Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Pros & Cons:
Pertaining to My short list below.

Full Pros & cons re-review coming soon...

I'll start with the good: The graphics, while unquestionably inferior to the 360/PS3, are adequate enough for gameplay; the Wii and PSP versions include a two-player Duel mode, which adds some much needed replay value; and the Wii motion controls are surprisingly responsive, accurate and fun. Now to the bad: even base enemies take way too many hits to kill, they block too often and stronger enemies will constantly overwhelm you, making the combat feel cheap, which leads to lots of button-mashing (and in the Wii's case, aimless Wii-waggling). This carries into the boss battles and is furthered by the game's camera; it's never where it's supposed to be, making many of the harder, more frustrating battles even harder.

This version does have five more levels than the 360/PS3 versions. However, each of the extra levels are much shorter than one of the 360/PS3 version's levels (making this game the same length, at about 5-7 hours). On top of this, they're very linear, repetitive, and just not as well done (or as fun). However, the worst thing about this game is the presentation of it's story. Instead of taking the cutscenes directly from the 360/PS3, they took its real-time graphics engine and used it to power the cutscenes. Bad idea....For one, the character animations are very awkward (in cutscenes), and instead of lip syncing, they just puppet (mouths up/down) their lines. Second of all, although they used the same voice actors, the lines seem rushed, and not nearly as well delivered as the 360/PS3 version—which, with the low-res graphics, makes it way less cinematic and emotionally compelling.

Closing comment:
So overall, if you're willing to overlook bland graphics, a weakly presented story and some frustrating gameplay elements, then this is a decent action game. Especially the Wii version; not only does it have the two-player Duel Mode, but it also has the well done motion controls.

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Content review for this game:
Pertaining to the ESRB rating.

Content sum up: There's no blood, gore or (mentionable) language. And the story's tone is that of all Star Wars media, meaning, although it's dark, it's not near gritty or graphic. However, the combat is extremely chaotic and violent; in this version, the main protagonist is far less sympathetic, as he (a Sith) kills Jedi and acts quite badly for a good half of the game; and at the very end of, you can choose to be evil--which isn't too good for a younger audience. And on top of this, the game's overall difficulty is way too hard (and frustrating) for kids 10-. So, I recommend this game for ages 13+.

Full content re-review coming soon...

Violence: The story is set between Episode III and IV, and opens with the iconic "Long time ago"...and classic Star Wars crawl. Vader is sent to dispatch of one of the few remaining Jedi, who's hiding on the Wookie planet Kashyyyk. After casually destroying every Wookie in his way, Darth Vader finds the "rogue" Jedi. They fight; Vader soon (and easily) wins. When Vader is about to give the final blow, his lightsaber is yanked out of his hands with the force. Perplexed, Vader quickly dispatches of the Jedi with force choke, slowly turns around, and finds the one responsible to be a little boy—the son of the Jedi he just killed. Vader's men enter, and are about to kill the boy, when Vader retrieves his lightsaber and cuts down his own men; seeing vast potential in the boy, Vader decides to secretly train him...

During this first level, Vader can fling Wookies left and right; lift enemies and toss them into each other; electrocute them with lightning; create a force barrier and repel enemies; or lift individual enemies in the air, and then throw his lightsaber into their middle. So, it's all very chaotic, and violent, but unlike most action games of its kind, there's absolutely no blood, gore or dismemberment. After the prologue, you play as the adult (and near) fully trained apprentice. He has the same overall powers as Vader, but they start out much weaker, and you'll gradually be upgrading these to full power throughout. The base gameplay consists of you using force powers and your lightsaber to dispatch enemies, and your main objective is to hunt down and destroy hiding Jedi, in order to complete your training and prove your worth to Vader.

So, for a good half of the game, you are technically a "bad guy" or more commonly known in the Star Wars mythose, a Sith. And since Vader has kept you secret even from the Emperor, he has you fight (and kill) both sides, meaning you most often fight Storm Troopers and Imperials, and the Jedi's men. In addition to Imperials and Jedi, you'll be fighting natives of the planets you're on (like Jawas, Rodians, Ugnaughts, Gammoreans, etc.) and a variety of wild creatures (Like Rancors). Like the 360/PS3 version, the overall combat is still intense and chaotic, with you being able to fling the enemies (or objects) in any way (or direction) you want, and you'll constantly toss them violently into large and explodable objects (or large and explodable objects into them). And on top of that, you can, of course, shock them with lightning, and stick and/or slash them through with your lightsaber.

It is a bit tragic that you have to fight and kill these last remaining Jedi, and in this version of the game, the apprentice is especially unlikable. They show him as a more merciless character, and it takes him almost the entire game to become a "Jedi." So, compared to the 360/PS3 version, you have less understanding and sympathy for him, and because of his even more prevalent bad attitude, I'm even more hard-pressed to recommend this version to a younger audience. However, unlike the 360/PS3 version, this doesn't use the DMM, Havoc, or Euphoria engines. Instead, it uses predetermined physics and animations, meaning combat and enemy reactions (to their own deaths) aren't nearly as realistic. And like all Star Wars media, the overall tone of combat is almost cartoony, the enemy feels more like targets than people (most of them aren't people), and it isn't near graphic or gratuitous—just moderately violent.

Mild suggestive themes: (the ESRB didn't mention this in their rating, although it is mild) A couple of the female (one of which is very well endowed) Jedi wear bikini-like tops that reveal a moderate amount of cleavage; and the main male and female character flirt lightly throughout the story—near the very end, they briefly kiss.

Alcohol reference: (The ESRB didn't mention this in their rating) A main character seems to be a drunk, and acts as much, when the apprentice finds him in a cantina with a dozen empty bottles of alcohol lying on his table. And when he drags the man to their ship, the man slurs his speech and struggles to walk straight. When you finally do have him in the ship, he says things like, "I need another drink."

Mild language: (The ESRB didn't mention this in their rating, although it's very mild) During gameplay, Stormtroopers will sometimes say, "How the hell are we supposed to defend ourselves against that!" Referring to the main character.

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