Force Unleashed sports fun gameplay, dumb enemies

Star Wars fans left disillusioned and downtrodden after the disaster that was The Clone Wars can breathe a sigh of relief come September 16, when LucasArts releases its new title, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. It does not suck. In fact, it’s a solid game with fluid, fun gameplay and an engrossing storyline. The demo, available now on Xbox Live Marketplace and the Playstation Store, is lengthy enough to give the player a good sense of how the game will work, but falls just short of being enough to sate our hunger for lightsaber-swinging, Force-using ass-kickery.

Force Unleashed is a multimedia Star Wars project, much like Shadows of the Empire, that includes a video game, a novel, a comic series, action figures, and other merchandise. Set during the 19 years spanning Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Force Unleashed follows Starkiller, the secret Sith apprentice of Darth Vader. Utilizing his vast array of powerful Force abilities, Starkiller hunts down the remaining Jedi and eliminates all witnesses, Rebel and Imperial alike.

The title of the game sums it up fairly well. This is the Force as never seen before, completely destructive and without boundaries. Enemies can be plucked from the ground and flung into walls or shocked to death with lightning. Rooms can be torn apart, doors blown open, windows shattered. Even starships can be manipulated using the Force. There has never been power like this available in any Star Wars game ever, and there’s nothing quite like chucking great fistfuls of Stormtroopers against the bulkheads of a Star Destroyer

The physics engine is fairly impressive, with objects falling and colliding realistically, and enemies clinging to railings and crates for dear life as you pull them from the floor with the Force. The intelligence of the enemies, from what I could tell, is lacking. A few Stormtroopers even managed to blow themselves up. Not to say that Stormtroopers and Rebel commandos should give a Sith apprentice a run for its money, but even large groups of them posed little threat. Perhaps taking down Jedi will be more difficult – we’ll have to wait and see.

Overall, the game plays great. The controls are fairly intuitive and easy to get the hang of. It’s fun, most of all, and ridiculously entertaining. If you get a sort of sadistic pleasure out of throwing enemies from great heights (see Assassin’s Creed), then you’ll most definitely enjoy Force Unleashed.

Keep an eye out for my thoughts on the full game, which is available September 16. If you have access to the demo, I highly suggest checking it out.

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