PS3 Reviews: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Review

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Review

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Replay Value:



Overall Rating:       6.9



Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Today, we're playing a Star Wars games that utilizes a number of different engines to calculate a variety of different tasks. Yesterday, we were playing a mixture of God awful games like Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi and Star Wars: Obi-Wan, or superb games like X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter and Knights of the Old Republic. There once was a time when a lot of Star Wars games just weren't any good. There were the occasional blips on the radar ages ago, but the majority of Star Wars videogames weren't received very well; some in fact, have appeared in "Worst Ever" lists, such as Teras Kasi.

Thankfully, the PlayStation 2, GameCube, and especially the Xbox, have given us some of the finest Star Wars games, such as the Rogue Squadron games (GameCube), Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox), and the Starfighter games (PlayStation 2). There's also the very cool Lego Star Wars franchise, which may not be everyone's cup of tea, but they're still decent games. Now here's the much anticipated Star Wars: Force Unleashed, a game that prides itself on utilizing multiple engines. What we originally believed to be a point for the good Star Wars games ends up falling somewhere in between.

Off the bat, it's worthy to mention that Force Unleashed is not a bad game. On the other hand, it's a rather decent Star Wars title. It boasts some pretty impressive gameplay mechanics that really make you feel like you're part of the dark side, or that you really are part of the Star Wars universe. Having force powers such as the ability to Force Grip, Force Lightning, Force Dash, and Force Push is what Star Wars games should've had long ago.

These abilities allow your character, the Apprentice, to feel like a proper and complete fighter. Star Wars fans should know what these abilities do, but in case you need a crash course: the Force Grip is the same telekinetic move that Darth Vader has, allowing the player to grab objects or people. You'll be able to use the Force Grip to pick up and throw objects, enemies, open doors, and so on. Force Lightning is precisely as it sounds, it allows the player to expel a wave of lightning as an attack. The Force Push allows the player to release a burst of energy as an attack, or as a means of breaking down obstacles. The Force Repulse is a stronger version of the Force Push, as it unleashes a blast of energy from all around the player, and not just forwards. Lastly, the Force Dash is a simple quick burst of speed forwards.

When you're not using your limited Force powers, you'll largely engage in melee combat with your Light Saber. The Light Saber allows for various combos, which you'll be able to gain more of as the game continues, and will be your primary means of recourse. Now, the combat is directly involved with the engines running in the game, as the have a direct effect on the action.

First, there's the Digital Molecular Matter system, which makes physical objects in the environment act as they would in real-life, under various conditions. For instance, wood will crack like wood should, and glass will shatter appropriately, as opposed to all of that just being pre-determined. The Euphoria system by NaturalMotion is what LucasArts calls a "behavioral-simulation engine." In other words, the characters you interact with will act, move, and even think like human beings. The point is so that they come off feeling as realistic as possible, and adapt their behavior on the fly. All of this is then sealed with Havok's physics engine. So you'd imagine with all of that flare powering the game, you'd be looking at a Triple-A title, right?

Well, when you've got the combat abilities down and actually begin to engage, things don't seem to hold up quite as well as expected. For one, the first immediate problem I noticed is that if you're using the Force Grip, you can't move your player. It'd have been nice for LucasArts to at least let you walk slowly, otherwise, you end up a sitting duck for attacks from all around you. Second, melee combat doesn't feel fluid; going back and forth between Devil May Cry and Force Unleashed makes that much more apparent. You simply never feel like you're in total control over your character, as the actions feel sloppy, lacking precision and fluidity.

Third, the Force Grip can exhibit some annoying issues, as sometimes it doesn't catch the object you're targeting. I often found myself having to press the R2 button numerous times until the Apprentice finally gripped the object - and this occurs even if the reticle is highlighting said object. Fourth, there are colission detection issues; for example, I could use the Force Push to blow the door open, the opening I've created is obviously large enough to get through, but you won't be able to, requiring you to perform another shot. Fourth, the game eventually becomes repetitive, and you'll often feel like you've done much of the tasks more than twice.

If you can overlook these issues, Star Wars: Force Unleashed can still be an enjoyable game. It won't win any prizes, but it does feel satisfying enough to not be considered a bad Star Wars game. You're encouraged to keep trekking on, as throughout the game your experience will help earn upgrades for your character, granting him new abilities and moves, so you aren't stuck with the same range of attacks. Additionally, the story is actually rather good, and would've made for a fantastic movie, to be honest. So there's reason to play through the game. Unfortunately, 10 hours later, there's no reason to come back to the game when you're done with it, there is no multiplayer to speak of, not even co-op.

Visually, Force Unleashed is a good looking title with a very clean picture. The PlayStation 3 version fares a bit better, as it's framerate doesn't stutter, and there is little-to-no screen-tearing. As you'd expect, Force Unleashed runs at a standard 720p resolution, and it looks solid thanks to good use of anti-aliasing, and quality texture work. Lighting is well done, as reflections and eye-candy are nearly everywhere you look. Additionally, stages have a very proper Star Wars look and feel, by sporting the necessary epic qualities. Character detail could use some work, though, as they all feel rather small and not quite as detailed as they should be, and animation isn't as spectacular as I'd hope it'd be.

Being a story driven Star Wars game, there's a good amount of voice acting to be found, most of which is rather solid. The audio presentation is definitely great, as the game makes use of a wide assortment of Star Wars sounds to match the sights all around you. If you find yourself enjoying the game, I suggest turning the audio up and raising the bass fed to your sub-woofer - there's a lot of rumbling sounds to be heard...and felt. The audio is definitely this game's strongest point.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed won't be one of the games I'll remember as being poor, but I also won't look back on it years from now and feel nostalgic. The end result of this ambitious title feels rather average, as the gameplay suffers from redundancy, lack of fluidity, lack of speed, and lack of multiplayer. The story is solid, using your force powers is fun, the audio is great, and the visuals are decent...but those don't fix the core issues of The Force Unleashed. Rent this one, play it for the story, and return it. It's a 10 hour game, with not much else after the story.

9/23/2008 Arnold Katayev

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (26 posts)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 1:38:17 PM

This game promised a lot. Thankfully there was a demo and I didn't buy it.

It's a shame

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 3:02:19 PM

Wise words.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 1:54:19 PM

Definitely a case of great concepts, mediocre execution. However, they were throwing so many new bells and whistles into it, I'm not really surprised. I'm sure as more games start to use the DMM and Euphoria systems, we'll start to see more of these annoying wrinkles ironed out.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 1:58:18 PM

this review is consistant with many others, i now wont buy this game, but will borrow it off a friend once hes completed it - can anyone answere me this tho btw sorry that its off topic... MGS4 runs in 1080p, yet it only says it runs in 720p on back of the box?????

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 2:15:16 PM

I for one found this to be one of the more enjoyable Star Wars games ever made. Though I don't think they'll ever top TIE Fighter and KOTOR 1 and 2. But I must say that the first level blew me away. Being able to control the greatest Sci-Fi villain/hero ever created and seeing all the destruction the game allows you to do. My main complaint was all the cheap deaths from being knocked of platforms to my death lol. Fantastic story though. Going to pick up the novel so I can get the full experience.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 2:35:46 PM

I really expected this game to perform well... I haven't tried it at all so I don't know how I will like it but my opinions tend to reflect the reviews here.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 2:59:25 PM

i love this game, been playing it all weeknd, have completed it twice already.. about 7 hours play through, then add a few more on to get all the bits.

i think its cracking, i think if youre a Starwars fan you will love this game.

btw, been playing the psp version today.. wow! very VERY different. cut scenes are longer, different and theres more story!! more modes too... plus a multiplayer! lol

im currently at the Jedi temple in the story mode, yet on the ps3 version theres no such level.

i think the graphics at times are stunning on the ps3 version, on the psp they are good.. but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in content.

if you have played the ps3 version and liked it.. and you own a psp.. then i recommend you pick this up!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 3:37:05 PM

man, this and mercs 2...

I was super stoked for these games, but they both got a 6.9...

peh, bummer. I'll wait for them to drop the price and play LBP in the meantime.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 3:59:28 PM

6.9 is just AK's score.. its a guide, dont take it to heart, just use it as reference

im the first one to defend AK's scoring.. totally. but you have to look at this as in how much of a SW fan are you.
because seriously.. if you love starwars then add a few more points on to this.

i havent had so much fun in a SW game since BattleFront 2.. which is a totally different game. I havent played KtoR so i cant judge.. but for me this is the best and most fun ive had with a lightsaber, hands down.

but saying that... all the new stuff in the psp version is very cool.

to be honest, i will probably end up keeping the psp ver and selling/ trading in the ps3 one, but where as AK wont look back on this game as being decent and memorable.. to me it is.

but like i say, really does depend on how much of a fan you are, because you can forgive certain things and over look stuff when youre playing.

i wouldnt say it was a 10/10 game, for sure... but like i say, add a few 'fan' points, and you got a decent score.. if thats what you want to go by.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 4:06:57 PM

I think Arnold will be the first one to tell you that Star Wars fans will certainly benefit more from this one. That's just logical, right? :)

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 5:44:17 PM

hell yeah! Im a Star Wars nut, Ive seen all the movies 10 times, so yeah. lol I think it is that reason that I am so in to this game, and one of the main reasons I love SC 4. Any Star Wars geek will tell you it is so freakin' sweet to get to play as Vader!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 4:20:53 PM

I brought both the PSP and PS3 versions and they are almost entirely different games. I enjoy both a lot (Star Wars fan here), but the PSP version has more to offer, quite a lot more actually, and some of the cutscenes are better.

Personally I'd probably give the PS3 version about 7.5 whilst the PSP version 8.5 at the minimum (does have some irritating camera work though, well they both do).

I find them both highly playable (6.9 for gameplay is a touch harsh IMO) which is what counts in the end right?!

Last edited by bhindi_bhaji on 9/23/2008 4:21:18 PM

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 4:28:06 PM

Are you a "bhaji", or did you use your "bhaji's" name?

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 4:25:10 PM

Sadly, they were spread too thin. So I didn't expect much out of it. With all the production value, new engines, and going out on so many platforms (did the DS get one?), I didn't expect much. I suspect that to them top priority was getting the casting, screen writing, and voice acting in to cgi, and then putting it out on as many platforms as possible. The actual game, though a valiant effort, came second to that, or they were obviously rushed more so.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 4:35:12 PM

i dont feel that the psp ver was spread that thin, in fact i would say yes it could of done with a few extra months work (what game couldnt!).. but all in all a fat purchase for sure!
the next gen ones though , i agree.. pretty thin on the ground, something makes me wonder if they held back on the jedi temple, multiplayer, plus skins of.. oh, i wont spoil it (lol).. for a possible download content?

you cant really do that on psp, ps3 or Wii.. but the PS3 and 360, you could make another lil tidy profit if you offer the things that everone with the other versions got for free and are enjoying.

Last edited by dillonthebunny on 9/23/2008 4:36:52 PM

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 5:29:42 PM

if you're a star wars fan, rent it. it only takes like 7 hrs max to beat, and the story is important for SW. don't buy it though. i did. finished it, spent time collecting all the bs, maxed my abilities, and spent some quality time killing and destroying. now i'm totally bored with it after only a few days, and i'm likely no going to play it again for quite some time. i really hope they make some DLC for this. it would be awesome if they took the same basic functions with the force and control scheme (with perhaps a few minor changes) and put it into more of a sandbox style... force unleashed old republic gta/oblivion ish

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Advent Child
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 5:47:00 PM

Personally I would have given it about a 7.5

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ray taylor
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 7:05:08 PM

I really enjoyed this game, but I am a big Star Wars guy. I would recomend that you gives this game a try, it is a fun game.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 7:11:20 PM

Yawn! Anythan to do with space as i always say is borin,dat explains why my 360 disc tray aint even tasted a Halo 3 disc.
Astronauts done been to space n they seen nun yet people still incorporate aliens,spaceships n other space stuff into games n people like'em.This doesn't mean i hate Resistance/Gears but at least the battle takes place on earth BUT i'll always choose realistic games like God of War,Resident Evil,GTA,MGS over these games any day.

Last edited by www on 9/23/2008 7:13:31 PM

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Thursday, September 25, 2008 @ 6:37:02 PM

Because the games you list as realistic, are in fact as unrealistic. God of War? Resi? GTA and Metal Gear? Come off it.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 7:58:07 PM

Yeah I have to agree... thank god for the demo. I was seriously considering buying this game, even tho I have to say I'm not a fan of Star Wars. I thought the controls were horrible along with the AI. I thought you were supposed to feel dark and powerful when playing this game but how can you when all of the enemies are dumb and weak?? However, the graphics were definitely a plus. Oh and the video review on X-Play was pretty funny as well.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 9:56:36 PM

I think you are all crazy. I loved this game. Yes it had it's problems with execution: load times, QTEs, camera, etc.. But it was an overall very fun experience. I enjoyed the ability to rule almost the whole game with the force. It was a creative approach to the standard run here, shoot this, then run here also shoot it. I'm not trying to convince anyone to buy the game, but it's definitely worth playing at some point if anything for the missing connection between the two trilogies. It was a nice break from the monotony of FPS's and other generic titles.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 10:44:14 PM

I dunno if this is what the one dude meant but I think the game has been spread thin because its been spread across a bunch of consoles, as we all know multi-plats suffer, and the more systems it functions on, the crappier they all get. Even if one shines over others, it can't play to the best of any one system so the depth and gameplay must be adapted to all.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008 @ 1:24:43 AM

I thought the gameplay was good from the demo, the only thing i didn't like was the main character.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009 @ 8:42:44 PM


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Sunday, December 19, 2010 @ 9:22:03 AM

i might rent the game. i'm more interested in a good story. is it worth my money or just another rent?

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