Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (PS3 Game Review)

And then there was light…sabers…two actually.  Yes, after the impressive sales of 2008’s Star Wars The Force Unleashed, it only made sense to build on that success and deliver a sequel.  After all, the first one wasn’t just a video game, it was the only piece of Star Wars non-movie material that George Lucas declared official Star Wars canon.  That means what you saw and played in that game, officially took place and is on par with the movies (between episode III and IV to be exact). The game opened up a whole new world in Star Wars gaming as it provided a straight on action experience with Sith abilities and an array of enemies and environments in front of you to lay waste to.  With The Force Unleashed II being released this past Tuesday, the sequel has some serious shoes to fill.

To recap the story of the first game, you played the first level as Darth Vader himself, destroying wicker huts and throwing wookies across the Kashyyyk landscape.  At the end of the road, you are tasked with eliminating a Jedi on the run.  Upon dispatching the do-gooder, Vader finds the knight had a young son who is very sensitive in the Force.  That boy becomes known simply as the Apprentice, but covertly as Starkiller (a name Lucas had come up with 30+ years ago for Luke Skywalker’s original last name).  The story had plenty of twists and turns as it took you from the Chewbacca’s homeworld to a massive scrapyard planet to the Coruscant and several points in between.  Starkiller’s talent makes him arguably the greatest Force user of all time, though he falls in the end to the hands of Vader and Emperor Palpatine.  In Force Unleashed II, you begin as what appears to be a clone of the former villain turned hero on the rain-soaked planet of Kamino.  The Apprentice’s travels will highlight new locations for him, previously unvisited in the previous installment, such as Kato Neimoidia and Dagobah.  After throwing a few stormtroopers around and jacking Vader’s ride, the chase begins.


The game can play at a pretty feverish pace at times (regardless of which of the three difficulty settings you use),especially when turning a corner and running into a nest of Imperials.  You begin with twin lightsabers and a core set of Force abilities which include the Force push, Force lightning and a levitating grab-and-throw.  As you progress, you can utilize the lightsaber throw and Force bubble that releases a shockwave of energy in all directions.  One new addition to this title is the mind control ability.  Using this will either cause an enemy to leap from the nearest ledge or turn him against his comrades.  In addition, you will also find the level-up concept back in a slightly different form (cubes instead of spheres).  Red cubes provide different lightsaber abilities, but as Starkiller has two sabers, you need to get both crystals of the same type to be able to use them.

With the red cubes unlabled, you won’t know what the box holds in store until you obtain it.  Yellow cubes provide Force points which allow you to upgrade your abilities, blue cubes increase your in-play Force meter while green adds on to your health.  Quite often, just as before, these are creatively hiddenAs far as the story goes, this time you’re out to rescue love interest Juno Eclipse who’s been captured by Vader.  In the meantime, Starkiller is blinded by his pursuit of the blonde while the new Rebellion takes a beating at the hands of the Empire.


As with the first Force Unleashed, the sequel also runs off of the proven God of War engine.  Melee actions revolve around combos which are uber easy and fun to perform.  Believe me when I say I sucked at just about any street fighting game that ever game out.  The ability to look like an acrobat with glowing swords is pretty darn sweet when all I had to do is enter a random sequence of three buttons.  Defeating level bosses works the same as before (and in God of War).  After taking down the villain to a certain energy level, the player is prompted with a button sequence that they must exactly follow and within a fairly quick amount of time.  For those of you that haven’t played either game, it’s not the difficult.  The square button will appear on screen and you have a few seconds to tap it on the controller.  If you do it correctly, another prompt will appear and so on.  If you wait too long or botch it, it’s time to bring the boss’s energy down a bit again and start the sequence all over.

Directing your attacks, using your Force abilities in the heat of the moment, and mastering the art of the double-jump require minimal effort.  All of this adds to the attractiveness of the game and the ability to play it right out of the box.  Tensions teeter in Kamino’s cloning facility as you make one leap of faith after another, trying to position the character at just the location above a seemingly bottomless pit.  Combine this with the ease of use of the Force dash in mid-air and you’ve got yourself one wicked clone to be reckon with.

Graphics & Sound

The animation sequences are nothing short of incredible.  In-game play movements and backgrounds are fluid and detailed for the most part.  There are occasional glitches with something just doesn’t jive…let me explain.  In one scene, you’ll see Vader taking a knee.  Somehow, the foot he’s supporting himself with is gone.  It looks like a black-clad stump in the floor grating.  I’ve also experienced a few hiccups in frame rate in the form of two slowdowns.  These occurred when there were so many enemies on the screen, the system didn’t know how to handle it all.

One massive improvement in this game over the original is the animations.  In the first game, your lightsaber was pretty much a scorching baseball bat.  It would do little more than leave a few burn marks and knock guys across the playing field.  Now, however, you will find that limb dismemberment is ever present.  A few well-timed slashes to any Imperial troop can sever limbs like the old hot knife through butter.  My personal favorite animation has to be the realism of a jammed gun.  From time to time, you will find a very frustrated and panicking Imperial who’s trying to get a few shots off on you, only to discover his gun won’t fire.  The enjoyment in walking up to one of these poor saps is a true highlight.

The sound surpasses the graphics on the ground level.  NPC chatter during gameplay adds a great deal to the atmosphere of the game, most notably when allies or enemies are off in the distance.  Blaster bolts, saber strikes, explosions, grunts, groans, and vehicle thrust all come across with a beautiful resonance here.  This attribute is certainly a standout here and outdoes its predecessor by a recongnizable margin.  More sound effects and their impeccable timing (except during those hiccups) will dazzle any surround sound system fortunate enough to relay the sounds of this game.

Final Thoughts

Whether or not George Lucas categorizes Force Unleashed II as official storyline material remains to be seen.  Nevertheless, LucasArts delivered yet another solid title here.  This game can suit button mashers as well as those looking for a more definite sequence of attacking the opposition through the Sony controller.  The storyline does an impressive job of supporting the gameplay and the worlds you will embark upon.  Game saves are enabled throughout, but don’t count on picking up EXACTLY where you left off in every case.  This can make some situations annoying as you’ll have to likely go back and replay significant portions of a level you’ve already struggled through and completed.  Speaking of the levels, they are definitely longer than in the first Force Unleashed.  This can be good or bad.  Good, because it’s more substance to the game.  Bad, because you may wonder if it’s ever going to end.  When all is said and done, this game easily earns a grade A for the sum of its parts, flaws included.  Everybody wants to be a power-wielding Jedi and with the Force Unleashed II, you can return to that role.


21 Responses to “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (PS3 Game Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I had to suffer through the first game’s frustrating gameplay because I enjoyed the story.

    Hearing from many that this game doesn’t do much to improve that and that the story isn’t very good doesn’t make me want to suffer through this one. Time for some rock band 3.

  2. Sean Ferguson

    I’m looking forward to this and Rock Band 3!

  3. Brian White

    Despite wanting to like this solely because it is Star Wars, I was so disappointed with the first game that I just can’t play this…again despite really really wanting to like it!

  4. Sean Ferguson

    I don’t know about you guys but I liked the first game although I didn’t really care much about the main character. It was a good story though and I liked the combat although I think the force powers are way too excessive even though it’s fun. There’s no way Starkiller is that powerful compared to Palpatine, Yoda, Vader, and Luke.

  5. Aaron Neuwirth

    It is called “Force Unleashed”. I just didn’t have fun playing the game, but was really into the story. I guess I should have just read the novelization, but I didn’t think a Star Wars game like this would be as frustrating to play as it was.

  6. Sean Ferguson

    I get the title and I know they are just catering to dudes that just want to feel invincible, but I would have preferred that they kept to canon level abilities.

  7. Gregg

    I must be missing the boat on the playability everyone is referring to. I will say jumping straight at a raised platform from a behind-the-back view can distort perception and cause you to miss your landing. Other than that, I thought the first one was great and the second one is better.

    Sean, as for the canon level of things, that’s very tough to do and you know they’re not going NOT make it if Lucas didn’t give it canon status. Of all the novels, comic books and SW games out there, how many are actually declared official storyline material connecting with the films? Very, very few. I think Force Unleashed is the perfect title. You get to unleash hell on these guys in a variety of deadly forms. Brilliant!

  8. Brian White

    I wish they could make like a FORCE UNLEASHED/Unreal Tournament style game using Star Wars characters (and I am not referring to Battlefield). That would be fun as hell! It would get me back into gaming!

  9. Gregg

    They already do…Star Wars Battlefront. My favorite game of all time (the first one, not the sequel).

  10. Brian White

    Battlefront …ha ha…talk about a game with horrible playing controls. 🙁

  11. Sean Ferguson

    I loved the Battlefront games but I will agree that the flying controls sucked. The rest of the game was awesome though!

  12. Brian White

    My favorite Star Wars game of all time was Masters of Tera Kasi on the PS1. Mortal Kombat – Star Wars Style!

  13. Aaron Neuwirth

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a list of worst star wars games ever that doesn’t have Masters of Tera Kasi on it ;).

    The Battlefront games were awesome. I wish a PS3 one would come out.

    I always loved the Rebel Assault PC games.

  14. Sean Ferguson

    LOL that is my least favorite Star Wars game but I still enjoyed it and own it. It wasn’t true to the characters but it was still fun in an elseworlds kind of way.

  15. Gregg

    Oh my God the flight controls sucked in that game. Steal a TIE Fighter and if you can stay airborne for more than 5 seconds, you were either getting by on dumb luck or actually figured out how to master those controls. It was like flying an amoeba with an engine. There was no form to be found!

  16. Brian White

    I’m so disheartened by your comment Aaron. 🙁

  17. Aaron Neuwirth

    Brian, I myself have never played “Star Wars Kombat”, I just know of it’s infamy. I’m still waiting for “Bust-a-Move: Jawa Edition”.

  18. Sean Ferguson

    LOL As a hardcore Star Wars fan I would buy Bust-a-Move Jawa Edition. I’ve bought every other Star Wars game so why not that one too? Utinni!!

  19. Aaron Neuwirth

    “Jar Jar’s Bad Fur Day”

  20. Sean Ferguson

    I’d probably draw the line on that one but then again, Jar Jar doesn’t have fur. He’s basically an alien frog. I know…nerd alert.

  21. Aaron Neuwirth

    I risked getting that comment for the sake of making the joke.