Force Unleashed II Review
I recently got Force Unleashed II and I thought I would write a review.
I opened this game full of expectations. I love Star Wars. I’ve loved it since I was a boy. Unfortunately, this game proves once again that Star Wars is something best left to people other than Lucas Arts.
Before I get into everything I don’t like about this game, I should start with some positives.
It is gorgeous - absolutely gorgeous. Certain parts of the game are finally approaching that long sought after boundary of movie-like realism and the second level on Cato Nemodia is as beautiful as anything I have ever seen in any game. It is pure Star Wars in terms of look and feel, someplace new, and breathtaking.
There is also a little cannon advancement for the true Star Wars geeks out there as well.
On the down side though:
1. It is much too short. The game has 4 very large levels, but, going through the first time takes only about five or six hours. Once your guy is macked out, the whole game can be played in about four hours.
2. The largest level is pretty boring. You go through the bowels of a Republic Frigate. This gets to one of my pet peeves about Star Wars in general and this game in specific. I get that Lucas has this notion of people trapped in the belly of a giant machine and that visually, everything mechanical is on on a cyclopean scale to be a metaphor for being lost in a sterile, uncaring and technological world. Yet, enough with the bottomless pits on space ships. It isn’t like you could use that space for - ohhh more supplies, a squadron of fighters and fuel, a walk in closet for Godzilla… Nope - bottomless pits it is… More importantly, enough with bizarre layouts on ships - like engine rooms that the crew could not survive in, with random gouts of fire, or plasma or whatever coming out of the floor, or that to cross, one needs to jump 30 ft in the air, cross a cat walk, avoid the space leopard, and then climb down a chute. As one is busy doing these run jump puzzles, it is hard to imagine how if it is difficult for a Jedi to get from one side of engineering to another, the engineers do it at all. This peeves me as much as in Star Trek, where if they can beam over to the bad guy’s ship, they never beam over a nuke. No, instead they send over two guys armed with sidearms…
3. Run jump puzzles. No really, trying to go up, down and through (or fall to your death and try again - and again - they make it dark so you can’t tell where the ledges are - as part of the “challenge”) for any more than one part of one game section - where it makes sense to have to do so, is not fun.
4. Button mashing. It is one thing to have set pieces where you must push x not to die (that is bad enough) but routines where you have to repeatedly push a button as fast as you can are just obnoxious.
5. The light saber is again too weak in comparison to everything else. If something gets hit with a light saber, it better have a very good reason for not dying. While small units, storm troopers etc dismember nicely in this version, the light saber combat is unrewarding. There are combos one can learn, however, the really good ones are way too long, as in way too many button pushes, require perfect timing on the button mashing and frequently get you tagged by someone else while you are trying to do them. As such, you go through the game really only using a few basic combos.
6. Rock scissors paper balance. This unit shrugs off x but if you use y they cry. That unit shrugs off y but hates z etc… For any given situation, there really is only one way to do it optimally, or even remotely efficiently. I would prefer to use my own favorite things to be my own style of Jedi, and honestly, mind tricking opponents feels like cheating. But, there are certain parts where that is basically what you must do.
7. The Challenges… If I want to do something again and again until I memorize the perfect sequence of button pushes (and get the timing just so) or beat a buzzer - I will play Japanese games.
So all in all, for the four to six hours of game play this offers, it was entertaining enough, that I don’t feel utterly ripped off, but, this game is hardly the awesome thing Star Wars fans had hoped for. It also is not likely worth the $60, unless you are one of those diehards who will swallow anything Lucas gives you and you feel compelled to defend the Clone Wars movie and Episode I.