Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

Don't Be Too Proud Of This Technological Terror You've Constructed.

The Force Unleashed II brings a plethora of engines back from the original, but does it bring a better storyline?
Author: Brian Albert
Published: November 21, 2010
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If the third time really is a charm, then I'm exceedingly excited about the possibility of playing Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 3. The premiere entry in this series, though criticized for its awkward and underdeveloped gameplay, delivered a robust tale with extensive consequences that any canon-hungry Star Wars fan could consume - and slowly digest over a thousand years. In developing The Force Unleashed II (FU2), LucasArts has essentially created an inverse of the first game. Hacking away at foes with a whirling torrent of saber attacks has never felt better, but the inconsequential narrative effectively squelched any sense of immersion.

Near the start, Vader informs you that the original Starkiller has died. You, a clone of his once powerful apprentice, are haunted by visions of Juno Eclipse, Starkiller's love interest from the first game. Upon failing Vader's attempts to purge Juno from his mind, Starkiller escapes the facility and embarks on a search for identity.

This constricted narrative does not lend itself well to the series. The first game contained monumental happenings including the formation of the Rebel Alliance. FU2 keeps things small and personal, involving only a handful of characters. The far-reaching connections that anchored FU to the rest of the expansive Star Wars universe are nowhere to be found. As a result, FU2 feels more like a one-off rather than a cohesive part of something larger.

It's also worth nothing that Yoda and Boba Fett, two of the most interesting and badass characters of the Star Wars universe, were criminally underused. Their appearances are brief and fail to stem into anything significant. With such a character-centric story, why did LucasArts opt to not utilize two of the franchise's biggest personalities?

Fortunately, the combat system has seen some impressive enhancements. Starkiller now wields two lightsabers, and each one can be enhanced through the addition of discoverable saber crystals. Through their implementation, you can alter Starkiller to fit your personal playing style. Do you want to dominate foes with the force? Use lightsaber crystals that decrease force energy consumption. If you prefer to rush in with sabers swinging, it would be best to equip crystals that set enemies aflame or grant Starkiller a health bonus per execution. Also, you no longer have to purchase saber combos individually. Instead, there are three simple levels of saber proficiency to achieve, each accompanied with its own bundle of attacks.

The dash, roll, and enemy lock-on features all work properly, allowing Starkiller to skirt around enemies and dodge attacks with ease. Also, while not a major addition, the ability to dismember enemies is entertaining and exemplifies that you are, in fact, using a lightsaber and not a toy.
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