A solid action/Star Wars title despite a few technical drawbacks.
Getting straight the point, the main drawbacks to Force Unleashed are its incredible long and unnecessary load screens, shotty targeting mechanics, and overselling damage that's dealt. By the latter, I mean how the primary character reacts to being hit. Much to my annoyance, many times I died not due to my failure to perform skillfully but due to the character not being able recover fast enough from the last hit he endured. After taking a blow, he'll literally just lay on the ground and take a good 5 seconds to get back on his feet while even more damage is being dealt to him. Or when hit by a melee attack, he becomes so easily stunned where its hard to escape a combo from a foe. Throughout the game you unlock many force abilities which are very fun to use and are well mapped on the controller. The game's poor targeting mechanic really comes into effect when trying to use force lightening on a particular target. I've literally stood right in front of an enemy and tried to force lightening them and it either hit someone/thing completely different or miss altogether. The long load screens don't become a particular problem until you decide to change costumes or are transitioning from a level to a cinematic cutscene (or vice versa). More often, they majority of the load screens just be brief (5-10 seconds) but will still feel unnecessary and become annoying. Why the game didn't have an install option or one patched in? I have no idea. However, despite these anomolies, there is still plenty of fun to be had with Force Unleashed. The majority of time, the gameplay is solid and entertaining. To be release so early in the PS3's lifecycle, the character models and environments are beautifully rendered...even by today's standards.
The plot is actually pretty good and kept me interested in what was going to happen next. I can't say that I was disappointed in its overall direction. The new cast of characters introduced really brought the story to life. The setting did feel familiar (doing a good job at capturing that Star Wars essence) but the story felt fresh and brand new. The returning characters seemed to move the story along more than it being another instance of it revolving around them once more.
- Excellent visuals
- Classic Star Wars sounds, soundtrack, and ambiance
- Plenty of force powers to unlock and "unleash" against foes
- One hell of a way to start the game (play the prolouge and you'll see what I mean)
- An great group of new character introduced into the Star Wars universe
- The story is a nice addition into the Star Wars history and canon
- Boss fights (especially with Jedi) have that same epic feel that battles in the movies do
- New comer friendly. If you know basic facts about the series at minimum, you should be fine.
- Darth Vader just doesn't sound the same without James Earl Jones
- The story could have dug a tad bit deeper with some of the personal relationships
- Unnecessary and long load screens
- Poor damage recovery to melee attacks
In all, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed definately has its share of problems but at the end of the day it a solid action game that's worth playing through. What it does do poorly, definately stands in the way of it just being "solid" to being "exceptional".