Star Wars The Force Unleashed

Star Wars The Force Unleashed is a companion game to the full version found on various game systems. The game takes place between Star Wars III and Star Wars VI, following Darth Vader’s secret apprentice as he attempts to kill every Jedi in the Universe. The game received quite a bit of attention after it was shown publicly at E3.

The point of the game is to go around the Universe defeating your enemies and anyone who gets in your way using a slew of Force powers you pick up along the way. As an apprentice of Darth Vader, you meet up with him throughout the game to receive assignments which consist of finding a Jedi Knights and killing them.

Gameplay consists of waiting through various bits of dialogue and fighting enemies and Jedi Knights. Throughout the game, you lean new powers to use against adversaries and advance to new chapters.

The big draw to this game was its implementation of multi-touch gestures to control various Force powers. To pick something up you make one gesture and to throw it, you use another. Changing modes allow other gestures and more powers.

The good: There’s a lot to like about this game, especially if you’re a Star Wars fan. For one, things like exiting the app and tilting the screen were actually considered. When you sleep the phone or exit to the home screen, your game is saved and you can return to it right away. The game can also be played entirely in portrait or landscape mode, which is very handy. The art throughout the game is also very good. The character renderings are awful, but the landscapes are great.

The biggest concern I had was regarding the multi-touch gestures. Thankfully, they seemed to work very well. Only a few times while I was caught up in the heat of battle did I mess up a gesture. In the event that a gesture wasn’t done properly, you simply try again with no penalty (besides wasted time).

The bad: Unfortunately, I was more annoyed than impressed with this game. The first annoyance was with the “soundtrack”. Everything, and I mean everything coming out of the speakers was midi. Awful, awful midi. It felt like I was playing a DOS game. Thankfully you can tell the game that you don’t want sound when you start it up, and I certainly suggest that you do.

Remember that I mentioned part of the gameplay consisted of dialogue? This stuff is boring. No originality; a total snooze fest. Nobody wants to look at a page and a half of ugly jagged text, especially since it scrolls by at a snails pace.

Aside from the minor annoyances with the music and text, the game itself is extraordinarily repetitive. You get orders from Vader, fly to the location, defeat a bunch of enemies with your Force gestures, defeat a boss, and start it all over again. The reason it’s so mind-numbingly repetitive is that you don’t have control over your characters movement. You just keep using Force powers to defeat enemies until they’re all gone. When you’re done, you advance. Boring!

My last complaint is a minor one. Obviously the point of the game is to use Force powers to defeat your enemies, and those consist of multi-touch gestures. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of memorization that needs to be done to successfully use all of your Force powers, which doesn’t bode well to casual gaming on a phone. Sure you can check out all of the powers from the main menu, but you still have to learn and remember them.

Bottom line: Star Wars The Force Unleashed may be a Star Wars game, but it’s not a very enjoyable one. The combination of annoying and repetitive gameplay got boring very quickly. Frankly, if this game were $3, I’d feel better about it, but as it is there are better games out there for the same price. If you’re a die hard Star Wars fan who wants to get the story between Episodes III and VI, read the book. For everyone else, don’t bother.

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