Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II First Look

Starkiller is now facing some serious identity issues, but at least he's got dual lightsabers to cheer himself up.

Released in September 2008, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed proved that a game can be plenty of fun and still utterly heartbreaking at the same time. This beautiful action game from LucasArts had so much going for it: stunning art design, a robust physics engine that drove a wide variety of Force powers, and a compelling story that almost made fans forget about the prequels. (Hey, we said almost.) But a number of niggling issues like an imprecise targeting system and some ill-conceived set pieces punted much of the game's potential. Despite those issues, the game wound up selling north of 7 million copies, so naturally LucasArts is working on a sequel--a game we had the opportunity to see last week. [Warning: This preview contains spoilers related to the original Force Unleashed.]

Dual wielding lightsabers is a new facet of combat.

Knowing where the sequel picks up requires a brief history lesson on the ending of the original. If you don't recall, The Force Unleashed offered players a choice: kill Darth Vader and serve at Emperor Palpatine's side (the non-canonical dark side ending) or take the good guy route by going after Palpatine. The latter option resulted in the protagonist Starkiller sacrificing himself to let his rebel accomplices escape, lying dead as the game drew to a close. The Force Unleashed II picks up the narrative thread from this option, the canonical ending from the original. You've been cloned by Vader's forces and are currently being housed in a prison cell on Kamino.

Explaining why Darth Vader would take such a risk, producer Matt Filbrandt said, "He's basically trying to re-create the ultimate Sith warrior." But after a training regime gone awry, Starkiller uses his raw Force powers to escape captivity and go on the lam, which begins a hunt that serves as the primary conflict for the rest of the game. But what of Starkiller the clone? "Essentially, Starkiller is now trying to find out who he is, what it means to be human, and ultimately all he knows is that he has these visions of [Juno Eclipse, the original game's love interest]. And in order to figure out who he is, he has to figure out who she is."

Vader's quest to build the ultimate Sith clone is what kicks off the story.

Of course, the storyline was already one of the strong points of the original game, and with the same team of writers returning for a second go around, it's safe to assume The Force Unleashed II will maintain a similar level of quality in its narrative. During this demo, we were more interested in what's being done on a gameplay level--specifically, how LucasArts is treating the targeting system players use to command objects in the environment. That unreliable targeting system was a fickle mistress when it came to using Force grip to pick things (or people) up and fling them at other things (or people). Filbrandt's take: "We've really cleaned things up. We've taken a really hard look at the overall targeting priority system to make sure that, nine times out of 10, the player's going to grab what he wants, and when he throws it at something, it's going to hit what he wants to hit."

The most noticeable change to that system has been made to the visual indicator for your target. The boxy reticule in the middle of the screen is now gone and has been replaced by a glowing blue halo effect that surrounds the entire object you're targeting. This visual effect seems to do a much better job of distinguishing what's under your control, and Filbrandt seems confident that the focus testing LucasArts has done suggests that players agree. Because this was a purely hands-off demo, we're not quite ready to believe this system will fix things entirely, but it's certainly reassuring to hear that LucasArts knows perfectly well--and is focused on improving--one of the biggest flaws in the first game.

These things don't stand a chance.

The Force Unleashed II isn't all continuations and refinements, though. Our demo included a decent handful of entirely new gameplay sequences. It began with Starkiller in a freefall, tumbling from a giant tower as if he were BASE jumping. There were numerous ledges jutting out from the tower that Starkiller had to demolish during that freefall. There were also new Force powers like the mind trick, which has enemies fighting alongside you or turning manic and jumping off ledges depending on the scenario. We're also told that players will be able to pilot the TIE fighter that Starkiller steals from Vader during the introductory moments, which is something we're eager to see in action.

Altogether, The Force Unleashed II looks quite promising. The biggest question mark remains firmly in place--how the game plays with a controller in hand--but it's good to see that LucasArts seems aware of the first game's flaws while adding entirely new elements. We could go on about some of the new features (dual lightsabers!) and fixes (faster menus!), but we should have plenty of time for that as we get closer to the game's release later this year. Expect to see more on The Force Unleashed II at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo.

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456 comments
AkhilAnilkumar
AkhilAnilkumar

The first game was too cool....just hope that the second one lives up to the potential.....

thedarkknight59
thedarkknight59

i just can't wait .. the first was wicked this ones gonna brake ratings =0

lokoplny
lokoplny

cant wait for it... im a big fan of the first one and that one looks a lot better :D

Genesis9100
Genesis9100

looks like it will be a great rental, sorry to say i wouldn't buy any sequel to a game that took 6 hours to beat but i still absolutely loved it.

Lords-Of-Shadow
Lords-Of-Shadow

I loved Star Wars The Force Unleashed 1 for ps3, great story, fun and awesome gameplay and a few surprises, just felt like it was missing a versus mode where you could be all the bosses as well as starkiller kind of like star wars episode 3 the game. Please add that in SWTFU2!!!!

mactavishfan
mactavishfan

I'm physced about the game everything looks alot better

ifoundyou37
ifoundyou37

xOperationMikex why do people like you always want blood and gore its good without it BAD COMPANY 1 STAR WARS BATTLE FRONT 1 AND 2 STAR WARS THE FORCE UNLEASHED BATTLEFIELD 1943 all good game no blood or gore

AGs87
AGs87

I'm so ready for this....I aint even into Star Wars but that last one was on point

speed_aholic
speed_aholic

Strike079 and FearDarkness. actually he was taken at such a young age and raised as a sith all of his life so he would be completly menacing and evil, which is a believable character if your trying to make it a sith have you not seen the movies!? also i dont care if you wouldnt enjoy playing as a tru sith thats wat i want is a complete badass sith to finally wipe out the jedi scum and rule the galaxy. im already dissapointed enough in vader for betraying the sith in the last movie they need to make up for that.

speed_aholic
speed_aholic

xOperationMikeX lightsabers cauterize wounds instantaneously so they cant bleed.

Nano6756
Nano6756

hooooooooooo ! Can't wait ! look better than SW:FU 1,awesome...this game will be unleashed and you will play probably as a jedi ;)

xOperationMikex
xOperationMikex

It would be awesome if it had online multiplayer. Co-op missions too.

TanakaPrime
TanakaPrime

@scaperat1 Then just STFU! You don't have to speak just do it..... Yes the joke was in bad taste but it had to be done. Anyway I'm looking forward to seeing this in action. I still think Team Ninja should be licensed to do a Star Wars game....

Ebob33
Ebob33

I just hope we have the option of doing a finishing to our enimies unlike the last one were we had to once we got his health low enough!

Optimus_Prime83
Optimus_Prime83

Hope like the first game it could pull it off and create memorable moments in the game.

the_punkface
the_punkface

so can wait. the first game was what diffined awesome and good. the game was definitly awesome, but had big issues SW!

Fededyret
Fededyret

Liked the first ones storytelling a lot, just hope this will feature some more changes: -Another play style for other characters, starkiller has a very distinctive combat style with his sword held backwards, and everyone you played as fought the same way. -I'ts lightSaber not laserclub, so tired of having to attack people several times before they die, when they should have been cut in half by the first cut. Anyway looking really forward to this game, think it's gonna be great!

Strike079
Strike079

@speed_aholic you have to remember that he's the sun of a Jedi, so Sith-ness isn't all of his past. not to mention he (SPOILER FOR 1ST GAME) gets betrayed by Vader

BlueZ06
BlueZ06

Had a blast playin the first. Can't wait to duel wield. Hooraa!

jonluke93
jonluke93

I liked the first looking forward to the 2nd

FearDarkness
FearDarkness

@speed_aholic he's not supposed to be straight up menacing, evil, deceitful Sith! That's the whole point of the storyline! Did you not play the game!? He's not effing Kratos. He has more than one level of emotion. Complexity creates believable characters, not simplicity. I stopped giving a crap about Kratos from God of War because NO ONE is that pissed all the time. It was just ridiculous. All of the BEST characters, are complex. That means tragic heroes and villains, sympathetic characters, "gray" characters... etc. If you want simple, brainless writing go play God of War or watch a Steven Seagal action flick.

speed_aholic
speed_aholic

the first one was okay but you shouldnt need to hit people so many times to kill them lightsabers are supposed to be able to cut thru anything! that means armor and people. also a more refined lightsaber combat system, it felt a little sluggish going from force combat to lightsaber combat last time around. and please expand on the force powers. i want to be able to utterly crush my enemies! and last but not least dont make starkiller sutch a pansy this time around he didnt seem like a sith at all in the vids, he needs to be cold and filled with rage at the same time but always in complete control, not sympathetic, whiney and confused. the sith will still rule the galaxy!

Saintier
Saintier

Though im not a fan of the franchise i think the first one "Force Unleashed" was the best star wars game ever and im looking forward to this one

Trently89
Trently89

games looking pretty good :)

69GamerKid69
69GamerKid69

How long will it take to "unleash" this force on the PC???

69GamerKid69
69GamerKid69

thiz iz gonna be soooo cool !..... yeah, im wid Blood_Diamond. the first one waz so cool even with the bugs and it's said that they will correct these mistakes and i cant imagine how awesome this sequel iz gonna be without the bugs! but i think the cloning part iz a bit awkward. but who cares? this is gonna be a hell o' a game!

Blood_Diamond
Blood_Diamond

I loved the first one even with the bugs... soooo can't wait for this new one, cloning seems like a cop-out meaning, they couldn't think of a reason to bring him back so they "cloned" him... still could be intresting... hope you have the saber colors again i liked that

Evandemocracy
Evandemocracy

I Loved The First one but we will see if they corrected the minor mistakes from the first one i cant wait

sgreen79
sgreen79

The first game was fun and popular even though there was so much wrong with it.. which makes the prospect of an updated and improved sequel very exciting.

noigel
noigel

IMO the first game wasn't good... the story was...acceptable but the performance of the game was far below expectations, I'm not talking about aiming but, among other things, about the bugged optional quests from half of the game (that I believe they fixed) AND SPECIALLY about something that really annoyed me: The lightsaber. The lightsaber was more a glowing-foam-baseball-bat than a lightsaber, not for the looks but for the behaviour. When fighthing, the effect of the lightsaber was just wrong, it felt like if you were hitting your enemies not cutting through them, there was a smal but perceptible "hit effect" on each impact that shouldn't be there, also you needed more than 1 "hit" to kill small enemies like soldiers and small robots... and that just doesn't feel right... Talking about the new game, I don't like the cloning thing...it's a cheap way of doing the SWFU2... I don't think I would risk it with a clone when the original failed me...and Darth Vader wasn't the kind of guy that gave you a second chance.... Also, I think lasers etc, should kill you with one hit and it should be at least 1 difficulty level that implements that... I know they should work a litle more in the basics of the game to do that, but we all want to be a true Jedi (or Sith) master...right?

lingling1211
lingling1211

I liked the first one, hope this one is even better =D

VirgilKiller
VirgilKiller

Looks like winner!!!! Can't wait for it's release.

sithphil87
sithphil87

if this game wasn't deep enough for you and the characters felt shallow and artificial, you clearing aren't a star wars fan. i thought the story was amazing and stayed on point, never drifted and did a beautiful job of adding in a new story to the star wars universe. The game play did a get a bit annoying at times but as far as story and characters go, they were right on. and wield the lightsaber in this game made me feel badass, like a jedi or sith and like i could demolish anything in my way. and you should feel cheap using lightning. its frickin lightning of course its gonna destroy anything u blast with it. thats why its a dark power. you clearly expect too much from games as far as game play and story go. they satisfied what i wanted to do as far as being a jedi/sith go. u have the force and a lightsaber, of course wimpy stormtroopers, guards, and robots walkers should be no match for you, if they were it would be pointless to be a jedi or sith.

King_Of_Harad
King_Of_Harad

bashing the prequels is getting a little old, especially since this game takes everything from the prequels. The first game sucked on my PS3, the wii version was alright though

Lukas_player
Lukas_player

The first one was awesome even with the flaws like the aim but this one is incredible!

coco_top23
coco_top23

i bought the first one by accident but wen i played i really enjoyed it :)

Myth999
Myth999

Man, I can't wait for this game. I thought the first one awesome. =D

ps3forever3
ps3forever3

The first game to me was great. combat was fun and the story was deep and compelling. don't forget about the amazing visuals. i hope this once keeps the same overall play and dosent change much

marcopolo426
marcopolo426

The first one was a fail in my opinion. The story was all over the place and didn't draw me into it at all. The characters felt really shallow, artificial and emotionally dead. The main characters was so overpowered, Lucus Arts could have got away with calling the game something completely different than 'Star Wars'. The game play front was pretty poor too. In all the Star Wars games that I have played, I haven't been more bored with a light saber. There was no feel of weight or power. It felt very cheap when using force lightning and slicing a 10 foot walker in to two which should feel awesome.

CloudStrife97
CloudStrife97

I liked the first game, it was alot of fun, I think a more open world mode would really help the game though instead of just here is your mission go do it, and though I know it wont happen an online vs. mode would make it a perfect game! Could have a red light saber team vs blue light saber team, free for all mode, 1v1, alot of possibilities there.

Assemblent
Assemblent

Cool news. I expect this to be a great sequel... The first one in my humble opinion almost got it. I'd have to agree with @Cronus1986 please do make the lightsabers fell a little bit more powerful and vanquish our enemies the way it's supposed to do.

5M177Y
5M177Y

this is a game i want NOW

Omegamojo
Omegamojo

@dennyx11 it is. check imdb.com for his credits.

newhighscore
newhighscore

the review is dead on. looks fine on paper and on screen, but i wont know jack until theres a controller in my hand. i like the aspect of the "jedi mind trick" though. imagine enlisting a cpl rancor to do your bidding. or having fett as your ally.