2010 Reviews

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

  • Review Date: 2014-05
  • Release Date: 2010-10
  • Developer: LucasArts
  • Rating: 6.5

The first Force Unleashed, released in 2008 on consoles and 2009 on PC, was a surprisingly decent game, even better than the last Star Wars game - Republic Commando from 2005. Good combat, decent story and some unique worlds. But the sequel to The Force Unleashed, released just two years later in 2010, is a pretty lackluster experience. We've gone from eight hours to barely five hours and really only three distinct areas, although none of them are particularly impressive for a 2010 game.

LucasArts phoned this one in. Was there not enough budget? Not enough time given to get a full sequel done? The first game had plenty of room for improvement but in most areas LucasArts have just gone backwards. The one area they didn't is the combat. TFU had issues with targetting enemies, but TFU2 is much more free-flowing, allowing you to basically hit wherever you happen to aiming. Mouse movement is fast, in fact the combat is all very fast. Right off the bat you get all your force powers. Lightning attacks, the ability to levitate objects and throw them - including enemies, and Force Push which is kind of like a sonic boom the blows everything away. Then you've still got light saber attacks and a few quite effective, but simple, combos if you string saber hits with one of your force powers. It all adds up to a very effective fighting game. I just played Arkham Asylum, but TFU2's melee combat actually is quite a lot more fun. You also hardly ever run out of powers, with a very quick recharge time. There are a lot of enemies that can block force attacks so you have to combine them with saber and combo attacks, but those that can't are just fodder to like lighting attacks.

The game kick-starts with you playing as a clone of Starkiller. How all of this came to be is never even explained - in fact you never really find out if you're actually a clone or Starkiller himself, but you've certainly got all the same powers. So the entire game is running away from Darth Vader, he kidnaps your girlfriend, so you run back to save her, sacrificing the entire war against the Rebellion just to save her. The ending is about what you'd expect - absolute rubbish.

The graphics of TFU2 are poor. You'll instantly notice everything being slightly fuzzy, especially character models, instead of sharp and focused. I went into the setting to try and get things looking better, but there was nothing. This is obviously how the game is supposed to look. The engine is the same as in the first game, and at a guess I'd say LucasArts have really done nothing to improve it since then, so TFU2 ends up with graphics a few years old. Intensified by bland level design and art. Just about all the levels take place on exterior floating platforms. A quick couple of rooms then back out to more copy/pasted platforms. Even the backgrounds aren't inspiring. The textures are all very plain and feel like they have a sheen going over them, absolutely everywhere.

By 2010 standards, visually, nothing in this game will impress you. The story is silly. The length of 5 hours or less is a rip off and worse when you realise that 1/4 of the game is taken up by 3-4 boss battles that just drag on for far too long. Only the combat in TFU2 is rewarding.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II