Here it is, my final diary for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed — unless I should do the books and LEGO sets too?! No? Oh, okay. Well, I’ll be taking a look at the DS and Wii versions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, because I’ve done everything else! Which means that I’ve played every Force Unleashed game apart from one iOS, one N-Gage, and one for mobile phones. Man, what a ride…
Starting with the Nintendo DS version unfortunately set my sights low. Unlike the DS version of the first game, this one is a side-scrolling platformer, so it’s frustrating since I heaped praise on the third-person previous title. It follows the story of the 8th Generation games, though in a pared down manner with very different levels. Though that last bit is to be expected since it’s a vastly different type of game.
Unlike the first game, everything takes place on the lower screen. The top screen shows your XP points (which is basically just a score), current objective, and which Force power is selected. The lower screen has everything you need to look at, and the Force powers are selected either by the shoulder buttons or by tapping the one you want. Force powers are easier to control since you have to stand still and control using the stylus, rather than aiming in the direction you’re facing, though I was a little upset to find Mind Trick absent from the list.
Unfortunately, the controls are awful: it’s really difficult to use the D-pad while using the stylus to swing your lightsabers. In fairness I’m playing on a 2DS and not a DS, but that can’t make so much of a difference that this was the best idea they could come up with…
I will give the game props for having full voice acting, in and outside of cutscenes. I also really appreciate how closely they followed the minor story beats, like having to fight off a shuttle that blows up bridges that you’re using in
Cato Neimoidia. There are some additions (the spider-bot chase for example), some subtractions (Boba Fett barely appears), and some of the more awesome moments are relegated to static cutscenes (planetfall), but it serves its purpose.
The only odd thing about this version was how quick time events only appear in the final level. Like, I’m hours deep by this point and near the end, why are you introducing new mechanics?
As with the first game, the Nintendo Wii reimagines the 8th Gen version in a way that fits its capabilities. It’s missing some things, for instance the “fall from the tower” that kicks off the game, but it adds enough to make it worth a look. For instance, in the 8th Gen version you only see Darth Vader in cutscenes until your fight at the end of the game. In this version, you encounter Vader several times in the first level and have to do some quick time events to fight him off!
As you might expect, motion controls play a large part, but to just swing the lightsabers it’s A. Swinging the Wiimote does special moves, and the nunchuck is mostly for Force Powers, with the main exception being Mind Trick as you have to aim that with the cursor. There’s also an exclusive power, Force View, which lets you see through objects and spot enemy weak points. It’s mainly used to solve puzzles — of which there are a fair number.
One major change (other than Clone Galen being inside Salvation when it crashes…) is that Dagobah is a full level. In the 8th Gen version, you walk down a path and watch a cutscene. In the Wii game the path isn’t nearly quite as straightforward, then you have to do some actual gameplay in the cave! So, like the previous game, you get an entire extra level compared to the 8th Gen.
Other changes are new voice lines in cutscenes and during levels, and you actually pursue Boba Fett through the Salvation, almost managing to stop him. Also, you can slice Stormtroopers in half and hack limbs off, something that was toned down a bit for the other version.
The multiplayer mode is interesting in that it’s clearly inspired by Super Smash Bros.: a four-player side-on combat arena.
What, did you think that I would mention the announced iOS version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II? Well, after much research I can’t find any indication that it was actually released. Its cancellation isn’t mentioned anywhere I can find, unlike the PlayStation Portable port, or the sequel that was in production.
If you’re after more Force Unleashed and have played the 8th Gen version, then definitely check out the Wii version. It’s a bit grindy and the levels go on a bit, but at least they’re more interesting than the 8th Gen levels were. The DS version is a slog and a half…
So, clearly I’ve enjoyed this whole endeavour despite how I could have very easily stopped at the end of the second game (the first time). While this probably hasn’t turned me into a die-hard Star Wars fan, I’ll at least consider the franchise more fondly in the future.
May The Force be with you.