PS3 Review – Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

Let’s face the truth: the original Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a mediocre game. You see, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was successful on one front – it was a ‘cool’ Star Wars game. We’ve all wanted to use the force to crush anything and everything in view. Lucasarts capitalized on that fantasy but apparently forgot to make the game truly worth playing. But can the game’s sequel improve upon its flaws, or is this yet another blunder in the Force?

Unlike the first game, Starkiller’s character model looks fantastic and is detailed to the last fold in his mighty Jedi robes. The way he controls and ‘paints’ the screen with his dual lightsabers is a thing of beauty. Lucasarts wisely added some slick motion-blur effects to every attack as Starkiller now looks like an authentic Jedi this time around, quickly slashing the arms and limbs off of every stormtrooper in sight, instantly cauterizing their wounds in the process. The euphoria engine has been updated, as animations in the game are better than ever. Need proof? Go shock a jet-pack trooper and watch as he swirls about the screen, grasping for dear life.

Gameplay is way more enjoyable this time around and has evolved in a few ways. The game now injects your force powers into combos which helps make gameplay easier. You can now grapple enemies for a quick and enjoyable death sequence. The Force ‘Rage’ mode is like any other game’s crazy mode. Your meter slowly builds up as you slay thousand’s upon thousand’s of hapless Stormtroopers during your journey to save Juno and, when full, you can unleash some wicked Jedi powers.

Combat is now more fluid, meaning less of a reliance on force powers, due to the fact that Starkiller is a master with his dual sabers. However, it never felt like he was using two sabers at once. It felt like it still took the same amount of hits to kill enemies as it did in the first game and, all in all, it seemed more cosmetic than adding to the overall gameplay. The best new addition to gameplay? The ‘free fall’ moments during the game. Watching Starkiller plummet to the ground with unlimited force powers was an absolute blast and later on, it comes into effect big time as you control a falling ship to the earth below.

The Storyline is horrible. Simply horrible. After an initial bit of cloning confusion and a generic interstellar damsel-in-distress scenario, nothing important or eventful happens in the entire game. SW:TFU showed the birth of the rebellion, how it came to be, and how Starkiller’s family symbol became theirs. You even learned that the Empire accidentally helped start The Rebellion so that they could squash any chance of a rebellion.

The storyline for TFU II feels more like an ‘Infinities’ storyline and not a sequel to the series. Starkiller is ”back”. Yoda and Boba Fett’s make fleeting appearances that are simply wasted. Yoda has a minute of dialogue, with Boba sharing the same fate. It feels as if the team wanted to add the two icons just for shock value and nothing else. Even Darth Vader is relegated to the beginning and the end of the game. It seems he simply waits at one location the entire game waiting for your inevitable return, which makes very little sense, as does the rest of the dull storyline – which only lasts around 5 hours.

When the final Stormtrooper is slain, only one word comes to mind that describes Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II: disappointing. For what could have been a step forward for the series has now become a step back. Everything that the sequel does right including improved gameplay and graphics, doubles in what it did wrong. Storyline, boss battles, length of game, linearity. The only replay value the game contains is beating it on higher difficulty and the challenge modes. That is all. No multiplayer or online rankings to speak of. Do yourself a favor and rent, not buy, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+ Much improved graphics and gameplay.

– Boring, uneventful storyline.

– Incredibly short; can be beat in 5 hours or less.

6 out of 10