254w ago - Going in to my time with Star Wars The Force Unleashed, I figured the best the game could do was recapture the fun of playing Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II on a console.
While The Force Unleashed pushes the graphics and, to some degree, the AI, forward, the experience of playing Unleashed was, as I had hoped, fairly similar to the hours of time I sank into Dark Forces II.
The game was enjoyable, at times a blast to play, but nothing that is going to shake the rock solid formula crafted by Dark Forces II.
I started my hands-on with the Xbox 360 version of the game (the PS3 version is said to be identical) playing as Darth Vader. I suspect this first introductory level is one of the only chances you get to play as the Sith mouth-breather.
The developers nailed Vader's walk, though I went from awe struck to annoyed a few minutes into the game when I realized I couldn't force Vader to sprint through the level. Instead you have to make do with his majestic, shoulder-rolling walk as he obliterates everything in his path, rocks, trees, Wookies, with a wave of the hand.
After playing the Vader level to completion, I hopped into shoes of Vader's secret apprentice and played through an entire chapter with him. Unlike Vader, whose powers are already maxed out, the apprentice needs to unlock and strengthen his abilities over time.
The game's controls are fairly straight forward, allowing you to pluck things out of the air or throw them around with the Fore. Holding down the right trigger allows you to force grab and then you use the left thumbstick to move it around, or fling it places. You can combine this with other attacks as well. You can, for instance, force grab someone and then thwack them with a light saber. Or you can electrocute them as they dangle, struggling, in front of you. I personally enjoyed grabbing someone over to me and then Force pushing them off bridges or throw the outer glass of space stations.
While the game does have a few random, and easily solved puzzles, a bulk of the game is about tearing stuff up and tormenting people.
The fun in The Force Unleashed will most definitely be found in the mixing of powers to destroy places and wipe out hordes of Storm Troopers. This Star-Wars themed sandbox of destruction is likely to suck up hours of my time when it comes out, if only because I'll be obsessing over attempts to try and perform nearly impossible acts of Force abuse, like grabbing a Tie Fighter out of mid flight and smashing it into other spacecraft.
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