GAME NAME: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a deeply flawed game, but also a promising one, laying the foundation for what could eventually become an excellent gaming experience. With the sequel, LucasArts has managed to address some of the first game’s shortcomings but, disappointingly, also abandoned some of its strengths.
The first game featured perhaps the best Star Wars story since the original movie trilogy, so it’s disheartening to find that delightful narrative crispness missing here: the tale told by Unleashed II isn’t terrible, but it’s tepid and forgettable, feeling like a side story instead of a fully fleshed-out chapter in Starkiller’s saga. The story only takes you through a handful of locations, which is reflected in the game’s bland, repetitive environments, although this is somewhat compensated for by an increased amount of platforming.
The core gameplay has definitely been improved. Lightsabre combat is more visceral and involving; making use of Force powers during battles feels far more intuitive and satisfying. Also included are a few stunningly cinematic set-pieces which are more impressive than anything found in the first game. But recycled enemies and some overlong boss encounters work against the game, with tedium setting in before the six-hour campaign draws to a close.
A challenge mode offers shorter, more taxing play sessions which test your mastery of the game mechanics, but don’t meaningfully add to the experience. Force Unleashed II is still a far ways off from what the franchise could be, but fans of the first will no doubt still enjoy it.