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February 2009
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Put the Force Back on its Leash

Finished Star Wars: the Force Unleashed on Friday.  I guess I thought it was going somewhere bigger than this.  Let me start with the non-spoiler comments, and then I’ll get into the details behind spoiler tags.

I need to return for a second to the complaint I had about cutscenes last time.  Worse than just the jarring effect of switching between engine-rendered and pre-rendered graphics, is when your pre-rendered cutscene does not represent your character.  Why would you let a player customize his character (costume, lightsaber color) if your cutscene doesn’t reflect that?  Neither the costume changes, nor the lightsaber customization have any real effect (although they claim the lightsaber crystals boost certain traits, it’s not apparent).  But they let you do it because, well, it’s Star Wars, and who doesn’t want their lightsaber to match their earrings?

Seriously, though.  Either color-change your pre-rendered cutscenes or don’t let me change my lightsaber color.  Or, you know, just use your game engine and dodge the whole problem.

The highlights of the game are, in this order:

1. Telekinesis.  They might have pulled it off even better than Psi-Ops.  Because dude, who wouldn’t want telekinesis?

2. Sam Witwer.  He’s a good actor and, like I said in my first post on the game, brings a lot of life to Starkiller.  And the best part is that in modern video games, you really can see emotion on the character’s faces.  This is no 8-polygon-face GoldenEye 007.

3. They have a demo so you don’t have to buy the game.  Seriously.  Don’t buy it.  Rent it if you have to, but the replayability is limited to people who like to collect every hidden item in the game.  And really, only some of those people.  See, I’m one of those people.  I love collecting achievements.  But this game is just not good enough for me to play through looking for glowy holocrons.

And here’s the bad news:

1. Dumb ending.  I’m always critical of game endings because they must be both more epic than the rest of the game, and appropriate to the character.  This one was neither.  Shitty boss fight, no real twist, unrewarding.

2. The boss fights are all bad.  The game is fun when you’re chopping through a group of enemies (except Purge Troopers, who are boring).  But the bosses are all very, very bad.

3. It’s barely worth renting.  I’d suggest judging based on the demo, like I did.  See, I only really liked the game in my first post.  By the time I’d posted a second time, the game was starting to irritate me.  By this, the third post, I’m done with the game.

4. Too short.  I work full time, I cook and clean my apartment, and I don’t get much time to play.  But I beat it in three work days.

Now for the spoilers: show spoilers

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