Review: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 takes place shortly after the events of the first game, with a fledgling rebellion just starting to take hold, scattered and in desperate need of an early victory. The protagonist, Starkiller, spoiler alert who was presumed dead at the end of the first game is in some sort of training facility, oh wait, it’s a cloning facility, so this is a Starkiller clone, possibly, but then he escapes to help the rebellion, only he kind of doesn’t because he only cares about Juno, oh and Boba Fett is there, sort of, and Yoda, briefly, oh and Starkiller is dealing with some serious stuff and is kind of emotional right now so he probably needs some alone time. Yeah, that about sums up the narrative of Force Unleashed 2.
To say The Force Unleashed 2 is completely uninspired would be untrue, the game was clearly inspire by the large amount of money the first game made. Now, to be fair, the first title was far from perfect: the camera killed your more often than enemy AI, and the targeting system was faulty at best, but the game managed to still be entertaining with a story line that blew many Star Wars fans away (managing to fit incredibly well into the pre-established cannon) and gave us the opportunity to explore large sections of the Star Wars universe as a lightsaber wielding, lighting shooting, force gripping Sith/Jedi bad-ass. I would go so far as to say that all Lucasarts really had to do with the sequel was provide the same quality narrative of the first and fans would of jumped for joy, even if some of the broken game mechanics were left largely untouched. Unfortunately though the narrative is weak when it is at its’ very best, even going so far as failing to resolve the “is he a clone?” question the entire story is based on, and then they still failed to update much on the game play side of things. (Their updates can be best summed up as having added “Jedi Mind Trick” to the repertoire and improved graphics.) In fact, most of the game suffered down-grades
There are significantly less environments this time around. Rather than exploring various worlds and experiencing epic boss battles, Force Unleashed 2 takes us to only four distinct locations, one of which hardly even counts as a level and serves almost no point (I speak here of the Dagobah level, which I’m sorry to say, wasn’t a level at all; simply Yoda’s hut and some trees/fog.) Even more disappointing is that one of these locations is the inside of a Rebel Frigate and it looks exactly like the inside of any ship from the first game. The game then ends by returning us to the exact same place we start the game, and while we are in a different area of the world, the look and feel is essentially identical. As for boss battles, prepare to be let down again. There is basically only one of note, and other than a lack of direction is fairly simple to defeat. You do of course fight Vader, again, but this drawn out final battle of the game literally takes a half hour to finish and is so lacking in any sort of entertainment value that you will loathe having to play it again to see the alternate ending. Additionally the upgrade system has been simplified to simply adding up-to-three points to your Jedi abilities and that is it. The lightsaber has been essentially doubled, in that with two sabers comes two crystals you can customize, but the options are pretty much identical to what was offered in the first. The “Jedi Mind Trick” addition was interesting, but quite frankly I felt that it took away from the whole “being a Jedi” thing since you use it in the game to convince troopers to jump to their death or shoot each other. Otherwise the game plays exactly like the first one did, camera and targeting system included.
The Juno character has maybe three lines in the entire game, and General Koto is also sidelined to nothing more than a instructional voice for a couple of levels as well. There are far less “big” (and more difficult) enemies than the previous game, and basically you spend the entire campaign just sending Storm Troopers to their death with the occasional slightly more difficult enemy here and there. The level design is not only lacking in variation, but most of it is very uninspired, in fact I can’t really recall more than one or two areas that were of enough size to wander around much, as most of the game consist of a fairly straightforward path to take. Ignoring Starkiller’s sudden emo side for most of the game is unfortunately impossible; since most of the game it was like listening to Ron Burgundy after the bad man punted Baxter. The game’s biggest fault though? That would have to be the incredibly, almost pathetically short length of this “full retail” title. It is borderline insulting that they charged $60 for this 4-5 hour campaign. Forgiveness, we could give, had the campaign been amazing, but the writing would make even some fan fiction authors blush with embarrassment. So much potential, so totally wasted.
The game’s best saving grace is oddly enough found in the Endor DLC, which is available for all of $1. In this mission, which takes place after the game’s “Darkside” ending, you travel to Endor and hand out some Rebel ass-kicking during the ground battle that takes place in Return of the Jedi. The environment is well designed, the enemies are plentiful, and you even get to punt Ewoks (yes, you read that right). You also take on Han and Chewie as well as a surprisingly formidable Princes Leia. The DLC actually reminded me what I liked about the first game, and reinforced many of the points for where the 2nd game completely and totally failed. I would actually recommend Force Unleashed II as a rental from Gamefly simply to play through the DLC as it is more than worth a $1. The rest of the game… well lets just say that the force is not strong with this one.
Final Rating: 3/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Xbox 360
Approximate Time to Completion: ~4-5 hours
Gamer Score Earned: 120/1200G
Price Bought at: N/A – Gamefly rental
Current Price: $20-$60
Recommend Purchase Price: Maybe for under $10, but I recommend you rent instead of buy.