Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii | PS2 | PSP | DS
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed box art
System: PS3, Xbox 360, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Lucas Arts 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Lucas Arts 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

The combat in The Force Unleashed is fairly deep and is constantly kept feeling fresh by leveling up your character’s abilities. When you level up through combat or find the random holocrons scattered throughout levels, you will be given spheres that can be used to purchase more force powers, combos, and abilities. Players will attain spheres rather frequently, which help to quickly improve Starkiller’s skills but also bring one of the game’s flaws sharply into focus.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed screenshot

Every time you want to access the menu to upgrade your character’s abilities, lightsaber, or change your outfit, you are met with a five to ten second loading screen. The same happens whenever you exit these menus as well. The rate at which you acquire upgrades is incredibly fast, making these incessant loading screens insanely annoying. What’s worse is when you want to change your look with newfound outfits, the game will make you reload from your last save. While the game does a fairly good job automatically saving after major events, making players reload just because they want to swap garb is completely asinine.

Even with these slight issues, The Force Unleashed is still a great game. Visually, this game is a delight. The characters look incredible, with light realistically reflecting off of Vader’s glossy black suit and every wrinkle accounted for on Emperor Palpatine’s evil mug. Starkiller himself successfully displays a wide range of emotions through facial expressions, and his many interesting outfits are full of intricate details, even while flapping freely in the wind. The worlds you visit all look great, from the forests of Kashyyyk to the vibrant, fungus-covered home of Shaak Ti. These backdrops look like you would expect, with nice touches like a plethora of floating junk and killer plants that make them feel authentic. Force powers won’t disappoint either, with lightning arcing in every direction and tons of objects scattering from force pushes. While you won’t mistake the game’s cutscenes for live action video, it is clear that much time and effort was spent making them every bit as good, if not better than many new CG films, including the recently released Clone Wars.

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For Star Wars fans, there is a lot here to love. The game looks great, controls well, is fun to play, and has a great storyline that you won’t want to miss. Add to that a huge helping of fan service waiting to be discovered (no spoilers) and you’ve got one of the best Star Wars games in recent memory. Despite its few minor flaws, The Force Unleashed is truly an excellent and entertaining experience that shouldn’t be overlooked, whether you are a fan of Star Wars or not.

By Adam Brown
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.5
Graphics
Detailed character models populate excellently recreated, well known Star Wars locales full of destructible objects, with some impressive looking force powers to boot.
4.2
Control
Using and combining force powers is a breeze, and lightsaber combat is fairly deep and satisfying as well.
4.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
While many of the main characters aren’t voiced by their original actors, their replacements do an admirable job of sounding similar. You can also expect to hear most of the Star Wars tunes we’ve all come to recognize from the films.
4.0
Play Value
The Force Unleashed is a fairly lengthy experience, clocking in somewhere between eight to ten hours to complete. While there aren’t any modes besides the single-player campaign to be had, players who want to see both of this game’s endings and find all the secrets hidden throughout the game will definitely get their money’s worth out of this title.
4.3
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • The power of the Force: The core powers of the Force can be upgraded throughout the game. Use Force push, grip, repulse, and lightning in powerful combinations. Force grip an enemy in mid-air, zap them with lightning, and then throw them to the ground.
  • Familiar and new universe elements: Interact with familiar characters such as Darth Vader and new adversaries such as fugitive Jedi and Force-sensitive Felucians. Visit locations including Episode III's Wookiee homeworld Kashyyyk, the floral Felucia, the junk planet Raxus Prime, and an Imperial TIE Fighter construction facility.
  • New technologies: The game debuts Pixelux's Digital Molecular Matter system that incorporates the physical properties of items in the environment, making wood break like wood, and glass to shatter like glass. The game also features Natural Motion Ltd.'s euphoria, a revolutionary behavioral simulation engine enabling characters to move, act, and even think like actual human beings.


  • Screenshots / Images
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