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.

  • Thank you for rating the Endor dlc well and stating it was worth more than 1 dollar.However,you have now pushed it way too far and really pissed me off by giving it a 3/10 rating.Concerning how often you see Boba Fett,well you don’t see him too often in episode 5:The Empire Strikes back either.I will admit if you just like Star Wars because it is science fiction and not because you are a true Star Wars fan who knows the movies,book,history,etc. in every detail,then tfu 2 may be a little confusing.for such people who are not true fans I am sorry,the proper rating should then honestly be 6/10.For a fan rating it should be 10/10.If you want to be difficult about Dagobah and the length of the game, then fine,maybe a 7-9/10 rating.It is very difficult to continue tfu saga with Starkiller presumably dead at the end of the first game,so generally,don’t even dare criticize the story which is in all honesty,bloody fantastic.Oh,you say it doesn’t solve if he is a clone or not…….that is the whole bloody point of SUSPENSE.And logically,I think,he is not a clone.They can’t continue draining blood out of a dead guy who is not living for his body to replenish the lost blood,considering there was a hell of a lot of cloned Starkillers.There were very awesome bosses other than the gorog,but obviously you started on the easiest difficulty and just zoomed through the game without paying attention,so that is your own fault.I am just being defensive about the game,no offense to any one on the other side.

    • You are obviously entitled to your own opinion, hence why I approved your comment. I know Boba Fett didn’t appear much in the original films, my point is simply that he was thrown in here just to throw in Boba Fett, they could of easily put IG-88 or Bosk or any bounty hunter in that role; it was completely interchangeable. I also felt the Dagobah/Yoda scene was largely pointless, (there is not much to it and we already saw that same scene in Empire) I mean really, why make it a level and not just a cut scene? And I’m sorry, but by the end of the game I no longer want to be in suspense of whether the main character is a clone or not, and while I agree they likely would of found some explanation to say that he wasn’t, the story had absolutely no resolution at the end (and yes, you could argue that Empire had no definitive resolution, but at that point it was also known there was for sure a third film coming, there have been countless rumors that FU3 has been canceled before it was started. To make it more appropriate it would be like if by the end of Return of the Jedi we still weren’t sure if they were going to get Han out of carbonite.) The first game’s story was fantastic and made up for some sloppy game play, this one just felt lazy, and to clarify, I was not confused by the story but rather very disappointed. (And I played through it on the highest default difficulty, I never play games on easy). And yes, how can you not comment on a 4-5 hour campaign from a full retail-disc release? (Don’t forget, here we do take into consideration the “value” of a game on several levels, we openly admit to taking price and length into consideration) Add to it that they did practically nothing to fix the sloppy and sometimes so-so controls of the game you end up with a graphically improved but otherwise downgraded version of the first game. Is tossing Storm Troopers through the air still cool? Of course, but that game already existed and at the end of the day I just didn’t feel like SWFU2 really did anything to improve what was honestly a mixed experience the first time around.

  • Fair enough,I do believe it could be longer.Okay,maybe they could have made the story a little different.I just think without knowing the plot to tfu 2,if Lucasarts told me to make a part 2 with Starkiller still alive somehow,I would really be stuck.So maybe you didn’t like the story,but I have seen lots of people leave positive comments on tfu 2 official fan page on facebook.I will admit quite a few people didn’t like it at all.To me if you really ask me to criticize the game I would start by saying after the battle with the Gorog,the game perhaps did decline considerably.You stated the Salvation looked like any other ship in tfu 1.Well I honestly didn’t notice as most Star Wars ships all look very similar in all movies,even different classes.Concerning the salvation I think you will agree with me on this part.The first part of the Salvation is,I would say,90% similar to the second part,only with slag and fire blazing after the battle over Kamino,unless he was goin back to a certain point for some reason(which i didn’t notice).That for me was a disappointment,but i did like the game so I just overlooked that.Dagobah level,when I saw a positive comment of a fan only wishing Dagobah were longer,I honestly thought he meant it was as long as Cloud City or the Imperical(this was before I got it for Christmas).When I played it I didn’t think he actually meant 1 walkway.They should have made it a cinematic,I agree with you there.Concerning Yoda,I saw somewhere on the discussion page some guy stated that he was confused with the Yoda part until he read the book,which described the event more intricately,and I know what you will say,”Why didn’t they include that into the game?”which i have to agree.I haven’t read it but am looking for part 1 and 2.And concerning Junno surviving on the light side ending,again I am stating what I saw on facebook,some people were discussing if a jedi/sith loved someone deeply enough,they could give that deceased person back their life.Forgot the books that they read it from.I have only read The Courtship of Princess Leia and that was a little more off the point than tfu 2,but still very good.So from this they based it largely on the books of Star Wars also(excluding tfu 2) I think.Perhaps they want to further strengthen the bond between the movies and books linking them all as Star Wars history.Forgive me if i am wrong,it just seems to be that way from what i can see.I didn’t notice so-so controls.It was more impressive for me.Uncharted 2 only had a few more weapons and melee combos with largely the same controls.It was longer though.So there I didn’t really expect more from tfu 2.Mind trick was nice and quite amusing so I disagree with you there,and it is in the movies so it’s not like they added something strange.Star Wars tfu 1 page on facebook updated fans that a part three was being made.I hope they are.They need to make it longer than part 1,which was too short for me even though I still loved it.Honestly,if Degobah were longer and were there a prelude it would be the same length.They could include more droid bosses,perhaps an assassin droid like proxy with light sabers,four like Grievas to make it intimidating…anyway just giving ideas to give hope for a part 3.I still think 3/10 is very harsh and undeserving considering they did take fan feedback into account.I looked this up on google,”positive ratings for star wars the force unleashed 2″,and found one of the pages,forgot which one,which stated they played part 1 together with part 2 and found it much better than the fist one.their only complaints were as follows:catwalk pathways,a problem with both 1 and 2,and part 2 didn’t take us on a grand tour of the Star Wars universe,but good story otherwise.Even with my own criticism,I still feel the whole game was very enjoyable.It would actually be the perfect length for a movie if you add a little more story and cut the majority of the gaming part out.Going back to episode 5 it didn’t take us on a grand tour either.There was only Hoth,Degobah,and Cloud City.I know,you will say the the story was a lot better with real suspense.The book appears to be helpful to the story.Here now I speak for the stories sake,not the game.Yea they could have put IG-88,I guess Boba Fett is feels more familiar and sentimental to the movies.

  • The site that I stated giving a positive review earlier was played both games in order from tfu1-tfu2 in a short space of time and saw the great improvements in tfu 2.I think this game is getting criticized badly because people haven’t played tfu 1 in a while and don’t notice the monumental improvements in tfu 2.As for the story,that is just the way it goes,they wouldn’t have much left to include in part 3 if it was explained in a longer part 2.Boba Fett actually does fit in quite well.After all,you need a very good bounty hunter to track down someone like Starkiller.

  • Sorry to be monotonous,red faction armageddon is 4 hours long as also is vanquished 4-5 hours,so i think all game companies should give fuller games.Story of this game is not bad,you very harsh with it.With an evil clone included is just like Heir to the Empire’s novel clone Joruus C’baoth(the evil clone of Jorus C’Baoth).In the long run…they are following canon very very precisely.

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