Star Wars The Force Unleashed II has plenty of potential. It's just not realized.
Be amazed! Starkiller's back, although he's not sure whether he's actually Starkiller, or a clone ordered by Darth Vader in Kamino. Yes, that's right, when one character dies, you can always revive them by cloning. Despite a decent, true-to-sci-fi opening, TFU2's story becomes increasingly incoherent and inconsistent later on that you'll definitely expect that there'll be a catch in the end, some plot-saving scenario where everything is explained during or right before the game ends. But, that is not the case here, because just when you're reintroduced to the world of Starkiller, (BAM!) the game ends after a mere 5 hours.
The game's so short, just experiencing TFU2 in its entirety makes you think that when the writers wrote this thing, they were actually having near-exploding bladders and they just had to speed through the story before going to the restroom. Without the gameplay, the entire story could be placed into a 22-minute episode. Don't worry, there's some story to be told here, albeit a very cramped one. It feels like a slap to the face when you've realized you'd paid more than this game's worth.
In a sad contrast to the first game's effort to pit Starkiller in various worlds and locales where he can soak in the diversity and culture, here you receive a combo meal of just 3 planets to trudge in (and a generic star cruiser), none of which evoke a sense of life. You just go to these places to wreck stuff; no talking, all macho business. Scarily, you could see the game TFU2 could have been, with all the possibilities lined up. It's a shame the developers didn't see it.
It's here that TFU2 stands out. The game looks beautiful, and realistic. The engine that runs this game deserves respect. Motion blur increases depth and believability, and the pre-rendered backgrounds add to the selling effect, making it an appropriate canvas to support the digital artistry that is at work here. A lot of effort has been done to captivate gamers with the visual cues, such as the character models, the amazing vistas that you visit, and the wow-rendering set-pieces that you traverse Starkiller in.
But you certainly can't stop the feeling of being cut short of all the possible fun your vision can have with playing this game, because you are treated with so few of these magnificent maps. I wished there were more planets to explore, more sights to see, more opportunities for you to experiment with your eyes and scrutinize every detail. But being trapped in this scary feeling of desire-limbo is all that you'll feel because you'll be haunted by a lingering thought that a lot of what was supposed to be TFU2 was stolen from you.
You can never complain against any Star Wars game's audio capabilities. As usual, you are presented with a delightful array of sounds that'll make you want to crank up the volume just to take in every 'swoosh' of Starkiller's dual lightsabers, the unmistakable sounds of sci-fi space, and the powerful score that permeates the Star Wars universe. Include decent vocal work, especially with the Darth Vader and Starkiller characters, and you have audio-bliss.
Superficially, TFU2's gameplay presents a really cool backdrop for an ideal action adventure game. You have an overpowered anti-hero who's out for revenge; shove not one, but two lightsabers in his fists; and finally, pit him in the anything's-possible Star Wars space and you have a game that's sure to give you one heck of a time, right? Well, for a part, yeah. There's lots of fun to be had, but when game-makers purposefully play a joke on you using a beloved franchise, you're certain to be out for their blood.
Everything that made TFU1 so wonderful despite its shortcomings was not present in this game. In the first game, you are brought to worlds you've only seen in the movies, and you get to explore them--though, restrictively--like someone who's given a bit of freedom in a museum; you get to delve in a story that's epic enough to be in par with the original George Lucas canon; and you get to be Starkiller, the seriously bad-ass Sith-turned-Jedi who can use Dark Side powers like they're an eat-all-you-can buffet.
In TFU2, you still get to be the same Starkiller. Yes, you got that right: the same. I mean, the only difference to the one in Part 1 is that now you get to wield two lightsabers. You're still overpowered, but that's it. There's no outstanding factor in Starkiller 2.0, except that he's extra pissed with everything around him. So, you've got the two swords, so how do the force powers hold up, you ask? Well, they're basically the same. That's it, really. Cram all of Part 1 into just a few planets and a crappy star cruiser sequence, and you have TFU2. And the game's incredibly easy as well. The enemies are total pushovers, and you don't die unless you fall off of any edge, which is rare by the way. Oh, and the Dagobah section? Pathetic.
I liked this game, honestly. Don't hold it against me. If you're a gamer and you're paying full-price for a game that really only proves itself worthy as a DLC, well, you definitely have to know the facts and the details. TFU2 is a game with many possibilities, but they're not put to use here. So, it's a cash grab. Maybe if LucasArts makes a third instalment, they got to set things straight because they really do have a solid fan-base with this franchise.