Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed delivered the main thing I wanted and expected out of this game: to be a super powerful bad ass character that uses Force powers to kill and destroy stuff. I finished it about a month ago on Apprentice and got the Jedi ending.

The game play stayed true to what I experienced in the demo. My main problem with the game play was that sometimes I found myself fighting enemies off screen. This was irritating, however I got used to it. One game play feature I wasn’t too keen on was the timed button combinations you needed to execute to do special moves on bosses. I didn’t like it in the Resident Evil 4 demo, and I don’t like it in this game.

(The following isn’t a spoiler because you can see the battle right on the back of the game box.)

An irritating game play moment was the battle with the Imperial Star Destroyer. It was prolonged and tedious after all previous boss fights, which were much faster paced. Having said that, I felt accomplished after I finally brought that thing down.

The graphics were superb on the PS3. I had no complaints at all. The art design looked and felt like Star Wars, though I didn’t particularly care for the bright hues of the jungle planet, and the dull metal hues of the junk planet were also not too appealing. However, the two locations did provide a nice contrast to the Imperial levels. I really appreciated all the graphical and artistic details in the game. I really liked Starkiller’s costumes. The costumes and clothing in the whole game were really, really cool. Sometimes I would just stop playing and just pan the camera around Starkiller to get a better look at his clothes, and it was the same with the environments. The art team did a great job in bringing the Star Wars universe to life in this game.

The story was not nearly as good as the hype would lead one to believe, but I didn’t believe the hype anyway, so I wasn’t let down. I should probably play it again to get the Sith ending, and while it is a really fun game, I am feeling a little lazy to do that at the moment. One thing I also would have liked to have seen in the game is the use of Force powers for creation (healing) rather than destruction. Isn’t the Force supposed to be able to do both? (Star Wars nerds, please correct me.)

I don’t like the fact that the only unlockable characters you can play are male. Why do we get to play as Bail Organa, but not Leia Organa? Bail Organa. He’s not that huge of a character in the Star Wars universe compared to Leia Organa. We can unlock and play as a number of different Stormtroopers, but not the other major character in the game, Juno Eclipse? Irritating. What would have been cool is if you could choose your sex and have the two actors play either of the two main roles, depending on which sex you chose. However, I speculate that if they wanted to have this option, it would have incurred additional time and cost, because they’d have to create another combat/animation rig for a female, because the body frame isn’t the same, plus they’d have to do everything related to both sexes twice — clothing, etc. I’m not a game designer, so I’m just guessing.

I also honestly don’t see why Starkiller couldn’t have been female. The character of Starkiller is pretty much the standard, boring white male with hardly any personality to speak of, which is typical for videogame protagonists. Since he had no personality to start with, they could have had this character be a woman just as easily as a man. The only reason you don’t have a choice for gender is because yet again, male is the default and female the afterthought — or not considered at all. There’s no valid reason why Starkiller couldn’t have been female. Rather than start off with male as a default, they could have decided at the very, very beginning that Starkiller was a woman.

Details aside, I quite enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

  11 comments for “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

  1. 10 November 2008 at 21:50

    “I also honestly don’t see why Starkiller couldn’t have been female.” This reminded me that, iirc, Luke’s character in the early “A New Hope” drafts was female, and up until just before shooting the character’s surname was Starkiller.

  2. 10 November 2008 at 22:54

    I’d almost wager that if a female had been included, healing powers would have made it as well.

    Something you brought up that caught my interest: “The character of Starkiller is pretty much the standard, boring white male with hardly any personality to speak of, which is typical for videogame protagonists.”

    Do we hold this to be true of our female protagonists in games? I personally see someone like Samus Aran as an empty void into which we project our own desires, but she seems to have been dubbed a sassy, no-nonsense type of woman. Most other females attempt to have a distinct personality one way or another, though. Perhaps we are left with the perception that females can’t let their actions alone speak for them very often?

    Just thinking out loud.

  3. 11 November 2008 at 01:41

    Personally I think there should always be an option to play either male or female. Although it would have taken a little bit more time in creating the extra model and animations, I think it would have been worth it. The target audience would have been enlarged and it would have provided additional re-playability.

    Awesome game. Absolutely loved it, even though the story line was somewhat lacking.

  4. Twyst
    11 November 2008 at 06:46

    I dont get why the other platforms allow you to play as female, but this one doesnt. As for rigging the 3D models, there are female models in the game that fight? I dont mean to belittle the effort to create a character, but i dont think it would have been that difficult. Even if there was just an unlockable skin, SOMETHING. I havent even played it yet, cuz i am hoping there will be some DLC. It makes me sad!

  5. 11 November 2008 at 07:43

    I agree with you. The timed button pressing was very irritating, I’d rather just slice and dice at a rancor until it’s dead… or rather once the boss’ life bar hits zero then it automagically does the special kill’em scene. Oh, and the star destroyer part could have easily just been a cutscene… too forever to figure out what it wanted me to do.

    As far as the gender issue goes, I’m also in total agreement. They should have had the same two actors for Juno and Starkiller swap roles. They already had both of them rigged up for motion control… just have them do the other part too.

    I bet they didn’t even think about it… which is a shame.

  6. 11 November 2008 at 15:52

    @ Denis: I agree with you about Samus Aran. She’s a blank slate, and you can read whatever personality you want into her, however this sort of changed a little bit with Metroid Fusion. It was jarring for me because the personality that came across in Fusion was not the same personality I had ascribed to Samus Aran in my own experience of the game.

    As for other female characters, yeah, I do get the feeling that their personalities are more distinct than male protagonists. A lot of the time I feel like games with male protagonists basically drop the character into a situation and he is propelled along by forces greater than him.

  7. 12 November 2008 at 15:11

    I haven’t played this yet (got Mirror’s Edge today woooo!!), but I’m glad to hear it’s fun! I am also really irritated you can’t choose your gender though. It’s like, the character has to be this big mystery to fit in with the movies, so it’s not like he’s established already or anything. Boo. Boring!

    And just WTF at Bail Organa. Who cares about him!

    But: yay decent Star Wars game!

  8. 12 November 2008 at 22:16


    Also, I hate timed button press boss battles. Hatessss. They’re not fun, just frustrating. You can’t even enjoy watching the badassery on screen cause you’re all tense, waiting for the next button indicator to pop up.

  9. 13 November 2008 at 15:20

    I KNOW lolme. I haven’t played MGS4 yet either and it’s been sitting on my shelf since June. (I haven’t beaten 3!)

    Quick time events annoy me too. But I think they are done pretty well in Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm. They have them at the end of boss battles, but they’re not very difficult and everything is SO. VERY. EPIC.

  10. MSD
    14 March 2009 at 18:42

    I agree thats its very disappointing not to have a female choice in fact part of what makes Star wars knights of the old republic mass effect and saints row 2 so cool is that you get to decide the race and gender of your character in fact the lack of character creation in this game played a big part in making me decide not to buy it in the end.
    even if it had just been a character cheat or something for replay and imagination nation value it would have been cool.
    After all even if using a female character would cause plotline problems no one really cares about plotline on replay
    thats something I also hate about gta 4 that there are no character choices or character cheats like there was in gta vice city, charater cheats and changes are cool for imagination and when your playing the game for fun the platline holes wouldn’t matter much on replay.

  11. MSD
    14 March 2009 at 18:49

    ps what makes the lack of playable female characters even more annoying is if you look at the DLC for playable characters you can even play as c-3po thats a robot so that must interfere with the plotline just as much as playing as a female character would do right?

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