Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer
It's good to be bad in this latest Star Wars game that lets you use the Force in ways like never before.
Star Wars video games have always been popular, from the original arcade game putting you in the pilot seat of Luke’s X-Wing fighter in the assault on the Death Star to the almost RPG-style Knights of the Old Republic series giving you command of a small band of smugglers, fighters, and Jedi conscripted to save the galaxy. These more modern games allowing you to play as a Jedi have been especially popular, because let’s face it, we (Star Wars fans) all want to wield light sabers and pull Jedi mind tricks on the weak and unsuspecting.
SW:TFU has set it’s goals a bit higher than simply allowing you to do that. The developers set out to redefine Star Wars games by giving you a command of the Force never before available or imagined. It all started with an idea that turned into a video pitch a few years ago that you can watch below:
Of course, that was just pre-rendered video of what the developers wanted to do. With their pitch approved, they then had to go out and deliver on it. I can tell you from playing the demo for SW: TFU (available for free download on Xbox Live) that it looks like they have not only succeeded but knocked it out of the park.
Briefly, SW: TFU puts you in the role of Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, aiding the Sith Lord in his task of hunting down the remaining Jedi in the years between Episodes III and IV. That’s all we know for now, and there’s nothing more revealed about your character’s past in the demo. What you do get a big dose of is the newly developed Force Grip power, and you get to take it out for a test drive at an Imperial shipping yard where a Jedi knight on Vader’s hit list has launched an assault with soldiers of the early Rebel Alliance. You task is to kill the Jedi, and leave no witnesses. As you are Vader’s secret apprentice and the Emperor is not to know of your existence, this means that you get to kill anyone in your way, Imperial and Rebel troops alike. This is where the fun begins.
In Star Wars games past you had access to a host of various Force powers, with the standard Force Push, Force Lightning, etc. In SW: TFU you can use these, but the real treat is Force Grip. As you walk around all sorts of items in the environment will become highlighted by a blue reticle, indicating you can “grab” them with the Force. Crates, barrels, canisters, droids, tie fighters, people. Once you have control of the object, you can move it in all directions of three-dimensional space, as well as throw it in any direction with the force of a cannon. Did I mention you can Force Grip people? And that you’re Vader’s apprentice? Being bad has never been this much fun, because the number of ways you can dispose of those in your way seems limited only by your imagination. Want to cut them down with your light saber? Check. Mow them down with a crate? Check. Crush them underneath a lobbed tie fighter? Check. Lift them high into the air and piston them down into the ground? Check. I could go on and on and on, and I’ve only played part of a single level.
SW: TFU has stellar graphics and near impeccable gameplay. If the story presented in-game is on the same level, this could easily be one of the best games of the year and go down as one of the best Star Wars games of all time.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is set for release in North America on September 16, 2008.