When George Lucas first made Star Wars in the mid 70s he never would have dreamed that it would become the cultural phenomenon that it did. From it he was able to build an empire in films, special effects companies, cloths, toys, animated series, books and video games.
Since the Star Wars Battlefront series went under, the focus on Star Wars video games has shifted to a new series with an new approach to it. The game in question is The Force Unleashed.
The game opens with Darth Vader hunting a fugitive Jedi on the Wookie home-world of Kashyyyk. After a battle with the Wookiees and a fight with the Jedi, Vader kills the Jedi only to discover his son and takes him as his apprentice. Trained in secret from the Emperor, several years pass and the Secret Apprentice's training is complete. As a final test, Vader sends the Apprentice to hunt down and kill remaining fugitive Jedi and sends events to motion that lead the Apprentice to questions his loyalties to Vader and the forming of the Rebel Alliance. The plot, in my opinion, was great and made it a worthy edition to the Star Wars series.
The Game Play
The game tends to follow a hack and slash type of game play similar to that of God of War. Each level tends to be a Point A to Point B type thing with a boss fight at the end of each. The Force powers in the game are incredibly fun to use but are, for the most part, unoriginal. You have your traditional Force Push and Force Lightning, along with the Saber Throw, (invented in earlier Star Wars games), and Force action sequences such as pulling a Star Destroyer out of the sky or slicing an AT-ST in half. The best part of the game play were the boss fights.
They were epic fights with obstacles and changes in the environment to tip the balance against you. It far surpassed any light saber fights in any earlier games, (or any of the movies for that matter). But at the same time it also brings in a major flaw with the game. The fights tend to be so fast moving that the camera can't keep up and the Apprentice or the foes fly outside of your view. While overlook-able it's still a pain in the ass.
Another flaw in the game play is that the foes in this game tend to be carbon copies of each other. Stormtroopers, for example , tend to act the same as Rebel Solders and are equipped with nearly identical equipment. All around, the game play was a bit repetitive when all is said and done with its Point A to Point B type thing.
Despite a great plot that ties in greatly with the films, the characters in the game tended to be a bit uninspired and flat, but this could very well be do to the shortness of the game. Their weren’t many cut scenes for the characters to develop and its implied they talk more off camera then on. Vader and the Emperor are still evil to the core and are exactly what you would expect. Princess Lea has the same arrogant attitude she did in A New Hope. Jimmy Smits reprises his role as Bail Organa but doesn’t have much to offer. The Secret Apprentice's love interest, Juno, doesn’t really have much to offer either and seemed like she was just put in the game for that purpose.
There is also an original Jedi character named General Kota who acts as another mentor to the Secret Apprentice who is one of only two dynamic supporting characters. He starts out as a passionate rebel leader, to a drunken washout, only to return to a passionate rebel. The most interesting supporting character is Proxy, a kind of psycho and useful version of C-3PO. We was programed by Vader to test the Secret Apprentice and is constantly trying to kill him with programs of the skills and appearances of Jedi and Sith from the past of the series.
The most interesting character by far, however, is the Secret Apprentice. It's very interesting to see him transform from a to a warrior not quite Jedi and not quite Sith who develops a conscience and feelings for his new allies. All around, the characters could have been better but I've seen worse.
All around, this game was sweet but had some major flaws. The game was to repetitive, to short, the characters were lacking, and seemed like it was done on a tight budget and we can only hope that The Force Unleashed II weeds out these flaws. I would recommend it only if you're a fan of Star Wars and of Hack and Slashers.