Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

The Force Unleashed II follows on from its predecessor and promises to bring gamers closer to the force than ever before

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II Use the force Luke err Starkiller
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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  December 13, 2010

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Key Specs

Number of players: 1
Online play: N
Price: $73

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2008's Star Wars: The Force Unleashed made this reviewer feel a part of the Star Wars universe like no other game before. Thus, despite the fact The Force Unleashed had a few flaws, it was one of the best games of 2008 and considering it also became one of the fastest selling Star Wars games, it's safe to say a lot of people felt the same way. When its sequel was announced, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, this reviewer, as you can imagine, couldn't wait to get his hands on it.

The Force Unleashed II opens on the planet of Kamino, with the evil Darth Vader standing over his hidden apprentice from the first game, ‘Starkiller'. You soon learn however that this isn't the same man and thus begins a journey where the player must discover the truth about Starkiller.

Having played through the full game, The Force Unleashed II's storyline, while interesting, isn't as full a package as its predecessor. This time around you spend less time interacting with characters in the world, there's simply more of a focus on Starkiller and as such it comes off a one-dimensional ride. Having said that, the various sequences where Starkiller is tormented by visions add serious emotional weight to the story.

As with the first title the ‘force' and lightsabers are what you'll rely on to dispatch enemies. The Force Unleashed II includes all of the force powers from the first game along with a few new additions; the mind trick, Force sense and Force fury. The mind trick is useful in tricky situations as it can turn humanoid foes into allies on the spot. Force sense on the other hand acts as a guidance system that shows you where to go, while the latter sends Starkiller into a rage that boosts the effectiveness of all his Force powers for a period of time. There are also a couple of grapple moves which allow Starkiller to perform a string of deadly attacks on a foe. The best part is that when you're dishing out the pain, the game zooms into the action, so you can see the damage you're inflicting up close and personal. Fantastic.  

The new additions, while welcome, don't effectively affect how you play this title in comparison to the older one. Moreover, because Starkiller is already quite strong right from when you start the game, you'll find this title isn't as challenging as its predecessor. In most cases a heavy dose of force lightning, force push and force grip will get the job done. It's also fun to watch former foes turn on their comrades after you use the mind trick on them. Like its predecessor The Force Unleashed II's force grip still suffers from a frustrating targeting system and annoying camera movement. In most cases you'll mistakenly grab the wrong object rather than the target you intended.
As you play through the game Starkiller's force abilities can be upgraded and the same can be said for the lightsaber; different colour crystals have different effects on lightsaber combat. The big change here is that you can dual-wield lightsabers and thus it's easier to decapitate and dismember foes. (This is worryingly satisfying.)

One area where The Force Unleashed II really stutters is with regard to its boss battles. They're simply too long and repetitive in terms of what you have to do and thus get boring quite quickly; you'll find yourself just waiting for them to be over rather than enjoying them.

On the presentation front Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is strong both audibly and visually. The background music fits the tone of the game and sounds exactly like what you'd expect of a Star Wars title. Droid noises, blaster fire, force lightning and other sound effects also fit the game perfectly but the crowning jewel has to be the voice acting. Samuel Witwer who voices Starkiller once again does a bang up job of conveying intense emotions in every cutscene. That said, the grunting and screams you hear from Starkiller (when he takes damage for example) are a bit too in your face and get annoying after a while.

The Force Unleashed II's visuals are superb with the best element being the diverse look and design of its environments. The palace on Cato Neimodia is perhaps the most spectacular looking environment we've seen in a game, thanks to its futuristic and richly coloured design. In contrast, when Starkiller is running around a capital ship there's precious little to see and the colours and lighting employed help convey the look of a mechanical home in space. Character animation is fantastic as well; Starkiller's facial expressions coupled with the awesome voice talents of Samuel Witwer really convey emotion and, when you're unleashing your force powers, the ensuing chaos is just awesome to watch on screen.

For: Unleashing your armada of force powers on foes will put a wide smile on your face.
Against: Not a very long game.
Verdict: Although The Force Unleashed II doesn’t overtake its predecessor in terms of storyline and overall enjoyment, it’s worth playing because there’s still plenty of fun to be had.

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