Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 Review

Kid Safe: High                     Game Quality: Moderate

Genre: Action/Adventure
-          This game is identified by its action-based tone of gameplay that focuses on one or more characters being faced with a challenge and going on an adventure to solve it through puzzle solving, avoiding obstacles, and battling enemies with multiple forms of weapons and attacks.

Internet Requirements: Low
-          This game features no internet gameplay to speak of, restricting you only to single-player modes. Some extra content will be released for download from the internet at an undetermined point in the future to increase the available gameplay.

Story Summary: In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, you take the role of Starkiller, the ex-apprentice
of Darth Vader who raised him to become a Sith Lord with the intention of killing the remaining Jedi in the galaxy. In this title, it is unclear what happened to Starkiller; however it appears that he was killed and you are now playing as his clone who has been created by Vader to replace this loss. However, much to Vader's disliking, Starkiller is haunted by the memories of his past life and quickly turns on him, escaping from the training facility where he is being held; seeking to reunite with his previous allies and strike back against the man and the Empire that created him.

Kid Safe: High
-          Foul Language: Very Low
o   Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 does not contain any observed instances of foul language.

-          Violence and Gore: Moderate
o   Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 features a moderate amount of Violence and minimal scenes of blood and gore. As a Sith, your character uses lightsabers, a form of laser-sword that can slice cleanly through seemingly anything, as well as "force powers", that range from the ability to throw lightning and electrocute your enemies to the ability to pick them up and throw them without ever touching them. Players will fight Stormtroopers (humanoid enemies in robotic-looking white armor) and can use their lightsabers to slice off their legs, arms, and head; as well as the ability to stab through their chest and stomachs. These attacks do not, however, cause scenes of blood and gore and enemies are injured cleanly without viscera. Players can use "force powers" to elicit screams of fright and pain as they are thrown around or sounds of pain as they are electrocuted. Screams and explosions can be heard all throughout this title.
-          Sexually-Related Content: Very Low
o   Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 does not contain any scenes of sexually-related content.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: Very Low
o   Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 Does not contain any scenes of drug or alcohol usage.
Game Quality: Moderate
-          Graphics / Visuals: High
o   The graphics and visuals for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 is of a generally high quality, however the game suffers from more than a couple of problems. Beginning with the positives, almost everything in this title is glorious to look at. Levels are well-designed and are multi-faceted, often having places that players can go that are not obvious, non-orthodox items that players can use to fight, and extremely interesting ways of navigating obstacles; not to mention the detail that has been put into the world around the level itself. Cloth flows almost realistically, something most games do not do properly. Likewise, the shadowing in this title is equally impressive and adds realistic depth to the world around you. Last, but not least, is concerning the facial animations in the cutscenes, which are comparable to games like Red Dead Redemption in their accuracy to human emotion and lip motion.

o   For the overall impressiveness of the visuals in Force Unleashed 2, the game suffers a frustrating number of glitches. The first, and most noticeable, is that every single time you strike an enemy with a lightsaber, the graphics will slow for roughly half of a second. While this doesn't sound like much, it's aggravating when attempting to do difficult attacks as you are unable to interpret when you need to hit buttons due to the lag in the gameplay. After that, there were several times when, while fighting a stormtrooper, the camera would suddenly lock onto him versus your character and literally follow him wherever he went; leaving you unable to see or control your character. At another time, I found myself hop ontop of a space ship to run across it and literally dropped into the graphics for the space ship, leaving my character sitting inside the programmer's wireframe graphic and literally unable to escape; forcing me to restart from an earlier point.
-          Audio: High
o   Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 has a relatively high audio quality, featuring a rather impressive musical score as well as some pretty decent voice acting. To begin, this title continues the Star Wars tradition of having absolutely amazing music. This title features a full musical score comparable to the films with a song/tune for every scene that varies its pace and tempo on the tension of the moment.

o   The voice acting generally equally impressive and demonstrates the skill of many of the actors. The voice talents of Sam Witwer returns as "Starkiller" as well as Matt Sloan with a rather impressive re-mastering of James Earl Jones' rendition as "Darth Vader" and Tom Kane as an equally well-done "Yoda". Almost all of the voice actors nail their lines perfectly, expressing the proper amount of emotion to each scene to really carry their performance without the need of live actors.

o   All voice actors, except for one. Cully Fredricksen as "General Rahm Kota" suffers from a very mixed performance that truly retracts from the gameplay in such a way that it is distracting. While his performances in cutscenes are decent, his performances in the actual game are not. I'm not sure whether it is bad editing or bad acting, but almost every line he says while in gameplay sounds incredibly hollow and strange; with pronunciation placed on the wrong words and syllables and the emotions seeming all wrong. Generally, this wouldn't cause that much of a problem, except that you listen to him, quite literally, through almost the entire game; creating a massive audible distraction.

-          Gameplay / Playability: Moderate
o   Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 is an extremely mixed bag when it comes to gameplay, but we feel that it has a moderate level of quality. First off, there are multiple levels of difficulty that players may choose between to provide them whatever level of challenge suits them; allowing for mediocre players to enjoy the story without suffering and hardcore players to enjoy a challenge. Likewise, whether you played the original game or not, it will provide you full instructions on how to properly use all of your powers in almost every manner that might arise. Players are faced with a fair number of different challenges and puzzles that keeps most of the gameplay fun and engaging. Likewise, there is a host of different kinds of enemies that tend to be very inventive and have their own weaknesses and ways to battle them.

o   While the overall performance of the game is fun, they start to run into problems in the later half of the game. It seems like they ran out of ideas on how to properly handle the title. First, you are placed on a planet called Dagaboh in order to train and learn more about yourself, much like Luke Skywalker did in 5th and 6th film from the Star Wars movies. As a fan myself, my heart jumped at the opportunity to explore the caves and possibly fight my characters "worst fears and problems". What occurred was a one minute scene where you jump your character up onto the path next to your ship and run down it, only to go through several minutes of cutscene and just time skip to the next level without anymore than a one sentence explanation as to what happened. From there, the game attempts to build tension by simply throwing progressively more and more of previously seen enemies rather than coming up with anything new. Finally, the last boss battle with Darth Vader is probably the most boring thing sequence I have ever played; lasting 24 minutes of real time that consisted of the exact same sequence of three events repeated over and over and over as you slowly chip away at his health.
-          Dollar-Value: Low
o   Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 has a relatively low dollar-value due to poorly executed and incredibly short gameplay. To start, this game was only about 4 to 6 hours long for the single-player story mode; by far one of the shortest games I have played on the newer consoles. While players can also play challenge modes where they must complete a set gameplay "challenge", these will only last you so long and I found I had completed all of them in less than an hour. Not only that, but when you count the graphical glitches, audio frustrations, and absolutely atrocious gameplay problems later in the game; this title is not worth the $60USD price tag that is currently attached to it.

-          While the concept was good and the kid-friendliness was decent, the delivery was horrible. If you would like to enjoy a good Star Wars title, I can only heavily recommend the first Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. If you have already enjoyed this title, you might also try out titles like Ratchet and Clank or Jak and Daxter. If you are looking for an equally good and M-Rated title, Devil May Cry, Dante's Inferno, and God of War are also great choices.

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