PS3 Reviews: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II Review

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II Review

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Graphics:

 

8.4

Gameplay:

 

6.2

Sound:

 

8.1

Control:

 

6.5

Replay Value:

 

5.0

Overall Rating:       6.6

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

LucasArts

Developer:

LucasArts

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action

The first Star Wars: The Force Unleashed received only a lukewarm reception from the critics, but the fans loved it. It made perfect sense to do a sequel and given all the feedback they received, one would assume LucasArts would’ve produced a vastly superior follow-up. Well, they certainly worked on the artistry, cut-scenes, story and a few other intriguing facets but too many of the flaws remain and in the end, we get an adventure that feels a little too tiresome and repetitive. Essentially, this is just more of the same, albeit wrapped up in fancier packaging with a prettier bow. Inside is pretty much the same gift and in fact, we might actually get less enjoyment out of this one because it doesn’t feel as fresh as the original, and the pacing and diversity seem to be…well, off. I suppose it’s still a must-play for the Star Wars aficionados, though.

LucasArts wasn’t kidding when they said they worked hard to overhaul the technical aspects. This is one damn fine game to look at: the artistry is top-notch; you might not expect such a beautiful array of colors and various tones in a slick sci-fi presentation (which normally consists of silvers, blacks and grays), but it’s visually impressive. So many of the environments are a joy to behold and although there don’t appear to be as many enemies (and hence, a lack of variety in terms of design), the splendor of the locales will satisfy even the most anal graphics aficionado. It’s a little unfortunate that so much adopts this “look but don’t touch” attitude because you don’t do a heck of a lot in some truly gorgeous places. But the special effects in combat, the stunning weather effects, and the fantastic character design and detail carry the day.

The sound represents the other half of a technical presentation and once again, LucasArts comes through in fine fashion. The music is vigorous and compelling, the sound effects are usually sharp and in-your-face, and the performances are surprisingly solid. I only say “surprisingly” because every time I think of Star Wars, I can only picture that utterly painful scene between Anakin and Padme on the balcony…ugh. Well, Lucas never could write dialogue. But the point is, fans of the legendary franchise will recognize so many of the well-chosen tracks, which greatly enhance the action, and the balance remains stable throughout. I’m not the biggest fan of all the voices, though, and due to the repetition of the gameplay, you start to hear the same effects over and over; a few times too often, if you ask me. Still, when combined with the nigh-on superb visuals, the sound gives The Force Unleashed II a couple very sturdy legs on which to stand.

In other words, the foundation is there. But somehow, the developers didn’t seem to take the next step from a gameplay standpoint. It almost seems as if they eliminated many of the foes we had in the first game (correct me if I’m wrong), and decided to toss only a few enemy types at you, again and again. Sure, those enemies are cool and all and it’s almost always fun to dispatch them with either your potent Force powers are always-deadly dual lightsabers, but I really felt that it started to feel like a standard “rinse-and-repeat” experience. Don’t get me wrong; the physics are reliable and the assortment of character skills and abilities makes one feel appropriately powerful. But even then, you can often feel a little overwhelmed, as some of the battles felt specifically designed to piss me off. “Oh look, walkers that fire missiles…I’ll just grab one and fling it back…wait, gotta deal with those acolytes…hey, they’re resistant to my saber attacks!”

So, in addition to being a little repetitive and lacking in enemy diversity, there are times when you lose that sense of power. I must also mention the targeting mechanic, which still - still – doesn’t work as well as it should. They added a way to lock the camera onto a particular target but this didn’t seem to assist my butt-kicking in any way and eventually, I just got sick of using it. However, all this being said, I really like the new abilities: the mind trick can confuse the hell out of enemies and cause them to attack each other (berserk they go!) and the Force Sense just points you in the right direction (hence, no need for a map). But the new skill I used most often – or perhaps even abused, depending on how you look at it – is the grapple, which lets you eliminate enemies quickly, and the camera zooms in as you bust ‘em up. Was it cheating? Should it have been more limited in some way? Perhaps…still had fun with it.

Then there’s the story, which has some bright spots but doesn’t really deliver much in the way of engrossing development. Starkiller is a decent character for the story but he doesn’t seem to need much help; he has most all the skills he requires at the start, so leveling them up almost feels a little superfluous. You combine this with the short length – probably about 6 hours, which I’m sure people will hate, as nobody these days can be bothered to buy a game that isn’t 10+ hours – and you’ve got an adventure that may not appeal to non-Star Wars followers. For a short game to succeed, one needs variety, great pacing, a satisfying story and characters, and above all else, gameplay that continually evolves and changes. This doesn’t really happen here. Starkiller relentlessly beats on bad guys and he can do so in all sorts of bad-ass ways but somehow, it all loses its luster after an hour or two.

If one were to compare this to other Star Wars adventures, in terms of storyline and action, it might pale in comparison. On the one hand, we’ve got all sorts of sweet abilities and skills, beautiful environments, awesome cut-scenes, and smooth gameplay that doesn’t usually fail us. On the other hand, the plot lacks, the game gets too repetitive due to uninspired and underdeveloped ideas, the lock-on and control still doesn’t gel, and the collision detection is iffy. Oddly enough, this might be one of the best-looking games of the year and yet, it’ll go without our recommendation. Most of the time, great technical proficiency goes hand-in-hand with competent gameplay, control and depth but…well, not this time.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is up against all new competition in 2010 and although some of the new stuff is cool, it just doesn’t take the necessary steps. Sorry, SW fans.

The Good: Looks beautiful; great artistry, cut-scenes, choreography and special effects. Sounds good. New powers are effective and fun to use.

The Bad: Lock-on and camera still falter. Story doesn’t deliver. Repetitive, even tiresome gameplay. Short (maybe 5-6 hours in length). Devs don’t take advantage of good ideas. Some annoying encounters.

The Ugly: When done, one might feel totally unfulfilled…

11/4/2010 Ben Dutka

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Comments (43 posts)

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, November 04, 2010 @ 10:07:14 PM
Reply

I would just like to add an FYI- I'm starting to get burned out with mediocre reviews...Saw II, Shaun White, Raging Blast 2, Star Wars, Blacklight, Time Crisis, Power Gig isn't shaping up well, etc, etc, etc.

.......it's tiring. Just saying.

Agree with this comment 8 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

hellish_devil
Thursday, November 04, 2010 @ 10:16:53 PM

Then review The Sims 3!!!

Just saying =)

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, November 04, 2010 @ 10:24:18 PM

As much as we appreciate your reviews and work, we are tired of SEEing mediocre reviews. Lots of suckfest games lately.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, November 04, 2010 @ 10:31:31 PM

I don't suspect I'll see my Deadliest Warrior review anytime soon then =)

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

main_event05
Thursday, November 04, 2010 @ 11:34:54 PM

Maybe you should do a throwback review. Like a new segment. Playing games that I haven't played in years always seems different so maybe your opinion on them may have changed.

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Akuma07
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 1:43:44 AM

I agree with World.

I'm really tired of companies releasing mediocre games =[

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 1:50:02 AM

Damn, I was thinking somewhere near the mid 7s. I've heard nothing but average comments about this game. Glad to see you're not showing any bias with the review. I bet you're tired of the lame games you're having to review.

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ABUrabad
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 1:53:03 AM

Thanks Ben a lot for all of your hard work but still you need to hold on a little bit more since a lot of great games are coming out within the next couple of months . all our hearts and feeling are with you

Last edited by ABUrabad on 11/5/2010 1:53:41 AM

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Lawless SXE
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 4:52:11 AM

Chin up, Benny boy. If you start getting down, just look to the start of next year. We'll all still be playing GT5, then LBP2 straight up, a little way down the track is Dead Space 2, and Killzone 3 is right behind. Releasing on the same day is... Oh, what was that one called... Well I lost my rhythm. I'm sure there are others releasing early on. You just have to wade through the rubbish first.
Peace.

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 10:01:18 AM

Maybe you'll get a review copy of GT5 soon. That should break up the streak of mediocrity.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 10:20:23 AM

I'm hoping Bond is decent. And then, of course, Black Ops, Brotherhood, and NFS should be great.

...I think.

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chewy102
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 11:24:53 AM

Ben

I get the same way sometimes when the bad games never seem to end. If you have a gaming PC then I suggest you give Amnesia: The Dark Descent a try.

It's the best horror game Iv played in years, easy. In fact it's so good Im to scared to play it half the time. The last game that made me feel like that was Clock Tower on PS1.

p.s. If you do give A:TDD a try (there is a demo on steam) use a headset. It gives me shivers just thinking about what the game does to me.

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Dustinwp
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 1:05:38 PM

There's still one game you might give a perfect score to this year Ben!

Gran Turismo 5 !!!!

I remain optimistic it will still launch this year. By the way, I really like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly sections of your reviews. Great touch!




Last edited by Dustinwp on 11/5/2010 1:14:58 PM

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Nickjcal
Thursday, November 04, 2010 @ 10:22:11 PM
Reply

like every game that was apparently supposed to be great has been ragged on quite a bit. SW, Enslaved etc kinda sucks but im gnna pick them up anyways. Of course though Black Ops is going to get a perfect 10 as always. Hopefully this time its worth it though

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, November 04, 2010 @ 10:25:35 PM
Reply

I sorta doubted this could deliver after the first was so bad. Sounds like all they did was clean up the graphics.

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BTNwarrior
Thursday, November 04, 2010 @ 10:58:04 PM
Reply

I had fun with it, though I'm thinking that I was only happy with it's short length because it seems like alot of games just released in a time frame of two weeks, and that includes fallout new vegas, medal of honor, red dead redemption zombie expansion pack... and on top of that I made the mistake to get hooked on the MMO EVE Online. So I was kind of happy once the story came to a conclusion

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, November 04, 2010 @ 11:38:53 PM

Speaking of Fallout NV, you've got a sexbot!

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BTNwarrior
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 1:03:06 AM

just youtube wkuk sex robot and it will all make perfect sense

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Alienange
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 10:30:36 PM

Heads up, Red Dead Redemption zombie expansion pack has twice the gameplay of this game for $10

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DIsmael85
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 12:35:48 AM
Reply

It's a shame that they had to drop the ball with Force Unleashed 2. :( May end up playing this later, but even people I know have been like it's meh.

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BikerSaint
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 3:17:46 AM

BTNwarrior,
LOL,
I loved wkuk's skit on Call of Duty ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGXaB_yUQI4&NR=1

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ABUrabad
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 1:44:53 AM
Reply

thanks a lot Ben
I hoped that they would have worked a little bit more on this game to improve it , the first game was short and i can see this have the same old problem , so still this game according to your review isn't a big hit at all
I still dont know why these people dont get bothered by old reviews and players feed back and work on them , everyone can see they have brought back the same old problems without fixing them ,the game is short and repetitive and even the first one have a decent story,
in conclusion I dont think this game will be bought any time soon I'll wait till will get around 15$ as a second hand

Last edited by ABUrabad on 11/5/2010 1:49:08 AM

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___________
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 2:19:58 AM
Reply

i was really disappointed by this.
gameplay wise it was ok, exactly what i was expecting, but the pinnacle of star wars is the story, it is why it is one of the most famous series of all time!
the story fell really short, it lacks depth and does not have a backbone.
than the worst part it poses so many questions but never answers them, what really happened to starkiller?
than the ending, the dark side ending was just crap and stupid!
the good side ending, well, it did not answer what it was suppose to and what was said at the end makes no sense what so ever!
gameplay wise its ok, exactly what i was expecting, but what really upset me with this was i was expecting a true starwars experience, a true starwars rate storyline.
but what i got was a typical cliche hollywood thin as a pancake storyline which makes no sense what so ever!
o, and the final boss battle has to be the most tedious, most frustrating boss battle i have ever played in my 20 years of gaming!
never has a game made me want to hull my controller through the TV as much as this!
gave a whole new extreme to the word repetitive and tedious!

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MadPowerBomber
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 3:15:22 AM

Aaaaaactually, the Dark Side ending wraps things up nice and neat with only one minor problem to be rectified by the time A New Hope comes along. The Light Side, the canon ending, opens up a whole new can of worms that needs to be answered before anyone can accept that this bridges the gap between III and IV.

Plus, y'know, the whole Maris Brood thing.

I enjoyed the story, though I thought some stuff was missing from it. But it made for a pretty interesting personal epic story set within the galactic epicity (ha, new word) of the Star Wars universe.

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___________
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 7:46:50 AM

story was far too thin, star wars has built up a level of quality, of expectation so anything falling under that license carrys that burden.
its like if ND released a game, you would expect it to have the same quality as uncharted 2.
not saying it was a bad story, its better than many, but as a star wars story it fell well short of expectations.

dark side ended too abruptly, and, well come on its a little cliche.
coming in right at the last minute to save the day?

i wont be surprised to see TFU3, starting off where this left off on the light side, and hopefully filling in what happened to the original starkiller, explain who the guy you played as in the sequel was, explain what happened to juno and proxy, explain who those clones were.
theres just so many gaps left gaping, i think they did that deliberately to leave room for a sequel.
but, come on, they tell you not to do something otherwise you wont get a answer to something but than you dont get a answer to it anyway!
throughout the whole game they tease you with that, but than never reveal it, that really irked me!

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MadPowerBomber
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 12:55:26 AM

You're reading more into the story than what's actually there, I think.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

Galen died at the end of Force Unleashed. Vader clones him multiple times over until one isn't driven insane, and that's who you play as in the3 Force Unleashed II, and you fight a bunch of failures at the end. Self-explanatory.

Juno, Starkiller, and Proxy then escort the captive Vader to Dantooine, while being chased by Boba Fett.

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___________
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 9:04:26 AM

thats what they want you to think.
im not so sure, they were teasing that whole subject throughout the whole game, im not so sure your a clone.
whether your not is irrelevant, the point is you cant raise so many questions and not answer them.
talk to any star wars fan and they will tell you the same thing, the story in this does not live up to the star wars expectations.
my old art teacher is a massive star wars nut, if he played this he would probably fly over to the developers and take a big dump in there face!

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MadPowerBomber
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 5:02:55 PM

I disagree and I am a Star Wars fan. Star Wars was built on asking more questions than it answers, from the original film in 1977 up to Revenge of the Sith in 2005. This one follows suit as a simple objective plot (Starkiller needs to find and eventually rescue Juno Eclipse) and along the way there's a lot of things that will be questioned, with most of them not being answered.

The game is patterned after both Attack of the Clones and Empire Strikes Back in terms of storytelling dynamics. It's a middle part of a possible trilogy, thus it won't have a clearcut, candy-coated ending, but it will solve the main, objective plot of the story: Starkiller is reunited with Juno. Along the way he helps the Rebel Alliance and has his nature questioned. The same things happened to Luke in Empire, and there were a lot of questions brought up in that film that would go unanswered for few years to almost two decades. The Cave of Evil when Luke goes through it, "there is another," comment by Yoda, why Obi-Wan lied to Luke, the revelation of Vader as Luke's father, what happened to Han Solo, so on and so forth.

This is very much a Star Wars story.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

MadPowerBomber
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 3:11:47 AM
Reply

Definitely not the score I would've have given it. While the story is a little light, I'm finding a great deal of enjoyment in it, and haven't had any hangups with the controls so far.

I do have to say, though, that the grapple aspect of the combat isn't new at all. It's in the Force Unleashed. The animations are different, but the button combination and effect is still the same.

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Lawless SXE
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 4:56:15 AM
Reply

Well, I thought the first was rather average, and while this seemed initially like an attractive prospect... I guess not. I like Star Wars as much as anyone, and considering that these titles are supposed to be bridging the gap between the Trilogies, you would expect them to be a lot stronger than they are. You would expect them to be must-play games to make sure that anyone who has the slightest interest in the series to see it all the way through. Alas, they fail.
What's next?

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Godslim
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 6:07:34 AM
Reply

ive got it and am enjoying it so far altho its no different from the first one and does get pretty repetitive :(

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Qubex
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 6:07:56 AM
Reply

I agree with Ben that technically, it is a phenomenal achievement. I have read quite a bit about the tech behind this productions and for a multi-platform game who can remember such a smooth post processed frame, besides the CodeMaster racers...

The anti-aliasing technology MLAA - PS3 specific - is a joy to behold. I played the demo quite a bit and really enjoyed it.

I may add this to my collection. I don't give a toss about the story, but it won't deter me from playing this game and having some Star Wars fun in the future. Will wait for a price drop mi thinks... early next year...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Temjin001
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 9:53:39 AM

It's actually a custom AA by the dev. It's been dubbed DLAA. Both PS3 and 360 have it implemented with a slight edge going to the PS3 version. THis info comes from the Digital Foundry.

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Killa Tequilla
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 6:48:26 AM
Reply

Damn I was gonna get this, o well...

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JackC8
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 8:02:19 AM
Reply

Meh. And to think I was actually imagining this would be a truly epic game. I don't know what it is with developers these days, they really have a low opinion of their customers. Advertise the hell out of it and deliver mediocrity, at $10/hour.

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Deleted User
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 10:47:41 AM
Reply

Werd. & here I thought all games were art. Why criticise a game based on your experiences with other titles? A mediocre review from a mediocre gamer.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 10:50:18 AM

I appreciate the insult, especially after the amount of work I've had to do over the past month.

The comment also makes absolutely no sense at all.

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Underdog15
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 12:36:16 PM

@Logamus_Prime
wtf?

The only game Ben compared this title to was the original... you know... the one this is a sequel to... like.... the one this game should have built upon... It's only natural to compare the two. In fact, I believe it's necessary. If this was an original IP, then no, you should not be spending a lot of time comparing.

Also, a quick phrase like "I thought all games were art." Is so vague and even a little hostile, that I'm not sure it's productive. A very deep topic that can hardly be used in whatever point you're trying to make.

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SvenMD
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 11:39:43 AM
Reply

So after spending a week on this game, I've beaten it on easy and unleashed and have 90+% on the trophies (the only one I need is the gold medal for all the challenges) and I have to say I had alot of fun with this game, but will probably never play it again.

The only real complaint I have with the game is the length, and more just the fact that there are really only 4 different locales (and 1 of them only lasts for 5 minutes!)

The gameplay does get repetitive and their is only 1 "death" animation per big droid, which makes repetitive killing even less enjoyable. The boss fights are more repetitive action sequences where you do the same thing 5 times and eventually they lose enough life to go to the next section of the fight.

As far as replay, Ben's right a 5 or LESS....Playing through on unleashed makes it more of a challenge for sure, but if playing on easy and knowing where to go, you can whip through the first level in less than 15 minutes.

As far as the challenges....they add about 1% or replay factor...but honestly they're just annoying as hell...and getting gold on each of them is becoming a pain.

As a Star Wars fan, I had to get this game...and I enjoyed it for the week. But for others, it's worth a rent and a weekend and then you'll be done with it.

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X_shadowkilla_X
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 12:26:38 PM
Reply

The game is ok...a good rent if you wanna know what happens after the first Force Unleashed....i did notice quite a few bugs/glitches....would get stuck every once in awhile without even trying to. Very low replay value.

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DjEezzy
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 1:32:05 PM
Reply

Hey Ben, I read on your twitter last month that you were going to review FIFA. Did i miss it or did you just not get around to it. Just wondering. Back on topic...
I'll gamefly this i guess. I wasn't extremely interested in the first place. I'd rather play Castlevania and Enslaved.

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Alienange
Friday, November 05, 2010 @ 10:50:17 PM
Reply

It's certainly true that graphics don't make the game. It's a shame LucasArts has never been able to make decent SW games. Perhaps they should find a different developer to take the reins.

Last edited by Alienange on 11/5/2010 10:50:59 PM

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DazeOfWar
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 12:10:14 AM
Reply

What's funny is I have a friend who bought MoH and was completely disappointed with it. Then he buys this says he wasn't happy with the purchase but it was way better then MoH. Another friend of mine said he beat it in 3 hours and he was totally pissed off with the game. Both are also huge Star Wars fans.

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