Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Hoth Mission Pack Review

Plain visuals and bland action make this overpriced downloadable add-on The Force Unleashed's least appealing mission yet.

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The latest downloadable add-on for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has a lot in common with the previous ones. Like the prior released content, the Hoth Mission Pack provides an interesting alternate-history take on Star Wars canon by inserting you, as antihero Starkiller, into the iconic locales depicted in George Lucas' beloved films. Unfortunately, like the prior content, it's also too expensive, delivering a measly 45 minutes' worth of content for a whopping $9.99. The price might be forgivable if that content were of high quality, but your short and icy adventure on Hoth is a simple, visually unappealing slog featuring all of the targeting and camera gaffes of the original game, but little of the fun. Even if you're fanatical about Force fan fiction and gaga over Galen, it's best to leave this mission where it belongs: buried in a tauntaun's smelly innards.

As the title so outwardly informs you, the Hoth Mission Pack drops you onto the chilly planet featured in The Empire Strikes Back, where you navigate frozen caves, slice up wampas, and destroy generators on your way to Echo Base and the Millennium Falcon. After a few knockback-heavy wampa battles and a series of jumps across collapsing ice platforms, the level turns into a predictable and claustrophobic corridor crawl that throws in a few mild puzzles to add a smidgen of variety. You move a couple of elevators and force open a few doors, but the first 20 minutes are The Force Unleashed at its most bland and unmemorable.

The second half of the mission throws dozens of rebels and stormtroopers at you to keep you busy, and it gives you a better opportunity to fling enemies around and zap them with lightning. But even with these few brief delights, poor enemy AI keeps the action frigid, and two boss encounters do little to turn up the heat. These battles are characterized not by their challenge, but by the unhelpful and uncontrollable camera angles, which make the always iffy Force Unleashed targeting even more cumbersome. The original's best attributes--the excellent storytelling and the beautiful art design--are conspicuously missing. These ice caverns look even plainer than you'd ever imagine and feature none of the careful, subtly illustrated style that made the full release and the previous add-ons such a joy to look at. The lackluster art makes visual glitches like blinking geometry and disappearing walls all the more distracting, and jerky cutscene transitions and other technical oddities make the production feel clumsy and hurried.

Smash that turret… with The Force!

As excellent as the premise is, the Hoth Mission Pack is a tepid return to a very good game, isolating all of the original's frustrations and disappointments without delivering the thrills and tingles. Given its high price, it's a poor value for even the most devout Lucas loyalists.

The Good
Intriguing premise
The Bad
Too expensive for what you get
Lackluster, glitchy visuals
All the usual targeting and camera issues
4.5
Poor
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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed More Info

First Release on Sep 15, 2008
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The next Star Wars game from LucasArts employs next-gen technology to bring the Force to life in an explosive new way.
8.1
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Developed by:
Universomo, n-Space, Krome Studios, LucasArts
Published by:
THQ Wireless, LucasArts, Activision
Genres:
Action
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
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Violence