Unleashed II short on replay value, originality

The Star Wars franchise has brought us many different titles that have both wowed us and disappointed us. In 2008, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed wowed most and disappointed few. Its familiar style of gameplay, storyline and characters in the game gave it generally favorable reviews. Now in 2010, LucasArts has released the next game in the series entitled Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II.

The Force Unleashed II features a story that has only somewhat to do with the first game. The “Starkiller” you play as is revealed by Darth Vader to be a clone of the original. Haunted by dreams and visions of the original Starkiller, you end up betraying Darth Vader and going on a quest to find help from the Alliance and your former lover, Juno Eclipse.

The gameplay has much of the same style as the first game. Throughout the first level, the clone remembers most of the special moves and techniques the original had in the first game. This gives you access to about ninety-five percent of the moves right away which is a nice touch.

The game is mostly about the fighting. The first game had it down pretty well, so slight touchups without massive changes is perfect enough for this game. One of the biggest changes in the game is the addition of a second lightsaber for battle. The lightsaber upgrade system has also changed, as well as the technique upgrade system.

The lightsabers now have effects associated with them instead of just changing color. The system from the first game that used color crystals and power crystals has been combined into one single lightsaber upgrade system. When you find a lightsaber upgrade, it will show up as a certain color and will have an effect that goes well with the color.

For example, the green lightsaber crystal will increase health regeneration. There are other effects, such as an orange crystal that lets you set enemies on fire or a red crystal that increases your damage. The health and force meter upgrades have been taken out of the upgrade system and have been moved to actual gameplay elements where you collect the upgrades which happen instantly.

The technique upgrade system has also been slightly changed. Instead of having three types of orbs to use for upgrades, it has been combined into one set of orbs for all upgrades. Techniques like force push and force lightning can be upgraded as well as other skills like lightsaber damage.

There are slight changes in the fighting from the first to the second game. For example, the force push technique takes much longer to charge up to its full power. Also, there isn’t any automatic deflection of lasers shot from the stormtroopers without blocking like in the first game.

Another change is the addition of Jedi mind tricks. The player can use a Jedi mind trick on an enemy to either make him attack his allies or run away for a short time. It is very useful in many situations.
The graphics have also been slightly touched up. The game is a bit prettier than the first one and handles physics a lot better.

Rather than having a “training room” like in the first game, there’s a more straightforward challenge mode in the second game. The player must complete certain objectives to earn a medal. Completing the challenge in under certain times gets the player better medals. A ranking system is also included to compare to the community or friends.

That being said, there’s a major problem with the game: it is very short. I was able to sit down after class and finish the game in about five hours. Granted, I was playing on the easiest difficulty to get through as much of the game as I could, but I could probably get through it on medium or even hard in not more than one or two more hours. There also aren’t very many challenges to do once completing the main story.
The fact that the game is very short and doesn’t include many challenges gives it virtually no replay value, making it not worth the sixty dollars it costs. Renting the game is a better decision than buying it.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is a valiant attempt to continue the good reputation the Star Wars franchise had with the Force Unleashed series. However, the major flaw with the length of the game tarnishes its name. If you are a big fan of the series, it’s a very fun fighting game for the time that you’re playing it. Hopefully, if LucasArts decides to make a third installment, they will make the game a bit longer.