With the one-year anniversary of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed looming on the not-too-distant horizon, LucasArts has been hard at work on new downloadable content for fans hoping to squeeze a few more adventures (and perhaps some Jawa punting) out of the Sith apprentice. When this DLC arrives, you'll once again take control of Darth Vader's soft-spoken underling as he travels to a pair of worlds near and dear to fans of the original trilogy: Tatooine and Hoth. We recently played through the Tatooine half of the storyline to see what you can expect when this content arrives in the fall. Warning: This preview contains significant story spoilers regarding The Force Unleashed.
The Tatooine story picks up after the end of The Force Unleashed. As you may recall, just prior to the game's conclusion you were given the choice of going after either Darth Vader or Emperor Palpatine. For the sake of simplicity, the new DLC focuses on one of these choices by assuming you've elected to kill Darth Vader. This takes the apprentice down a new career path as the personal assassin for Emperor Palpatine, which sets the story for the Tatooine mission. As the game explains, highly secretive plans for the Death Star have gone missing courtesy of the Rebel Forces, and the apprentice has been dispatched to Tatooine to deal with them accordingly.
After the traditional Star Wars intro sequence of yellow text scrolling into the horizon, you're brought down onto a remote cliff on Tatooine. A cutscene shows the apprentice, cloaked in tattered desert survival wear, approaching a pair of Jawas fixing a droid. He takes them out with his lightsaber, then takes a moment to chat with his new master, Emperor Palpatine, via hologram. Palpatine orders the apprentice to go to the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the closest thing there is to a decent source of information on this particular wasteland planet.
To get there, the apprentice has to do battle with Jawas, Tusken Raiders, and Gamorrean guards. In our build, all the Force powers were unlocked from the very beginning, so it doesn't look like you'll have to go back and relearn the abilities that you've already unlocked in the original game. The core gameplay and controls are more or less identical to those in The Force Unleashed, which means that all those strengths (a wide assortment of terrific combos and powers) and weaknesses (finicky targeting system) that were present the first time around are still here. However, LucasArts seems to have recognized the criticisms of some of the larger gameplay sequences, meaning that you won't see anything on the order of the frustrating star destroyer set piece from the original game.
After meeting with Jabba--we won't spoil how that particular encounter goes--you're sent on a quest that throws you into fights with rancors, droids, plenty more Gamorrean guards, and a handful of other enemy types. The end of the DLC is capped off with a pair of boss fights. The first one has you fighting against a very powerful Boba Fett, and the second one whisks you away to Mos Eisley for an encounter with a very familiar face that we won't spoil for you right here.
This latest DLC for The Force Unleashed looks ready to put a big grin on the faces of fans of the original game. It has added some slight refinements to the experience while adding in a bunch of very familiar characters from the original Star Wars trilogy. That said, those who were put off by the original won't find anything remarkably different about the way this game plays. You can expect the DLC to be released this fall.