…and I know I should probably be excited at the prospect this game offers, forgiving the first for the flaws I feel made it no more than an exercise in redundancy, but I just can’t do it. Maybe if not for the fact that I replayed a healthy chunk of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed recently, to get a good feel for the controls again before biting into the DLC, would I have felt the excitement I know I should clouding over my better judgement along with a healthy dose of misplaced nostalgia. The fact of the matter is there are many things to love about The Force Unleashed that are lost in the pile of shit we were given to feast on and I would be lying if I trusted things to get better (even though I hope they do). For me to truly have fun in the way I hope I can, the following issues must be addressed:
1) Tighter Controls
This is a rather minor point because, like most older games, the control probably feels a lot worse now than it did back on release due to game developers stepping up their game (pun intended) and tightening up. There are a few problems I can most likely simply pin on myself (such as always wanting to jump from the edge of a platform as opposed to the center of it only to fall to my death with shitty jump timing and edge recognition) however I don’t believe there is any person with two hands able to control Force movement the way that was intended. Yes, we get the basic idea of moving something and letting go of a button to throw it in that direction but that doesn’t help when the movement of the object is anything but fluid and the controls are clunky.
“Now to just walk up this nice, wide, open path…”
2) Invisible. Fucking. Walls.
Seriously? I remember vividly playing the start of the Raxus Prime mission, which is a platforming section. I remember falling to my death because of an invisible wall not allowing me, the apprentice of Darth Vader, to jump over a small pile of rubble. I remember not being able to explore a planet that was exciting and new beyond the confines of a linear path with the odd opening off the side for Force points. Yes, I am aware that The Force Unleashed is not the single, worst offender of this crime however I was appalled at the lack of initiative to even provide a reasonable device (fence, hill, energy barrier, a fucking VISIBLE wall for christ sake) to map out the path.
3) Force Powers (or lack thereof)
The Force Unleashed has a real bad habit of suggesting that it is possible to be a bad-ass by upgrading the character’s Force powers and moves only to take it all away the next stage with an enemy that is somehow able to negate any new effects. It is ironic that a game revolving around the idea that the player is able to control the Force would do everything in its power to render the Force powers the player has earned all but inefficient if not completely ineffective. Thanks LucasArts, I just spent four hours upgrading my Force Lightning to the point where I can drain every speck of life out of a rabid Rancor’s miserable existence, but I can’t stun a StormTrooper equipped with a goddamn special belt. I understand balance, but I didn’t buy a game called “The Force Unleashed” because I secretly wanted “The Generic Sword Slasher”.
4) Story Continuity
I understand this is not a hard thing to ask for but anyone who, like me, chose a certain path in the final chapter will be requiring some major backtracking, bull-shitting or altering to have this game make sense in any sequential capacity (I won’t even start on how awkward the DLC altered what my perception of the events in this universe were). Thankfully Star Wars has been among one of the best examples of franchises that are able to do whatever they want to original source material without realizing there is a timeline, so I am less worried about this point than interested in seeing what pans out.
I am aware of how much it sounds like I probably hate the game, but the truth of the matter is I wanted it to be good so badly it hurt to realize how underwhelming it truly was. Sure, I rant and pessimistically fear for the worst, but it is only because I don’t think I can stand another heartbreak with the Star Wars name attached to it.