“May the dark side of the Force be with you.” Many Star Wars fans only know this saying to a limited extent. Because in Star Wars The Force Unleashed you don’t take on the role of a Jedi, you can personally control Darth Vader’s secret disciple. The game follows the events between Episode III and Episode IV.

TitleStar Wars The Force Unleashed
Platform(s)PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, iOS, mobile phone, N-Gage, Nintendo DS, PSP, PC, Mac OS X
DeveloperLucasArts (PS3, Xbox 360)
GenreAction-adventure, hack and slash
ReleaseSeptember 16, 2008
Mode(s)Single-player, Multiplayer
esrb-rating-teenTEEN - 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.

After Anakin Skywalker was “rebuilt” into a horrible Darth Vader, he finally decided to become master of the galaxy himself, but before this dream can come true, his master the Emperor must be eliminated. Vader quickly realizes, however, that he has no chance against his master alone.

As luck would have it, Vader discovers a small boy on the Wookiee home planet Kashyyyk after killing his father (a remaining Jedi master). Vader took this boy in and taught him the secrets of the dark force. Before you get to know the “Starkiller,” the first level is to control Darth Vader and put this event into action.

After many years, the “secret disciple” grew up and is ready for his “first true trial,” finding and destroying the last remaining Jedi. The story continues with quite lovely cutscenes.


Unleash the power of the dark side

That’s the keyword for this game. Here the action is in the foreground. In addition to the famous Lightsaber, you can also use the power to attack. In addition to conventional attacks such as electric flashes or power shocks, there is also the possibility of explicitly grabbing any object, including enemies, and hurling it through the area.

To do this, directly aim at the respective object using R2, move it freely using the Analog Sticks and, if desired, spin it away. That sounds all well and good. But in the heat of the moment, this feature is almost irrelevant. Because during a power attack the player remains wholly uncovered. So they prefer to draw out the lightsaber instead. Similar to Devil May Cry, you get points for every defeated opponent.

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Once enough are collected, the student rises one level and receives additional points to improve the player’s skills. For example, the individual power skills can be learned or increased.

A Journey to Foreign Planets

The various large areas in Star Wars The Force Unleashed models in detail. Most levels are impressive with many features and good architecture. Others are quite monotonous. To avoid orientation problems, a small overview map will always show you the way to the next mission goal.

The structure of most levels is strictly linear and leaves hardly any space for ample puzzle inserts. There are some passages where you have to flip a switch or build bridges with a power grip, but most of the time you move around in tube-like levels and destroy everything in your way.

A Sith against the Empire

As already mentioned the game is full of action which doesn’t come too short here. Nevertheless, a few quirks are already spreading. So most opponents are stupid and stop most of the time and start shooting out of all the pipes.


Added to this is the constant readjustment of the camera, as it has its problems. But if now finally a boss appears, then one forgets fast the bad AI of the opponent. Here different bosses seem, not only Jedis but also big Star Wars typical monsters have to be defeated.

To finally defeat a boss, you have to master small Quicktime events like in God of War.

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Is physics boring?

Not in Star Wars The Force Unleashed, because three different physics engines exist here. Pixelus’ Digital Molecular Matter engine reproduces the properties of physical objects faithful to the original.

For example, this causes metal objects to deform differently each time you use the power surge. The Euphoria engine used in GTA IV ensures that enemies try to hold. Last but not least, the good old Havoc physics engine. Your task is to let objects fly physically correct through the area, the light effects and the small details are very beautifully staged.

As with any Star Wars game and movie, the sound is merely bombastic. In addition to the well-known compositions by John Williams, other suitable pieces are here as well. A successful synchronization, the “hissing” of the laser beams and the typical sound of the laser sword provide pure cinema feeling.

The dark side is omnipresent

Graphically Star Wars The Force Unleashed makes a reasonable impression. Unfortunately, the graphics is converted down by several small tearing. Nor has the game been spared by pop-ups.

When you find a quiet place, you may want to take a closer look at everything. You’ll quickly notice that suddenly a tree or a giant mushroom appears. The PS3 version also requires a 3-gigabyte installation.


Nevertheless, there is the feeling that the installation didn’t do much good. Mostly because of hardly shortened loading times on the menu or the gameplay. A pity, however, is the lack of a multiplayer mode. The only way is to play the high story over and over again.


Star Wars The Force Unleashed is a great game. Nevertheless, it has some flaws here and there. The control of power could have used a little fine-tuning to be able to play more precisely and efficiently.

Despite the lack of multiplayer mode, Star Wars The Force Unleashed offers many unlockable features. Besides the skill system, you can unlock various costumes and different lightsaber colors. It increases the replay value enormously and leads to a second or even a third playing through not to get around it.

The various twists in the game also ensure that the game disc inserts again. Negatively, however, the short playing time is noticeable. An experienced player can play Star Wars The Force Unleashed in 6-7 hours.

All in all, Star Wars The Force Unleashed is a must for every fan. Otherwise, everyone who has something for hack & slays can access it.


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