System: Nintendo Wii (Also On: Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Nintendo DS)
Developer: Krome Studios/LucasArts
A while back, Patrick reviewed the Xbox 360 version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Because of this, I’m not planning on going too in-depth with my analysis of the Wii game, but I will tell you everything you need to know. If you are more interested in the 360 rendition of the game, check out Pat’s review.
In The Force Unleashed, players take control of the unknown apprentice to the Sith Lord Darth Vader. Throughout your apprenticeship to Lord Vader, you will be sent on various missions to destroy opposing Jedi, fight the resistance, and perform several other tasks for your master. The story takes place somewhere in between The Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and lets gamers see the events that took place in between those two films, something Star Wars fans can always dig. I mean, is it possible to ever get enough of the Star Wars universe? Didn’t think so.
The game’s visuals are, of course, well under the quality seen on the 360 and PS3 versions. Inferior technical visuals is something that Wii gamers have simply come to accept when getting multiplatform versions of games, which is completely acceptable. The thing that pisses many Nintendo fans off is that they get the PlayStation 2, or, in some cases, PSP versions of many games instead of something built exclusively for the system.
Sadly enough, The Force Unleashed looks exactly the PS2 rendition. Still, the visuals aren’t horrible and there are some mildly impressive particle effects and character models are faithful and decently detailed, and animations are great. There is nothing here that is going to impress anyone, but nothing is going to make your eyes bleed, either.
But what do you care? You don’t own a Wii for fancy graphics! You own a Wii for the controls, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has a pretty great scheme for the most part. As the name implies, players are given huge amounts of control over The Force in this game. Sure you’ve got your lightsaber, but who cares about that when you can pick bad (good) guys up and smash their flailing bodies into each other or flatten them all with an entire ship? Not I! And it’s a damn good thing, too, because while the controls for manipulating The Force are intuitive and engrossing, melee combat is horrible.
Swinging your lightsaber is handled solely with waggle mechanics, a game design that has been proven to detract from the Wii experience instead of adding to it. Why would I want to twirl my arms about like a retarded cheerleader when I could just simply press a button? Exactly. You’ll constantly find yourself wrestling with the frustrating controls and wishing you could just press the A button.
Music is, obviously, fantastic. Taken from and inspired by the Star Wars films, this game’s entire score is emotionally evoking and heavily gripping. Sound effects all work just fine, but there’s nothing in here that isn’t in any other Star Wars game. There is also a large amount of voice acting to be found within The Force Unleashed. Most of it is strong, but there are some laughable performances. Worst of all, though, is the absence of James Earl Jones as the voice of Dark Vader.
The most appealing aspect of The Force Unleashed, aside from being able to control The Force with motion controls, is the fact that the game now only costs $19.99 brand new. For only 20 bucks you’re going to get around six and a half hours of gameplay from the main campaign as well as a couple of hours from the Duel Mode.
All in all, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a pretty solid title and one that should go right on every budget gamer’s list. Fans of Star Wars are also going to find plenty to love, and Wii lovers will be fascinated with the awesome motion Force controls.
However, collision detection is off, the campaign is extremely linear, the frame rate isn’t locked, and there are a fair amount of glitches through each level. Despite these flaws, however, the $20 price tag is just right, and I therefore can recommend Star Wars fans and Wii gamers looking for a guilt-free diversion. Though I also suggest saving your money for the flood of awesome titles fall will undoubtedly bring. It’s your choice, really.
- Motion controls
- Dark, gritty story
- Plenty of voice acting
- Only 20 bucks
- Murky, PS2 quality visuals
- Waggle lightsaber controls
- No James Earl Jones
Score: 7.6/10 (Good)
Gameplay: 7.75/10 (Repetitive and linear, but fun; I hate waggle)
Graphics: 6.75/10 (PS2 Quality)
Audio: 7.75/10 (No James Earl Jones)
Entertainment Value: 8.0/10 (It’s only 20 bucks)