Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Force Unleashed - Review

I finished The Force Unleashed for the PS3 last night, and I have to say that a lot of my original impressions still hold true after completing the game.

This is the first time since I turned on invincibility in Lego Star Wars that I really felt like I was playing Darth Vader. It's great to just walk in and start owning the place. It's also nice to see the Apprentice use the run and gun approach instead of trying to manipulate things. That aspect of the game was really fun.

The game was a bit longer than the 6 to 8 hours I've heard, all though not a lot more.

I still love the camera. I love having control of it. My wife, however, hated it. She didn't like having to keep track of that at the same time as the rest of the game. To each his own, I guess. What bugged me though is that the camera control went away as soon as you start a boss fight. During one of the fights there was a pillar in the way, and I couldn't see myself. I was even able to run completely off the screen on more than one occasion.

There were a few other things though that I didn't like, and I've read about them elsewhere also.

Let's go back a bit to the trailer. The Apprentice just reached up and pulled a Star Destroyer out of the sky. Freakin' awesome. That was the moment when we knew we wanted to play this game. Well, fast forward to the present, when you actually get to do this, and it's not so much fun. For some inexplicable reason, you have to turn the Star Destroyer so it's pointed directly at you before you can bring it down. That wouldn't be quite so difficult, except they keep sending waves of Tie Fighters at you, so you can't target the Destroyer without blasting them first. And since the targeting system wasn't really designed for things that are far away, it's pretty much a pain in the neck. By the time you get rid of the Fighters, the Destroyer has moved back to where it was, and you start over.

The targeting system does have its share of bugs. If the guy you're after throws a grenade, you're going to target that grenade instead. The manual said you can lock on to a target, but I could never get it to work. The box around your target is a facing polygon, which makes perfect sense, except I'm pretty sure it faces the character, not the camera. So when the camera goes weird on you during a boss fight, the character may be facing the camera, and you can't see the targeting system anymore.

Overall the game was actually quite good, there were just a few things that really bugged me. Now, I've never been a game tester, so I don't know exactly how it works in those places, but you would think that someone would have them go through the game and answer one simple question about each map: Was it fun?

One thing that I really liked was the story. It's awesome to see games that really do have a plot behind them, along with some great character development. It really is a whole new chapter in the Star Wars saga, one that's quite a bit better than the prequels.

If you do go play the game (which I suggest if only so you can have some real fun with the lightning), head on over to Xbox.com for some hints. They're quite helpful, and they apply to the game in general, not just the Xbox.

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