFF REVIEW of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 (Xbox 360)

Monday, October 25, 2010.
by Brent Roberts

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 Box art Welcome back my apprentice. It has been some time, but I knew that you would return for the truth. The Force is strong with Xboxaddict, and it's time that the review for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (TFU2) is finally revealed. This game reminds me of what a gold protocol droid once said: "How did we get into this mess..... I really don't know how". Kneel my apprentice and see both the light and the dark side of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II.

If ever there was a game where it had a great showing of light and dark, good and bad, its Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II. This game has been greatly anticipated and focuses to be a staple in the Star Wars Universe. Does this fulfill it's destiny and bring to life a legendary Star Wars experience? As the Emperor would say: "It is you who are mistaken, about a great many things". The Force Unleashed II does deliver in some aspects which we will cover, but ultimately in the end, this doesn't feel like a quality Star Wars video game, much less story. In Force Unleashed II, Starkiller is back, or is he? This is one of the ongoing questions that lingers throughout the entire game, and it's conclusion is up to you to decide.

Graphically speaking Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II at times is as Darth Vader would say "Impressive... Most impressive". Some of the levels such as Kamino and Dagobah are done in such beauty and detail that it helps bring you deeper into the Star Wars Universe unlike almost any other title. Not only are the environments a beauty to behold, but the character modeling is far more improved and with the introduction of some new Sith enemies to fight, it really provides an eye pleasing time. Also in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, LucasArts brings some new tech toys in a new digital molecular matter, which brings more realistic physics and physical reactions unlike anything we have seen before. Another great graphic innovation for The Force Unleashed II is the inclusion of Euphoria which is a bio-feedback artificial intelligence system, which brings gamers one amazing experience after another throughout the entire game.

This however, is not to say that The Force Unleashed II does this a lot. In total there are four original levels (Kamino, Cato Neimoidia, Dagobah, and Salvation), and each of them are broken down into different parts or sub-levels. This means that Kamino, for example, is a beautiful level, however, out of the game's nine levels, three of them (1/3) are staged in Kamino. Looking forward to enjoying a stroll through Dagobah? In all fairness so were we, however Dagobah is a beautiful 15 second walk down a path where Yoda greets Starkiller in front of the cave that Luke entered in Empire Strikes Back. Starkiller has no idea who he has just encountered and there is a dialogue about five lines long between the two, Starkiller enters the cave, cut scene, Starkiller exits the cave, says his goodbyes and leaves. That's it, in the time it just took for you to read that description you could have run through the one... yes one.. level of Dagobah. Another one of the game's many disappointments was that our jet packing bounty hunter Mr. Boba Fett himself was teased as being in this game, well he is, for a 20 second cut scene, and that's it. Search your feelings and you will see that a lot of the graphic potential has been slashed in this game.

The gameplay of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II has been improved upon from the original. Your favorite Force powers are back with a vengeance and they bring with them a new Force power, the Jedi Mind Trick. When combined with Euphoria, the Jedi Mind Trick brings a unique experience as you will see your enemies attack one another, and sometimes even throw themselves out a window or off a ledge. While this is limited to only effecting some enemies, the bulk of your enemies can be under your control, and if you upgrade the Jedi Mind Trick, you will be able to manipulate more than one enemy.

Be careful though, the effects of the Jedi Mind Trick, are short lived. Another nice innovation of the gameplay is the introduction of a target lock feature, which was missing out of the original. This greatly helps in your camera position and camera control when you are in battle against multiple enemies and you are on a small platform. Your Force powers aren't done yet though, in The Force Unleashed II you can combine your powers on either enemy or object. For example, you can grip a stormtrooper, throw your saber at him and impale him, then shock him with lightning, and to finish it off, toss him into another enemy or object. Doing that will actually net you an achievement, but it's a great example of what you can do when you combine your powers. One of my personal favorites would be to grab an object, charge it with lightning, then toss it and it becomes a Force Lightning grenade.

Who can talk about Star Wars without mentioning the music. Throughout the game you will hear some music influence taken from the prequel movies, some original work, but most importantly, John Williams' famous score rings throughout the game bringing classic moments back to life and makes us all remember the great quality that used to be. All the music has been remastered however one great feature is when the game calls upon you for certain fights, you will hear certain iconic music that helps immerse you deeper into the Star Wars Universe. A great attention to detail has been put into every aspect of the sound of The Force Unleashed II. When you are blocking stormtrooper blasts or dodging lightsabers, every sound has been carefully constructed to bring audio bliss to our ears.

Star Wars: Force Unleashed II does however have its drawbacks, and unfortunately they are huge. We have already mentioned the levels in Force Unleashed II, however, we have to point out that this game is one that can be beaten in about four or 5 hours. To put things into perspective, it takes you longer to watch 2 of the original trilogy movies than to complete one play through The Force Unleashed II. This is a major disappointment because fans of the games and movies were hoping for an epic Star Wars adventure, but I'm sorry to say, this is not it.

This game had huge potential to develop the story of this more with the additions of classic iconic characters such as Yoda and Boba Fett, but after watching the scenes that they are in, you wonder to yourself, why did they even put this in the game? You can find my lack of faith disturbing, but in the end Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II has a lot of failed potential.

When you are a game that has to only focus on a single player story, then you have to make sure that your story is not only epic, but developed properly and without major holes. Unfortunately the story of The Force Unleashed II is far from epic, and even contains massive plot holes even in one of the endings. There are a lot of faults with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, but the short, badly written storyline has to be the number one factor that prevents this from being a great title.

As we wrap up our adventure through the Star Wars Universe, it's important to note that this game has some amazing aspects to it, but in the end, it's the core story that disappoints most. A wise Jedi master once said: "That is why you fail", and unfortunately because the story does, the overall score fails as well. Clear your mind and search your feelings and decide for yourself if Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is worth a purchase. May the Schwartz... I mean Force Be With You.

A more in depth, epic Star Wars story with proper character development, and a well written plot.

Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10



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