E3 2008: Star Wars: Force Unleashed Hands-On

We leap through environments and tear them up with the Force in this upcoming action game at E3 2008.

The E3 2008 event is still going strong, and we're still on hand, bringing you coverage of exciting new games like Star Wars: Force Unleashed. Development on this impressive action game is practically complete (it ships in September), and it looks and plays extremely smoothly. The level we got our mitts on was a TIE fighter factory guarded by Imperial soldiers and Stormtroopers in the PlayStation 3 version of the game, though the game should be very similar across most console platforms, with the exception of the Wii, which will actually let you use the motion-sensing Wii Remote controller to swing your lightsaber manually. We're told this was the second level, so at this point, we had only a few of the game's different Force powers. In the game, you play as the secret Jedi apprentice to the mighty Darth Vader between the events of Episode III and Episode IV (better known in theaters as Star Wars), but because your mission is to seek out and destroy any possible threats to the Empire, your journey will pit you against both the Rebel Alliance and Imperial troopers (who have been branded as Vader traitors), as well as other Jedi who have gone into hiding.

In the TIE fighter factory, we fought our way through various rooms and connected corridors toward our objective, which had something to do with...TIE fighters. Honestly, we forget. We were too busy utilizing our "Force Grip" power (the right trigger button) to lift up screaming enemy soldiers and fling them through the air. You can use this power simply by turning to face the object (explosive barrel, enemy soldier, or whatever else isn't nailed down), which brings up a small translucent cursor over the item to target it; if the cursor is red, you won't be able to lift it because it's too heavy or bolted down, but if the cursor is blue, it's yours for the telekinetic taking.

Being bad has never felt so good.

The controls seem very straightforward--the left analog stick moves your character and the right stick controls the camera, which is what you'd expect from a conventional third-person action game. The square button is used to execute melee attacks with your lightsaber, a very effective weapon with a standard three-hit combination attack if you hammer the button repeatedly, but not nearly as fun as pressing the circle button to use the Force push ability, which emits a translucent wave of blue energy and forcefully pushes any enemies or items in your path away from you very quickly indeed. The Force grip ability is activated with the right shoulder button, and after you've picked up something (or someone), you'll keep hold of him/her/it as long as you keep the right trigger pressed (though your character can't move while lifting something), and when you let go of the item, you'll automatically Force push it away. Force powers deplete your blue Force meter, which appears at the top left of the screen just under your green health meter. The Force meter seems to replenish at a good, brisk pace, and your health seems to do so as well, though you can also gain health from fallen enemies (who leave behind glowing green orbs that restore a small amount of your health). Fortunately, with your amazing Jedi powers, it's easy to avoid most damage from regular grunt soldiers anyway because you'll automatically deflect incoming blaster fire from the front with your lightsaber, though getting shot in the back or whacked with a melee weapon will still hurt.

In the narrow corridors of the factory, we had plenty of opportunities to play Stormtrooper bowling by levitating and then hurling crates at rows of enemies, knocking them off their feet (and in the case of corridors near deep pits, off the edge). The X button lets your character jump--your standard jump is already very high, and you can double-jump with another button press, as well as use the left trigger to dash forward while airborne. This less-than-exciting sounding ability actually gives you excellent mobility and lets you close the distance with faraway enemies very quickly.

The Force Unleashed looks incredibly polished.

We continued to fight through the factory until we hit a trapped area, which was bare of any objects we could throw. Soldiers came pouring out into the room, which was promptly walled off with impenetrable laser shields. Fearing we might have to actually stop throwing stuff around for a second and actually fight like a Jedi, we pulled out our lightsaber and hacked a few foes to death until we realized that any enemies who touched the laser walls would be vaporized. This is about the time we remembered our Force push ability and went on a shoving spree, sending soldier after soldier to meet a disintegrated end.

The Force Unleashed looked like a very impressive technology demo when we first saw the game at E3 two years ago--it has now clearly matured into a polished and great-looking game with some very fun game mechanics. And the game apparently only gets better in this regard because you'll eventually learn a total of eight different Force powers and 20 different lightsaber combination attacks. You'll also be able to pull off spectacular killing moves, such as one we watched against a giant rancor beast, which involved a God of War-style button-matching minigame that let us leap on top of the creature and plunge our lightsaber through its skull a few times before blasting it with lightning bolts, then using the Force push power to smash the ground beneath the beast, sending it plunging to the cavern below. The Force Unleashed looks like it will offer lots of varied action while making you feel like you have godlike power. The game is scheduled to ship in the US on September 16, in Asia on September 17, and in Europe on September 19.

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245 comments
zHELLDOG
zHELLDOG

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

kucharz508
kucharz508

dont you guys know where i can get the demo ??? PLEASE ANSWER

15aaronl
15aaronl

I think they could have made the wiis graphics better

15aaronl
15aaronl

I think they could have made the wiis graphics better

Uesugi-dono
Uesugi-dono

Oh great, a button mini-game... the God of War fanatics are going to have a field day lambasting this as another "God of War Clone"

eheid
eheid

I sure hope the Wii version doesn't suck.......

Skinless_Snail
Skinless_Snail

This seems to be great! My only worry is it will be over too soon.

renjazz
renjazz

I think it will get 8 for the Xbox360 version, and 8,5 for the Playstation 3 version.

delatgamer12345
delatgamer12345

i hope it s noke like other starwars games that have scored low, i have kotor 1 and it is amazing , i hope it will score like that

Brutaka_720
Brutaka_720

dis has gotta get an editors' medal damn flashy ive got its demo and by GOLLY it kicks srs @$$ nva get bored of playen it

donnieluscinski
donnieluscinski

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Navyjoker
Navyjoker

Oh man this game looks so bad a$$. I bet it will score high.

Britishtwister
Britishtwister

Freejak, You bring up an interesting question. On g4tv there was a special about star wars force unleashed and on the bottom of the show there were little tid bits of information about the game. One of the little bone crushing statements came from one of the producers stating that the reason that force unleashed wouldnt be made for the PC ( dont quote me, but it basically went like this) Is the engine being used to control the physics etc was to powerful for a computer console to handle. IE not enough money to be made since not enough regular working class joes can cough up the dough to run the game on a high level gaming computer. It was stated to the degree that the PS3 and Xbox360 could handle it fine. I totally forgot it was coming to the Wii ( i get it, lightsaber and all would be fun) but i wonder if the wii cant handle the engine to a certain degree, why not make it for the computer console. Then again. I answer my own questions aloud.

sk8er3123
sk8er3123

if this is a bad game i will never trust luasarts

sk8er3123
sk8er3123

5 more days yay!!!!!!! cant wait i cant wait i cant wait times a millon

Freejak
Freejak

The critic score of 7.5 is from Nintendo Power, the Wii version lacks the physics engine of the Ps3 and Xbox 360 version, so could be a largely different style of game.

Britishtwister
Britishtwister

Goldbengal hit it exactly on the head. Why the 7.5? I wonder what the final score will be. Im sure gamespot has access to the final version as we speak and are coming up with the final tally. Im sure the score will atleast be above 8, given the technology, but who knows. let's hope for the best.

sk8er3123
sk8er3123

sorry i mean cant wait hope it aint a hype

sk8er3123
sk8er3123

cant wait hope ts great hope it aint a hype

GoldBengal
GoldBengal

It looks Awesome and I simply Love STAR*WARS, but the Critics only scored it at a 7.4 - WAOW! Hmmm... That makes me wonder...???

kidvenom2001
kidvenom2001

Gojuka....Oh you best believe that this game will be talked about for year's to come. I guess you didn't get the memo that this will be an official addition to Star Wars. So every aspect will be talked about. This isn't a game that is suppose to expand over all the episodes. It IS an episode. Or yeah call it a post-episode. So yeah it needs to live up to it, and debated as to why this "game" made it and not other Star Wars unofficial content. Yeah this will bring out much discussion. Hell I bet my unborn grand kids will talk about this. Also P-P-Pagey, you stated in your comment about "If this was the best game, then there is no need to make another." Now I can agree with you on almost everything else because we don't share the same idea. But this comment took the cake. Tell me, do you really think if any game was the perfect game that it would stop because of this? Name me one flawless game that stopped after it was made. Besides MGS4. Damn you Hideo!!! Anyways, with so much profit at stake, and Star Wars being Lucas Bread and Butter, I don't think they would stop even if it was perfect. This is where my creativity comment in another post comes into play. If you exhausted all your ideas in one game, in time you will have even more creativity to add to it. And I am sure with deadlines that every idea just can't go into a game before ship date. Also with the games that has been releasing and disappointing after play-through, I just want something I can say D@%%!!!! And will make me donate money to them for making an awesome game. And Star Wars being my favorite series of all time. I just can't help myself when comparing anything to Star Wars, that it will win hands down. I don't think it will be too disappointing. I just have my hopes up way to high.

Gojuka
Gojuka

Why is it that every single time a new star wars game comes out, every single gaming forum, message board or otherwise gets clogged up with rants and flames? It's a game guys. Play it. Fry some stormtroopers. You try and make a successful game which it TOTALLY lore-conscious to the most MINUTE (did I spell that right?) degree out of a film which is so deep as star wars. There's going to be some differences. But you seem to forget that this game, forgetting the star wars setting, is basically a big playground, starring you as a NINJA, with a LASER SWORD, which can CUT PEOPLE IN HALF, with MAGIC POWERS which lets you SLAM PEOPLE INTO WALLS. Hell, even if they called this Star Wars: Hello Kitty, I'd still freaking buy it.

dominator3333
dominator3333

look at the reviews i told you it was gonna suck..

Britishtwister
Britishtwister

Looks like i ruffled some panties.. so heres the thing. we star wars fans are a crazy and opiniated bunch. some like 4-6 ( me ) some like 1-3 some like all 1-6. These movies are which we base what we like and know to what we dont like and know. were always gonna have those that have to comment childish things as opposed to what they think about the game. P-P-Pagey, I dont like (Movies)1-3 so in reference to your: "For god sake look at episdoe 3, you teach Obi-Wan how to to do a back flip and he is a flipping ninja along with his sweet fighting style!!" I obivously dont care because "to me" the first 3 movies are horrendous and only a plot to show off technological adavncements. Thats what this game seems to me. NOTICE i said me, not you. The demo bored me too. It Just felt like my character was way to god-like to be bothered. That "for me" makes any game tend to get monotonous. What is perfect to one fan isnt perfect to another. So P-P-Pagey you cant say if we had the perfect starwars game, there wouldnt be a need for another. I think Jedi Knight II :Jedi Outcast is near perfect " FOR ME" but i am still excited to see the full extent of what force unleashed will be. IF the story drives this game and makes it intriguing then im all in, Vega-jumping, hah-do-ken, and samurai (thanks kidvenom2001) wielding n all. we're all hardcore star wars fans regardless. so we're all going to play this game one way or another. But where some of you get excited, some of us arent its fine both ways. cheers to all you gun toting flamers. besides, its all about the ewok adventures anways..

P-P-Pagey
P-P-Pagey

*sigh* look at at this, all you "Hardcore" star wars fans going on and on about how it can be better and saying this and saying that! I have followed star wars since the start, watched the films, read the books and looked into all the stuff not even connected to the main stream films. So what i can say here is that, in my opinion, there hasn't been a star wars game this contraversial and quite frankly, this good for a long time. Yes you can say that bits here and there could be improved, and hell they probably can. BUT people if you had the perfect star wars game, there wouldn't be need for another again WHICH WOULD BE SO POOR!!!!! We all thought star wars was down and out when "Clone wars" emerged for all the toddlers out there!! BUT LOOK NOW the force unleashed, hey i know what i'd rather spend my money on out of the two things!! The last thing i say aswell, all this stuff about ninja and samuri fighting styles. For god sake look at episdoe 3, you teach Obi-Wan how to to do a back flip and he is a flipping ninja along with his sweet fighting style!! So just feel the force and fry off some storm troopers then after we can all dream out more star wars!! This game looks like one of better titles Lucas has brought to the consoles so just enjoy this new chapter of the universe!!

kidvenom2001
kidvenom2001

It's amazing that the true hard core star wars fan feels that this game needs more work. And almost everyone else is just spamming hateful remarks, yet do not post any relative information in regards to the game. If I was never a fan of star wars and my only shot of buying this game was looking at some of these comments...I wouldn't even bother getting it. There is no clear "debate" on this. What's good about it, what is bad about it. WTF is wrong with some of you. Grow the hell up. Comment about the game being presented. Anways, britishtwister, you have made valid points. I think you were spot on with the whole ninja concept. The fighting style just doesn't seem jedi to me. But it instead of ninja, I would say samurai. Also the force push is over exaggerated. But thinking about it, i would rather some believable animation to it rather then through your hand out and that is it. I say let him be able to move no matter how much he is charging it up. Still #1 problem, i wanna see body limbs. Give an option to have it on or not. Just in case kids want this. I also wanna comment on force grip. I like the controls of it, but would like to see a level up option to move with it activated. Anyways, that is all.

bryjoered2007
bryjoered2007

ya only reason im commenting on this is to say to britishtwister that u are extremely and incredibly gay

wildamnesia
wildamnesia

I have to be honest, the demo bored me a little. I'm hoping the full game has much more to offer. What has my full attention right now is Fallout 3.

Britishtwister
Britishtwister

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Britishtwister
Britishtwister

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ZeRoIV
ZeRoIV

wow u said so much crap that no one wishes to read good job >>Britishtwister

Britishtwister
Britishtwister

My two cents and they are only cents so dont get all your panties in a tiffy. First the obvious, huge episode 4-6 Star wars fan. Was excited like everyone else that mr. lucas was making 1-3, then watched as star wars lost its magic with the crap that keeps coming out. So after reading XdavidCAzen23x post and then kidvenom2001 post i decided to go download the demo and play it. first thing i noticed was looks. its very polished, i liked how i felt like i could lick the t.v. and not get germs. why mr starkiller has a restraining bolt on his upper left pec muscle i have no idea, but it looked like the polished futuristic plastic-ee galaxy that star wars has become. Running into the first room with the droids i noticed that from hitting x my lightsaber came out and i then stopped being an evil apprentice and became a ninja? why all of the sudden do we need this new direction with every jedi so different that now im playing as a ninja with force powers. the attacks with the lightsaber even in combinations felt more like i was button mashing rather that accomplishing something. my baby faced apprenticed was secretly a vega-double jumping ninja in rags. The lightning has since lost its appeal now that every darksider this side of california can use it. the force push is something that takes to loong to construct. why i have to do a ha-do-ken from street fighter to let one go is on its own confusing. now all you new age star wars fans can come on in a flame all you want, but a demo of this caliber makes me want to open up outcast and play something with a decent story and star wars feel. when a game feels too much like a sand box or not as developed " for me" it loses its goodness. For iamacowboy and anyone else out there who doesnt know, a demo is portion of the game taken to be played and observed in it state of 90- 99% completion. unless we add mr. starkiller a mustache the game doesnt get changed and this close to the 16th you would only get a different box color. as being stated numerous times before, the game feels like it needs an overhaul even in its demo stage, it just doesnt feel solid like other titles. but regardless all of you go out and buy it and support the advancement of technology and maybe one day we will get that uber star wars game with george's fat ass twi-lek daughter will be in it. enjoy.

CptAsbjoern
CptAsbjoern

Loved the demo but stopped playing it after continually beating it on the hardest lvl without dying. Don't wanna overdo it.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

This seems like a good game. I wish they'd take this engine and make a Jedi Knight (or ann equivalent sereis) 4 or something like it. It'd be nice to create your own custom Jedi with a choice between lightsaber types (Single, Dual Wield, and Two-Bladed) and various force powers like you could in Jedi Knight 3 at least. I'll probably pick up and play this game though, the demo seemed fun-ish.

Stoic_Hero
Stoic_Hero

You do know that Starkiller's abilities with his lightsaber grow and evolve just like his force abilities, right? Not only does the demo only use the most basic force abilities, it also uses only the most basic lightsaber abilities, too. Besides, it was more fun to use the force anyway. XD

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

The Jedi Acadamy was a great game..How ever this is years later..Lucasarts still can punch a game in..As one poster below said...The demo is addictive ive played it 10 times myself..Spore will hold me over until its out..Ive been waiting a long time for this game..Wondering what there going to do next...Since im a big lucasarts fan...

Cleaver426
Cleaver426

Well I love the demo ANd I,M not bored of it. sO tHERRS 18 LEVELS I think SO it sounds like hours of fun.

Thereaper1981
Thereaper1981

The demo was awesom. I played it like 7 times. It hasnt gotn borin yet. The is cool and i hope its not a short game. :)

amitshah
amitshah

whos played jedi acadamy ...im quite certian this game has much less features than it, jedi acadamy had 3 lightsaber styles, with 3 fighting styles each. multiplayer, choice of hilts. only thing about force unleashed is its a great single player game, not much replayability however. will still be getting it cos its awsome! they really shuda made this into a multiplayer game. :(

XdavidCAzen23x
XdavidCAzen23x

thanks kidvenom, you really got what I was saying and didn't get lost in the negativity. Honestly I didn't mean to seem so harsh, which is why I came back and disclaimed that I didn't mean to say that SWTFU was gonna be awful. My initial letdown really came out in those first two posts pretty strongly. I was just expecting a game that felt like it was next-gen, new, incredibly cool--after all the hype that gamespot and lucas arts (and other sources) have been spinning on us for months now. I still intend on playing it because it is fun, but it's nothing like they made it out to be. In a game so extensively hyped, there is no room for lackluster anything, especially not lackluster saber play in a star wars game about jedis and sith. And lumeiwan, who really takes those rating things seriously? I didn't even remember I put a score on halo 3 until you reminded me, and honestly I wouldn't give it a 10 either lol, so who knows why I did, and who cares? You're gonna be a single issue voter when you grow up, unless somehow tragically you are already grown. lol well always glad to stir up some controversy, I'll be with you on the 16th (in the force). Peace.

lamepunk
lamepunk

This seems like it will be an awesome game but not as good maybe as I previously thought. If they can make it a lot better by taking about 6 months to maximize the potential of this then do it. I want an awesome game not a good one, I can wait a little longer.

Dominicobaggio
Dominicobaggio

Looks great and is fun with the force powers but whats going on with the lightsabre?? It doesnt cut anyone in half or hack of limbs or heads or legs :P I mean, i can cut a droid in half but storm troopers are immune... Why not make the game a 15 and make it more realistic? Jedi knight games used to have limbs come off. You dont even need blood since the sword cauterises(sp) wounds.

kidvenom2001
kidvenom2001

I am a big Star Wars fan, but I just got to comment. I totally agree with davidCAzen23x. And, I am so sick of the gaming comunity we have now. Don't you know we hold a good portion of power when it comes to games. And I am sorry, a true fan will point out it's flaws, and have them fix it. Stop excepting "okay" games. The prices go up, and rip off an older game you can find in a walmart bin for 5 bucks. Everyone disses him for his comment because it is negative. But no one else stated that this game needs more work. And by god if you have to hold it off for another year then do so. I feel this game will be good, but not great. Compare the DMC4 demo, or the God of War demo, or Ninja Gaiden Demo. This is not competing. How the heck are you gonna be a jedi with unsatisfying lightsaber skills? Wait...he is an apprentice....guess that training never came yet. And some are going to say well wait til the full game. I will say you are smoking bat dong. Because this game is about force powers, it would have been wise to maximize the lightsaber usability, and minimize the unleashed abilities in the demo. That way we have something more to look for. We all know the force is going to be awesome. And I think that part should have been left out. Maybe have lightning and more saber stuff. It seems to me that his lightsaber is not going to be exciting. Any star wars jedi game must have awesome lightsaber skills, or there is no point. People just can't open there eyes to facts now. Back then if a game sucked it sucked, if it was good it was good, if it needed work it needed work. And this game falls into the later. Please don't mistake me, I like it, but feel that it will collect dust after one play-through. But I will be going to hell if I said it didn't feel like past games. What happened to creativity. Has the world started excepting "okay" things that used to be built on creativity, and now recycled product. I understand if it ain't broke don't fix it. But you should at least have the honor of saying, yeah I ripped you off, and my version is a lot better. Pass the torch people. I WANT NEW CONTENT. Yeah it is a demo, but none of you have any practical knowledge of the time it takes to fix up the problems before launch. And I am sorry but none of you understand that the demo is representing most of what the game will be. Oh they can change his name, polish up the environment, fix some portions of the camera, add a scene or two, but it will not be enough to make this game really stand out. I say go back into the lab and continue working. I will give you up to 3 years to improve everything you can. Then compare the one coming out in september to the one that could have been revised in 3 years. I love Star Wars. Read all the books, got all the videos. Even went to see the animated movie. I collect Star Wars stuff. Got things that cost of 75,000 dollars just sitting in my room. But unleash made me think that it will change the way action adventure games where played like doom and 007 did for the fps genre. And even though your game isn't as bad as batman games compared to their movie, it still needs work.

lumeiwan
lumeiwan

Never going to listen to someone who gives halo 3 10 points. So i practically ignored what xdavidcazen23x said.

unbentonslaught
unbentonslaught

apparently xdavidcazen23x hasnt learned all the attacks.

unbentonslaught
unbentonslaught

I agree black crow,I used the force instead of the lightsaber.but i loved the game!