Demo Impression: The Force Unleashed

So Thursday has come and gone and the next part of the Star Wars video game saga arrived on home consoles yesterday – even though its but a teaser Demo for the game due next month.

It may be clear from some of my earlier coverage that I’m a bit of a Star Wars fanboy. I admit that not everything Star Wars = Good but the premise of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, a story where the secret apprentice of Darth Vader is aiding him during the dark times to hunt down and destroy the remaining Jedi, actually made a lot of sense to me.

Did we actually expect that Vader had been doing nothing for 30 years but flying about the universe hunting down errant Jedi? Of course he had help! The Apprentice is the focus of the game and its rather short demo.

The demo is fairly short and linear. You’ll hop into character after a quick chat with your master and then it’s all slice and fling until you reach the end. There was a slight hint at puzzle based gameplay using the force with the hanger doors but not a lot more than run, slice up or throw enemy, pick up liberally scattered explosive barrels and destroy enemies. What will help this game stand out will be its story and from a lot of the previews is that I expect there to be a much deeper Star Wars tale in the making here that can’t easily be gleaned in a 20 minute demonstration.

The Force Unleashed is a third person title with the usual third person issues – like camera control. While the demo only provided a small sampling of the sorts of conflicts the Apprentice would face, and was crippled by granting you unlimited health (though I managed to die twice anyway) the way the game anchored the camera and that worked with the primary mechanic of force lift/throw was just a bit wonky.

This issue was not bad in the confined corridors that comprise much of the early parts of the levels but once you find yourself in a hanger bay or on the catwalks of the station things can get a little more frustrating. I found myself fighting the view a great deal at the demo’s climax when the AT-ST walker arrived and I’d already dispensed with the stormtroopers at its feet.

It may sound from the above that I’m not a fan of this game but frankly I’ve not played enough to decide I’ll dislike it. The action and force powers ebb cool, the visuals are impressive and this is most definitely the Star Wars feel I like. The third person perspective reminded me of hours spent in the Jedi Knight series once I’d earned my lightsaber and those memories make me likely to overlook the camera issue more than I normally would. Lets face it, just about every 3D third-person action title has camera issues – even groundbreaking winners like God of War had problems from time to time.

The Force Unleashed plays like a solid action game and from the demo my interest has not fallen much. Its frustrating though that we have another two weeks to wait for its arrival, and that the Wii version, which looks so much worse than the other versions might be the one to own because of the Darth Vader levels and the built in Star Wars fighting game mechanic. I don’t think I’ll end up buying that version but somewhere down deep I think I might regret it.

The Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Demo is available on Xbox Live! and the PSN network. The game itself is scheduled to materialize around September 16th, 2008. The Star Wars RPG fans out there can also expect the pen-and-paper campaign guide in stores at about the same time. (Look for coverage of that in a future The Analog Gamer column)

To peruse all of Gaming Today’s coverage of the game click here.

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15 Comments on Demo Impression: The Force Unleashed

Elsteveo

On August 22, 2008 at 6:53 am

There was a few issues that took getting used to.

-Camera could use some work
-Targeting can be kinda iffy at times.

i played through a couple times, i thought the feeling they were going for of you being this bad ass darkside jedi was well done. with that i enjoyed it. i will probably get it in sept. i think it could be a pretty solid game.

ManOfTeal

On August 22, 2008 at 7:24 am

I will probably end up getting this game for both the Xbox 360 and the Wii. So I can have the best of both worlds.

Go Marlins!!!!

Matthew

On August 22, 2008 at 8:35 am

Yea that damn AT-ST kept killing me. Had to go to work so I’ll have to try killing it later. Shouldn’t I be able to crush it like a ball, like the trailer?

DancingCorpse

On August 22, 2008 at 9:20 am

The one thing that pissed me off the most is that the lightsaber no longer dismembers enemies arms, legs, heads, and torsos. IT’S CALLED PARENTAL CONTROL! I DON’T CARE ABOUT RATING!!

Jonathan

On August 22, 2008 at 9:56 am

it does have a few issues (camera and targeting, like Elsteveo said), but damned if i don’t still get giddy every time i use a Stormtrooper like a makeshift cannon ball

ManOfTeal

On August 22, 2008 at 10:48 am

@DancingCorpse

I got that feeling about the tremendous lack of dismemberment too while playing the demo but I just figured it was because I had just finished playing some Ninja Gaiden II.

Go Marlins!!!!

Shawn Sines

On August 22, 2008 at 10:56 am

No dismemberment? Well that’s easy to explain.. The Force is kid friendly. I mean it even created its own messiah from little bugs called Midi-chloriens.

Seriously, I think it has far more to do with the concept of dismemberment, despite the fact its evident at dramatically appropriate moments in the films we don’t always see lightsabers dicing people into little flesh cubes.

spoot-smeg

On August 22, 2008 at 11:32 am

yeah I found the targetting a bit hard but that was solved by blasting every single thing I could see :mrgreen:

Serio

On August 22, 2008 at 1:25 pm

@Shawn Sines

Actually, it was either that, or an A rating. An A rating would mean probably only 15% of the stores would sell it, which would severely damage the sales.

Wes

On August 22, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Anybody else find hiddenish power up in the hanger bay ? I own both a PS3 and a 360 and I found the PS3 version easier to play for some reason.Maybe its cause the controller is more compact and it was easier to do combos.

In all of the gameplay videos I watched there was no dismemberment if your suprised now about it you really didnt do any research on this game.

unKnowN

On August 22, 2008 at 1:40 pm

I agree about the targeting, but I got used to the camera fairly quickly. I literally hope that they add some type of Multiplayer mode for the 360/PS3, I mean, The Wii get’s the versus, the DS gets the interface and gameplay style, the PS2 gets the movie battles, not too sure what the PSP gets, what about the 360/PS3?

unKnowN

On August 22, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Never mind, I figured it out.

“The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are essentially the same. They both feature Ronin, a set of three high-end graphics engines whose top visual qualities can only be captured on these two platforms. It should be noted that while the Wii and PS2 versions will also feature Ronin-like engines, they will be of lower standards…”

Killmur

On August 23, 2008 at 1:24 am

They get a MASSIVE A for execution HOWEVER a total F due to that AT-ST boss battle dragging down the fun factor. Soon as it comes out I’ll rent it from Gamefly and see if the full version is any better.

ejako

On September 27, 2008 at 10:00 am

i cant wait for the demo i wish i buy it but i get to play at pc :grin:

ejako

On September 27, 2008 at 10:01 am

yay!!