Hands-on with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (DS/PSP)

After the marvelous Dyson and I got done playing through the Wii version, we were moved to the handheld versions of the game. Dyson made a mad dash for the PSP version, which is the version I wanted to try out. I didn’t want to make a fuss, so I let Dyson play the PSP. I would later have my revenge by spitting in his Philly cheese steak sandwich when he wasn’t paying attention. 

I’m just kidding, Dyson; I didn’t care which version I got to play (but I still spat in your sandwich). While Dyson engrossed himself in the PSP version, I got to check out the DS version. Hit the jump to check out our previews on the DS and PSP versions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

DS preview:

Just like all the other versions, you’ll start off Unleashed on the Nintendo DS as Darth Vader. He’s on the Wookiee homeworld on a mission to hunt down Rebel scum. Before I go on, I just have to say how hilarious it is hearing the Wookiees make noises on the DS. I couldn’t help but laugh every time I killed a Wookiee. They sound like little baby goats!

Controls are very simple. You’ll move around with the D-pad (or the face buttons for you lefties), L and R are used to block, and all of your attacks are on the touch screen.

There are six icons on the touch screen for Force Push, jumping, slashing your Saber, Force Choke, Electric blast and throwing your lightsaber. What’s really interesting about this touch screen setup is that you can drag the buttons together to string combo attacks. So, for instance, stringing all of the buttons in a counterclockwise fashion will release a giant Force blast, taking out anything near Vader. There will be over a dozen or so combos that will be available by combining the touch icons. 

One major thing lacking in the DS version is the ability to use the Force as freely in the console version. You can pick up objects and people, but can’t move them around wherever you want to. In one part of the Wookiee level, I needed to lower a bridge with the Force. Whereas you would just pull a bridge down in the console version with the analog sticks, the DS will tell you which buttons you need to press to get the bridge down. 

I love the control implementation, but that’s really the only good thing about the DS version. The graphics aren’t anything special and it really made it hard for me to enjoy myself as I played through the game. There will be a multiplayer mode as well, but we didn’t get a chance to check it out. The DS version, along with all the other versions, will be out this September. 

PSP preview:

In an ironic coincidence, I really wanted to check out the DS version of the game instead of the PSP version. Since Hamza outweighs me by a good 20 pounds, I also didn’t want to make a fuss. I did, of course, also do horrible things to his cheese steak sandwich, all the while wondering why mine had an “interesting flavor.”

Regardless of sandwich shenanigans, I did get some hands-on time with the PSP version of The Force Unleashed. Sadly, I didn’t get too much time with it, so I can only give you quick rundown.

The PSP and the PS2 versions are reportedly identical versions, but were based on their big brother counterparts. The difference, aside from the whole graphics thing, was that the PS2/PSP version include what are called the Historic Missions.

Along with the main storyline, the player can load up one Historic Mission from past Star Wars canon and play it from the bad guy’s point of view. I only had the time enough to play through the Darth Vader vs. Luke battle from Empire, but I certainly enjoyed the experience.

Staying with the idea that you’re going to be playing the antagonist, my role was to have Vader knock that whelp of a son right off that weird pointy thing in Cloud City — sans arm. I would like to say that I succeeded in that task, but I found that Luke’s quite a little punk-ass to fight.

The battle scenario also contained the mechanic of the timed button press that we’ve been seeing in every game ever. As a mechanic I actually enjoy, the only complaint I had was that the prompts weren’t very eye-catching. You usually end up not seeing the first one, then having to regain your ground until the prompt was activated again.

Overall, I really didn’t have all that much time with the game, but the Historic Mission feature was one that I would recommend for any fan of the series. If the remaining content complements these missions well, then I can definitely see this being a worthwhile purchase.

Also, don’t tell Hamza, but I did something even worse to his drink 😉

Hamza Aziz