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Game Over Online ~ Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

GameOver Game Reviews - Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (c) THQ Wireless, Reviewed by - Lawrence Wong

Game & Publisher Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (c) THQ Wireless
System Requirements iPod Touch or iPhone
Overall Rating 75%
Date Published Monday, October 20th, 2008 at 02:58 AM

Divider Left By: Lawrence Wong Divider Right

Star Wars: Force Unleashed takes place in between the time periods of Episode III and Episode IV when Anakin becomes Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker's emergence. During this time, Palpatine has ordered the continued persecution of the remaining Jedi knights and Vader is there to do his bidding. In Force Unleashed, you take on the role of an apprentice following the orders of Vader. Because Emperor Palpatine does not know the existence of this apprentice, the apprentice is basically tasked to eliminate everyone at the scene; friendly or not. You become the Star Wars version of a black ops hit squad.

Rather than having you tap madly at enemies in the game, the developers have taken Force Unleashed into a different direction. All movement in the game is automatic and thus, the game only stops when you encounter a skirmish or the odd environmental puzzle. At this juncture, you'll have to use the iPod/iTouch's screen to draw gestures that correspond to Force powers. The simplest command involves using your lightsaber to deflect blaster shots. This is done by drawing diagonal slashes. On the other hand, a force pull or push will require two fingers pulling in a vertical direction. Once this is executed, you'll have a nominal amount of time to draw another direction to push the enemy or item to another location. Similar commands exist for other force powers and famous ones, such as force grip, exist in the game.

Unfortunately, the way Force Unleashed is constructed, it hurries you from one scene to another in each mission. The overall feeling I get is one of a rail shooter. At the end of each mission, some kind of boss battle emerges. Once you finish a mission, the chapter becomes replayable from the main menu and the setting of the chapter then serves as a backdrop for the Survival game mode; a gauntlet type gameplay.

That said, the production values of Force Unleashed are aces across the board. The game starts off in classic Star Wars format and has plenty of sound effects and music that a licensed property has access to. I wonder sometimes when you're doing a Star Wars game whether audio is an afterthought since you have six movies worth of effects to borrow from. Force Unleashed combines a painted backdrop and animated characters together. Anything animated, like starships and the protagonist, are grainy and undetailed compared to the stunning still backgrounds. Some might point out at the disparity between the two. I wasn't too bothered by it, being a veteran of older Stars Wars games on the PC. In action, the graphics in Force Unleashed come off like the adventure games, Broken Sword. Another neat things about the graphics is its ability to be played seamlessly in portrait and landscape modes.

One of the major deficiencies of Force Unleashed is the lack of any replayability in its game design. Once you learn the force moves, taking out enemies becomes a repetitive affair. The game offers you an opportunity to repeat the storyline on difficult setting but there's little impetus to convince anyone to try that. Part of the joy of playing Force Unleashed is to absorb more of the Star Wars lore. This is something that the consoles are able to do better but with six chapters, the mobile version is not as successful at. The story isn't helped by the spotty dialogue either. The protagonist comes off as pretty stiff. And some of the Jedi masters sound more like Greedo than Obi-wan. Perhaps they're practicing to become the future rebel insurgency?


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