Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – Double Review – PS3 & Xbox 360

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May the Force be with them both

With a lot hype (good and bad) surrounding the release of the The Force Unleashed, we at Lazygamer have decided to do something a little different this time around.

To give our readers the most accurate and honest impressions of this new title, we have created our first Lazygamer Double Take. Both Philip and Myself received review copies of the game, loaded them up on their respective platforms and started hammering through the campaign.

Up until the point that I compiled this article, the two of us had not yet even seen each other’s reviews. So what you have here is two completely different people giving two separate reviews of their own different experiences with absolutely no idea what the other was thinking. We hope you enjoy the extra coverage.

The Force Unleashed sets out to reinvigorate the Star Wars franchise once again and bring forth a new generation of titles for a new generation of gamers. Does The Force Unleashed stand up or exceed the the high standards of enjoyment offered from the Star Wars titles of the past, or is it a reason to think about packing up this genre/license combination for good?

You are not going to want to miss this one. Check out both reviews on, after the jump.

The Force Unleashed Review – PS3
by Philip “The Force is strong with him” Dunkley

I hate hype around games. It ruins the experience for everyone, because you normally end up disappointed. Everyone starts nailing you for not doing this and not doing that, and it can actually end up biting the Developer in the a$$. This title was hyped, and everyone was touting a game that was going to be the one everyone’s been waiting for from the Star Wars team. Personally, I think they did well, and it is exactly what everyone was asking for.

The story goes like this. After the events of Episode III, Darth Vader is on a mission to wipe out the rest of the Jedi, and whilst on a mission, comes across a young boy, a son of a Jedi, and chooses to let him live and take him on as an apprentice. Going against the will of the Sith, he needs to keep the young apprentice a secret, and use him to wipe out the rest of the Jedi.

As the missions progress, it becomes clear that StarKiller, the name of the apprentice, is approaching a serious dilemma in his world, and his destiny is far from decided.

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Now this game plays as a third person action title, with the emphasis on physics, big emphasis. You play as StarKiller, on various missions to take out the Jedi. You will progress through a variety of worlds, and face various enemies to finally face each boss. Now here is why afore mentioned hype is a bad thing. Firstly, why LucasArts decided to release the Tie Fighter Factory as the Demo Level is beyond me, as anyone who uses this level as a judgement on the game, is missing one hell of a game. The rest of the levels in the game look amazing, and even have a few “OMG” moments. Secondly, as most people know, I steer clear of reviews before I review a game, but this one was a bit different. I saw the bad reviews before I wrote this, and people talk of Repetitive and Clipping. Let’s deal with clipping. A game based around a fully interactive world, where the player is able to move almost anything around using their force powers, is bound to have some clipping issues. Deal with it. They’re really not that bad either.

Secondly, repetitiveness is another issue. Yes, wielding a Lightsaber in a huge array of combo’s and throwing enemies all over the place is boring. That was sarcasm. Come on guys, I could do this for days on end, and the fact that you can purchase upgrades over time is really cool too. Now I must admit, at first it did bother me a bit, but the more I played, the more I loved it, and the more meticulous I became on spending my upgrade points.

This game is achieving exactly what it set out to do, and that is appealing to all audiences, hard core and casual, and it will actually bring you real reward if you allow it.

screen1.jpgThe gameplay, as mentioned, runs smoothly, and the action never stops. The way your powers are mapped on the controller is great as well. As the game progresses, you realise that certain attacks work better on certain enemies, and that picking up and throwing your enemy can not only cause big damage to the thrown enemy, but also wipe out four other guys as well. What I do have a little issue with, is the length. It took me about 8 hours to complete, which in my opinion, is a little to short.

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From a graphics point of view, the game has its ups and downs, but more ups. Some of the levels look like they’ve been rushed, but others are simply breathtaking, and the frame rate had no issues during my time playing. The animations look great as well, with character models doing a great job.

The audio side is great, and nothing beats the sound of a Lightsaber being thrust around and the sound of force powers being cast at an enemy. Also, the orchestral score is typical Star Wars, adding a level of atmosphere second to none.

Overall, this game is not going to break any records, but it’s also not bad. It serves its purpose to the tee, and actually ends up dishing out a serious amount of fun. It gets you engrossed in the story, captivated in the action and any Star Wars fan should be pleased. I recommend it, purely because it actually delivered on what I wanted, not on the hype.

Scoring:

Gameplay: 8.5/10 [Fun All Around] Presentation: 8/10 [Has its moments, but still good] Sound: 8/10 [Classic Star Wars] Value: 7.5/10 [A little short, but still compelling]

Overall: 8/10 [Despite some flaws, a worthwhile game]

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Second Opinion – Xbox 360
by Nick “I have a bad feeling about this” de Bruyne

swfuscreens.jpgThere are two things I need to state before I give you my final impression of this title. Firstly, I am a big Star Wars fan. Secondly, I was fully aware of the negative hype and low review scores that this game was receiving before sitting down to play it for myself.

While Philip is on the detailed review, I will cover a few of the games aspects and how I felt once it was all said and done.

As a Star Wars fan I was already skeptical about this title, “just another licensed letdown” I thought as I had already tried the demo and wasn’t overly impressed. Things were looking bleak before the words “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” had even come up on the screen.

Then I sat down and played it for myself.

About three hours hours into the game I had to take a moment and ask myself what in the hell all the critics were on about, because this is one hell of a game.

Granted, you should know from the start that this game suffers from a few technical issues. Clipping issues occur occasionally and the AI has the habit (although fairly rare) of getting stuck in one place.

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You will also go back to planets that you have already visited and although they are not the same levels as before, they make use of the same backdrops and themes. This is a bit of a shame because the rest of the package has a wonderful amount of polish and even though their were bugs, they aren’t nearly as game-breaking as many critics would have you believe.

This game kept me entertained for the entire ride with it’s epic setting and great use of the Star Wars license. The story fits beautifully into the Star Wars universe and actually had me excited every time a cutscene arrived. As far as visuals are concerned, the demo level really did this game no justice. The graphics are absolutely stunning, with jaw-dropping backdrops, cutscenes, special effects and a myriad of creatures and locations created by what must be a Hollywood-standard team of artists.

My initial concerns of repetitive gameplay washed away as the level-up system had me progressing and powering up my Apprentice throughout the game, always adding better and more powerful ways of disposing of anything that happened to get in my way. The force powers are a ton of fun, allowing you to mangle, maim, toss and shock the living daylights out of your enemies.

The addition of various unlockable combos can be a little intimidating at first, but once you have them dialed and have a good grasp of your force powers you will find yourself creating new and wonderful ways to teach Stormtroopers that they were created for no other reason than to feel the full extent of your wrath.

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All in all The Force Unleashed had me donning a massive grin for most of the campaign as I mowed through copious amounts of lesser-beings with my awe-inspiring powers. Never before has a game had me shouting “Pwned!” so often as I tore through legions of galactic cannon fodder. Don’t think that it’s a walk in the park though, I played through on the second difficulty setting (of four) and found it to be a good challenge throughout the nine or so hours that it took me to finish the game.

A nice surprise at the end of the game was the ability to play through the game again with your uber-apprentice, complete with all of his powers, unlocked costumes and lightsaber upgrades.

The real shocker for me at the end of the day is that I went into this review as a skeptic, I mean, all of the hype said that the game was a big disappointment. Tell me then, why is it that I had already started playing through the campaign a second time before I could tear myself away to write this review?

Final Score: 8.5/10

[ A great story combined with action-packed gameplay make up a game that I can easily recommend to anyone who is looking for a fun and interesting single player experience. If you are a big Star Wars fan then it’s a no-brainer and if you aren’t you should still take a look. ]

Last Updated: September 18, 2008

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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