|System: Xbox 360, PS3, 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 characters 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 Starkillers skills but also bring one of the games flaws sharply into focus.
Every time you want to access the menu to upgrade your characters 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. Whats 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 Vaders glossy black suit and every wrinkle accounted for on Emperor Palpatines 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 wont disappoint either, with lightning arcing in every direction and tons of objects scattering from force pushes. While you wont mistake the games 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.
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 wont want to miss. Add to that a huge helping of fan service waiting to be discovered (no spoilers) and youve 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 shouldnt be overlooked, whether you are a fan of Star Wars or not.
CCC Staff Contributor