The original Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a video game praised highly from most game critics for its story. It was never, however, looked above good by true video game reviewers for two major reasons: the camera and targeting system. The former of which made people sea-sick, in a way, and the latter just down-right frustrating at times.
But there is always a new hope, especially in the Star Wars saga. When it comes to the original The Force Unleashed, the majority of fans felt the story was excellent, but the game could be improved on. Enter The Force Unleashed II. Announced originally in December of 2009, TFU II is, once again, a multimedia journey. That is, the story will be told through three different mediums: novel, comic and, of course, the game. Unlike the first, the comic is not a straight retelling of the story within the game; instead it focuses on a character featured in the game and their journey through TFU II. The novel, written like its predecessor by Sean Williams, will likely be similar to the original in that it tells the story of the game with only a few added portions along the way. What really will be focused on though, and what really is the center of my thoughts in this letter, is the game medium for The Force Unleashed II.
The story was the best part of TFU, and although visually pleasing when seen on the Xbox 360 and PS3, it could be enjoyed in the comic medium just as easily. The game medium, then, needed something to make it stand out and be a truly unique game, not only for Star Wars, but as a video game as a whole. It needed to wow not only die-hard fans, but general gamers as well. Apparently, it did. It sold over seven million copies worldwide since its release in 2008. But two fatal flaws still existed.
Let me start off by stating that I enjoyed the original TFU game: in terms of story and in gameplay. I did, however, share the same feelings towards both the camera and targeting in the game, at least for the Xbox 360 (Note: All game discussion herein will be based on the 360/PS3 version of the game). It was a game that, for me, had enough to keep me hooked for quite awhile and contributed quite heavily and well to the existing Expanded Universe of Star Wars. I did, though, hope that if a second game were to be made, LucasArts would at least fix the camera and targeting issues.
Having played The Force Unleashed II at Celebration V, I can tell you that, for that most part, these problems have been addressed. Like Mr. Hinkle notes in his preview on Joystiq, the camera is now pushed back, allowing players to see more. The game feels less compact, and you no longer feel like you’re moving too quickly. The targeting, although still without a true retinal, responds much better and is truly more sensitive than it was in the original game. Gamers will be happy to know that it is no longer a guessing game to tell what you are about to be Force pushing.
Add on to that new force powers, devastating new combos (one I personally found satisfying was a finishing grapple move which allows you to face-palm and then punch a storm trooper multiple times, cracking the helmet), as well as blood and dismemberment (limbs fly, heads roll), and you already have a better game. And that’s not even counting any improvement to the story. October 26, please come faster.