Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed box art
System: X360, PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: LucasArts 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: LucasArts 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 16, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

October 12, 2007 - As source material for a game, Star Wars is a veritable gold mine. Look at all of the games that have come from that franchise even in the simpler days of Atari. There is also an amazing variety of games, including strategy games, platformers, RPGs, and action games. It is amazing that the games aren't even slowing after years of tapping the Star Wars universe for inspiration. Even now, Star Wars fans are anticipating their leap to next gen, which for them, fortunately, isn't that far off with the announcement of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed screenshot

Footage from The Force Unleashed surfaced a while ago, exciting gamers with incredible footage showing off next-gen visuals of a Jedi (or Sith) using Force powers with reckless abandon on hapless Storm Troopers. This footage nearly incited Star Wars fans to riot, as it showcased awesome physics effects never before used or seen in a Star Wars game. The possibilities and potential presented was obvious and exciting. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is the game that was being visualized and, from what has been revealed, is definitely worth the hype and anticipation of Star Wars lovers.

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The Force Unleashed takes the what-if approach of Darth Vader possessing a secret protégé that he is rearing to assassinate the Emperor. Taking place between Star Wars Episodes III and IV, the game places the player in the role of this secret (and yet unnamed) apprentice as he increases in power while completing tasks for his Sith Master. Many of these tasks involve hunting and killing existing Jedi since the game will occur during the time when Jedi are scattered and in hiding since Vader's destruction of the Order.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed screenshot

The Force Unleashed is a single player action game that starts the player as an unnamed but powerful Sith assassin. Obviously, considering the title, a lot of the emphasis in the game is on manipulating and utilizing Force abilities. However, these abilities are much more powerful than we've seen before, as indicated by the 'Unleashed' portion of the title. The Force Push doesn't just knock a foe onto their feet, it flings them through the air like a cannonball. In addition to Force Push, the player will be able to utilize other Force abilities like Force Grip, Force Lightning, and Force Repulse, a new power that sends a shockwave throughout the immediate area.

The player also gains ability points from defeating foes that can be used to upgrade Force Powers. Force Lightning, for example, can be upgraded to chain more foes and to deal more damage as the player's skill increases. There are also a number of passive skills that can be upgraded as well, such as the ability to deflect blaster shots. At lower levels, a certain percentage of shots will get past the player's defenses, but as that ability increases, that percentage will grow smaller. The ability to use powers is regulated by a Force meter which will deplete if the abilities are used constantly and must be recharged, which keeps the game from degenerating into a button mashing Force power affair.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed screenshot

The use of Euphoria, a tool that is also being used in the upcoming Indiana Jones title, makes utilizing the Force much more satisfying. Euphoria gives characters a central nervous system that reacts realistically to the environment. This means that a Stormtrooper may dodge right or left to avoid objects Force thrown at them if they think that they can effectively move out of the object's path. If they don't think they have time, they may brace for impact, holding their arms in front of them. If blasted with Force Push, the Trooper might grab a ledge or anything else nearby to prevent himself from falling. In addition to this level of realism, all objects in the game are also fashioned to react realistically as well. Wood splinters and shatters when stressed, while metal may dent under the same stress.

The Force Unleashed will also take a page from the popular Knights of the Old Republic and allow the player to make certain story-altering decisions throughout the course of the game. The Star Wars universe is always emphasizing the morality of clashes like dark vs. light, Sith vs. Jedi, and good vs. bad, so we expect to see this manifest in the game as well with certain morality choices that come in effect in the game. Although details about the actual way this takes place in the game haven't been released, the choices will definitely affect the game's story and possibly the ending.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed screenshot

One element of gameplay that is extremely exciting is the battles against the Jedi. Since the character is charged with assassinating Jedi, the player can expect some epic Force battles between the character and the hunted Jedi. Also, there is the possibility of these battles translating to the online arena and allowing multiplayer versus battles. Details on this aspect of gameplay are also scarce, but the potential for next-gen Jedi battles is exciting for any gamer who's ever watched and loved a Star Wars movie.

Everyone who loves Star Wars should understand how important this game is for Star Wars lore. The game will explore a secret, previously untouched era of the popular series and will evince secrets about Darth Vader (with hints that Darth Vader may actually even become playable at some point!). Because of its exclusive story elements, the game is given attention comparable to the movies, with a toy line, a comic book, a novel, and even extensive marketing to push the game. While the game looks incredible, its importance in the scheme of the Star Wars canon should ensure that we can expect the very best Star Wars experience they can give. Look for the Force to be Unleashed in November.

By D'Marcus Beatty
CCC Former Co-Site Director

Features:

  • First Star Wars experience on next-gen consoles.
  • Use your Force powers in new, never before seen ways!
  • New technologies such as euphoria (a behavioral simulation engine from NaturalMotion) and Digital Molecular Matter (a breakthrough in environmental interaction by Pixelux Entertainment) combine to revolutionize the feeling of realism in a game without the limitations of traditional animation, ensuring a completely unique experience every time.
  • For the first time ever, euphoria enables interactive characters to move, act and even think like actual human beings without canned animations dictating their movements. Characters move and adapt realistically to their given situations on the fly, resulting in a series of experiences and payoffs that will never be the same twice.
  • New and revolutionary story revealing an unexplored era of Star Wars history.

  • Screenshots / Images
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