Welcome to The Stormtrooper Effect

This is where i will review and discuss toys, video games and movies. I collect 3 3/4 inch to 12 inch Star Wars, Iron Man, Batman, Halo toys and other movie memoribillia that appeal to me! As of late i am into Hot Toys 12' inch figures. Thank you for visiting my page and I hope you enjoy browsing through my site as much as I enjoy sharing it with you!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Review

And here it is, my review for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PS3)

For the past two days, i have been button mashing and shamelessly swearing at the LCD screen as i journey through the galaxy bringing Vader's ''enemies'' to justice. If you are still in the dark about this game, you play as Darth Vader's Secret Apprentice. Why so SECRET? (The rule of two, basically the sith code which ensures their survival. One to wield power, and the other to crave it.)

This is because Vader himself is the apprentice of Darth Sidious. Hence, you're vader's 'apprentice' all but in name. Which kinda makes you in title, a dark jedi. But time and time again in-game, you are refered as a SITH, by the jedi you were sent to kill...

That aside, the game begins on a high octane as you play as Lord Vader for the first time ever in any Star Wars video games. And by golly, Vader sure as hell means business. The map kick off on Kashyyyk ( Kah - she - eeekkkk), with a cutscene of Vader pretty pissed at the ground fleet's commander's lack in competence. Throttling him as a warning that the second time would be his last before storming off on foot... as the battle rages on.

The cutscene is pretty awesome, same goes for the other cutscenes in the game. The game cutscene used real actors to pinpoint the actual models, you know, actors wearing those little white pin dots to fully capture the digital articulation of models' facial expressions, be it frowns, leers, etc. Hence the cutscenes were very, if not exactly, lifelike.

Vader, has a serious kick-ass arsenal of force powers to boot, a glimpse of what to expect out of the secret apprentice as he grows in power. Force repulse, force grip, force lightning etc. Yes, i know that you know, he's the ultimate baddy, he's supposed to have those.
Indeed like Hayden Blackman said, the force powers have been amped up. Tuned up and powered to the max. Force push has evolved alot since Jedi Academy, the last star wars saber swashbuckling title, it is now able to blow doors back, smashing them wide open on a whim, or it could be used to send enemies flying out into the distance unlike jedi academy's weak tripping of opponents. Like force push, many other abilities too have evolved and been somewhat better.

As yet the force powers and combo styles are great to me but one particular irk i had was with force grip. While in previous titles, the force grip would crush and throttle enemies, TFU's force grip suspends opponents in air and they actually dangle there trying to cling onto the nearest object to get back to ground. Though aesthetically it has been pleasing, the tossing of your opponents, or zapping them in midair whilst on grip, or impaling them with your lightsaber, i found it rather annoying to control the grip. The force grip is controlled by the two anolog sticks on the ps3 controller, one in the horizontal plane, the other in vertical. Yes it works fine, but unlike what i see in the trailers of TFU, players could rip off items in the enviroment and send it crashing down on NPC's with such ease and fluidity, at the slightest whim, while all the while i had a huge pain in the ass to aim these chucks of rocks or junk or items at those NPC's. The problem with the movement or rather the levitation of the item was relatively slow, and dept perspective was somewhat poor. And often in the process of practicing this power, i wound up shot up half to hell.

Furthermore, the targetting system used for force grip was poor as often while i would use the centre of the screen to lock on to objects and just as i was about to lock onto it, some floating object or off screen item would catch the targetting recticle and would lock onto it. Hence i would grip the unwanted object. Plainitively, the targetting or lock on was poorly done. There basically wasn't much of anything to aim the grip with, other than some form of brackets which auto highlighted themselves, which hurt much of the gameplay. Yes, its fine when there's a baddie or two on screen, its easier to target them with force grip, but when the screen gets cluttered with items, say the junkworld RAXUS PRIME, the lock kinda zips about every other item instead of what i really want.

What i found enjoyable was the 'boss fights' where if you hit correct buttons at the right time or execute correct moves at the correct time, you could have force battles eg: lightning 'lock' , saber locks, this is the point where you have to time your triangle button exactly on the correct spot to win the lightning battle, or mash the square button to win the saber lock and execute some takedown to your opponent.
However for sub-bosses, eg: junkyard guardians, rancors etc, whilst you could dice and mince or lightning them methodically all the way, you could skip the hassle and mess by just pushing the buttons required to fully finish them off when they're at a point near death. These buttons would flash on screen and should you make a mistake, you've got to repeat the process of doing button pushing again. While this isn't a button mashing thing like the saber locks, this offers a somewhat interactive cinematic 'cutscene' where you could push-the-button-to-execute the cutscene. Which for me is new and fun though sometimes i get a tad' caught up in pushing the right buttons to watch the action.

Besides these two obvious flaws of the force grip's aspect, i pretty much am very satisfied with the game as yet ( i'm still fighting Shaak Ti, in the sarlaac's pit )
The gameplay and cutscenes were seamless, voice acting was very well done although vader was not voiced by James Earl Jones. The different engines and programmings worked seamlessly, DDM, havok and euphoria, and materials in the enviroment broke apart, shattered, splintered and basically reacted the way it would in life. The graphics were very good, though i must say that is expected of a game at this point of time, with the technology available.

The gameplay is good for replayablity, with combos to unlock, lightsaber crystals, costumes, and challenges to complete, eg: destroy 10 tie fighters....get 100 kills with force lightnings etc. Furthermore as far as i've heard, there are supposed to be up to 5 different endings, with the canon one in which the secret apprentice dies.

Musical score wise, most of it were recycled from Revenge of the Sith, which though good, and apt, somewhat dissapoints me due to the fact that considering all the time they had, LucasArts could have come up with something new.

Enemies and allies alike are believable though most lack an in-depth backstory, *one has to be a fan or know a certain degree of star wars history before understanding the story which fits in the bigger picture*

But to finally actually get to play the game after all that long wait truly is a real pay off for my patience. And despite some of its obvious shortcomings, LucasArts did not dissapoint me this time.

Being a long time star wars fan since the age of 6, i am highly tempted to give this video game a very high rating, however, for impartiality's sake, here goes.

- 1 star off for the poor lock-on system
- 1/2 star off for the recycled soundtrack. (DUDE, i've been listening to ROTS soundtrack since 05')
- 1 star off the poor depth perspective using the force grip

-Great graphics
-Great storyline but you gotta know your homework
-Great engine which work great together, DDM, havok, euphoria.
-Play as LORD vader.
-all new never before seen whoop ass combos from the secret apprentice.

so on the STORMTROOPER effect's scale of AWESOMENESS
Star Wars the Force Unleashed, is 7.5/10.0 stars.

my afterword, go, and unleash the power of the dark side.....

Raxxus Prime Costume. My favourite Secret Apprentice costume apart from the fallen one.

Tread lightly, this is Vader's Assasin you're dealing with.

Rancors and ugly monsters do not stop the dark side of the force. You would do well to learn that

Keep no prisoners. Leave no witnesses.

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