Okay, maybe this will become a regular thing for me- small reviews with just my bare unvarnished opinions of a game. Well, maybe not that regular since I rarely write as much as I used to...
Anyhoo, Star Wars : The Force Unleashed.
Sure, at this point most people interject with some wistful filler about how much the Star Wars trilogy affected them in their formative years and how gorram horrible most of the recent Lucas-lite sputum is. Well, I'm just a fan- not a fanboy.
Also, you'd normally expect some kind of backstory for the game at this point- read Wikipedia, I don't have the time to recap it for you.
On we go...
1: Very nice to look at. There's a definite art-style at work here and it's pleasing to the eye, with lots happening in the background and pretty much every character/creature well rendered. However, there's a downside to it too- but I'll get to that.
2: Sounds fantastic. I expected a THX logo, but it was nowhere in the beginning credits- so I made do with the glowing DTS symbol on my amplifier. It's a good mix of booming bass, swooping screeches around you and none of it crowds out the voice-over work.
3: The Force. It rocks.
4: It all controls well. You aren't overwhelmed with powers at first, which might disappoint the eager gamer but the average player will be thankful that there's a learning curve. I played the demo, with pretty much everything turned on for you from the beginning and I swear I didn't know I could electrocute someone until the 2nd playthrough. No such issues in the finished product.
Which takes me to the cons... Oh, dear Cthulhu... all the cons.
1: Finishing the game. It's what we aspire to do when we sit in front of the holy trinity of HDTV, PS3 and Surround-Sound System. It's also something I'd like developers to do, y'know, before you start to act like it's gone gold. Bugs aplenty here- and not just the ones you force blast into the stratosphere. I can only imagine that the recent Lucasarts problems made them cut costs- in QA testing.
2: Those graphics I mentioned earlier? Great. Wonderful to look at. But they tend to overwhelm the screen too much- look to the Junkyard levels for an example. With so much moving about onscreen and a color pallet that tends to make everything look the same, you might find it hard to pick your targets out on these backdrops.
3: Cheap, cheap death. I'm not saying I'm the greatest gamer in the world- I'm more like a knowledgeable enthusiast with a lot of experience. But this game just loves to screw with you. Sure, stack the odds against me but don't get me trapped in endless slams and shots that juggle me around like a game of Tekken. Also, falling into a pit shouldn't be the same kind of death knell for a freakin' Jedi, okay?
4: Repetition. Sure, in almost all games we're doing at least one thing again and again. At least most decent games will be interspersed with monotony-breaking sections- obligatory stealth sections of the early 2000's, I'm looking at you. In SW:STFU, repetition isn't just in the gameplay- it's in the level design. Literally. They artificially expand the game by taking the levels and rejigging them to make new ones. Same background, same enemies- different layout. It's breeding boredom.
Okay, this is a little longer than I wanted- I could go on, but I won't.