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Will you buy an Xbox One X on November 7?

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Game Profile
 Written by John Scalzo  on August 22, 2008

Previews: The preview unleashed.


As the first Star Wars game for the "next-generation" consoles, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has a fair bit of hype to live up to. Between it's place as the centerpiece of the Force Unleashed "media event" and it's use of the Euphoria physics engine, Star Wars fans have been chomping at the bit for the game for a long time. And now that a playable demo has rolled into town a month ahead of the game's retail release, we finally get a chance to see what all the hype is about.

First off, I thought it was a nice nod to the original trilogy that the real name of "Vader's Secret Apprentice" is Starkiller. As you may not know, that was George Lucas' original name for Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars script.

I also appreciated the presence of Matt Sloan of Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager fame. He turns in a great voice performance as Darth Vader. And the strains of the "Imperial March" that play after a particularly brutal bit of Dark Siding is also great.


Nintendo DS version.


As for the gameplay itself, the demo has Starkiller searching a TIE Fighter hangar for a Jedi Master named Rahm Kota. As he searches through the base, he'll have to engage both Rebels and Imperials in battle. The combat moves quickly and is pretty fun. Using Force Lightning while swinging a Lightsaber imbues the Lightsaber with lightning. Picking up a Stormtrooper and dropping them into a pit is also great, great fun (sadly, no Wilhelm Scream, though they do beg for their life). More fun, however, is picking up a Stormtrooper and throwing your Lightsaber into their chest. That's evil even for the Sith.

The game uses an auto lock-on system to target which items can and cannot be picked up by The Force. But making the targeting circle lock on to what you want it to lock on to is a bit of a hassle as some of the time it doesn't automatically lock on to the item you're trying to grab. Once an item is grabbed though, it's also a little tricky at first to fling it in the direction you want it to go.

Xbox360 version.


However, all of these complaints are fixed with practice (I was Force Pushing boxes with the best of them after a few tries) or are drowned out by the quickness of the combat. Once you've gotten the hang of throwing enemies and environmental objects around, using The Force like this becomes second nature. And it's in this case that the Euphoria physics engine shines. Watching how enemies react when thrown or how the environment reacts when objects are thrown about is very interesting. In fact, it's even possible to blow out the windows of the hangar and feel the vacuum of space before the blast doors close.

If using The Force to throw around enemies and the environment isn't for you, just charge the Rebel and Imperial forces head on with Force Lightning and draw your Lightsaber. Or switch it up and use the Force Push directly on the soldiers to send them crashing into each other. You can even jump in the middle of the fray and pit the Rebels against the Imperials.

More fun with The Force is had as it's possible to bend a loose girder in the hangar and hook a flying TIE Fighter. For that matter, it's also possible to pull computer monitors off of the walls and throw them into ammunition boxes (and parked TIE Fighters!) to create some nice Dark Side carnage. You can even hit enemies with Force Lightning after they are killed to make their body twitch.

I'm not sure I should enjoy using the Dark Side this much.

The demo ends with a boss battle against an AT-ST Walker that actually has to be killed by performing the required button presses of a Quick Time Event.

PlayStation 3 version.

Final Thoughts
Overall, I'd say Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is definitely living up to it's status as the first next-generation Star Wars game. The fighting is fun and fast and getting the chance to play as a truly evil Dark Side character is a nice change for the Star Wars series of games. If the whole game is this fun there should be no reason not to pick it up when it's released on September 16.


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