Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Ultimate Sith Edition)

Unlock the true power of The Force as Darth Vador’s secret apprentice in this action game exploring the era between the fall of the Jedi and rise of the Rebel Alliance.
Benjamin T. Collier - Guest Reviewer
Content at a glance:

Strong Fantasy Violence, Destruction, Fantasy Magic, Scantily Clad Women, Lawlessness, Some Dark/Oppressive Environments, Drunken Behaviour.

ENERTAINMENT QUALITY
The Force powers are a lot of fun. Very satisfying for Jedi fans. The cinematics make you feel like you’re experiencing a new Star Wars movie. The environments are rich with life, depth and detail. You feel like these places have an existence apart from you and that you’re just traveling through.

All the standard Sith equipment is here – Lightsabers, Force Grip (like telekinesis), Force Lightning, etc..

The battle system involves creative use of your various Force powers to defeat waves of enemies. Tougher enemies and bosses can be defeated by God of War style Quick Time Event butten pressing to kill or destroy them in entertaining ways.

The battles get frustrating when there’s a lot of enemies in the area. The enemies tend to camoflauge well, and in very detailed areas it can be hard to tell where you’re being attacked from. It is especially frustrating when there is a variety of enemies coming at you at once and they each have to be defeated in specific ways. A lot of enemies are inexplicably immune to certain attacks.

There is a limited RPG element. As you gain experience you level up and earn Force Points that can be used to purchase upgrades for Force powers and things like Max Health and Lightsaber Damage.

Many of the available costumes are famous Star Wars characters (no women though). It’s a lot of fun to use them but keep in mind that they all use The Apprentice’s fighting style.

Damaged pieces of the environment and fallen enemies disappear after very little time, somewhat ruining the feel of mayhem.

It’s a let down that the first level, where you play as Darth Vador, is only playable once. It cannot be replayed through Mission Select. The only way to play it a second time is to start a new file. Darth Vador isn’t even a costume option.

STORYLINE
Feels forced at times, though it did produce a lot of interesting, solid information about the period between Episode III and Episode IV, filling in a few holes. It revealed some new and thought-provoking insights into the character and motives of Darth Vador during that period. The chronology and look of the game is much closer to the original Star Wars trilogy than the prequels, so classic Star Wars fans will feel more at home with this game.

MORAL ISSUES
As the title suggests, you play as a bad guy. First as Darth Vador himself, then as his apprentice. As such the behaviour of the characters is typically violent.

Early in the game you spend a lot of time fighting and killing good guys, (Rebel Soldiers, Wookiees, Jedi). (SPOILER ALERT) As the story progresses Vador has you attacking members of the evil Empire in order to gain the trust of the rebels. (SPOILER ENDED)

Part of the game takes place in a bar, and there is a character whose behaviour and words imply drunkenness – he later on implies that he has a hangover.

A couple of trophies, which involve the fictional group “PETW”, are awarded to you based on how you treat Wampas.

VIOLENCE
The violence factor stays within the known realm of Star Wars. There is no blood. Although there is a lot of hacking at enemies with your lightsaber, there is no dismemberment. The most violent image in the game is when characters are impaled with a lightsaber.

Enemies will occasionally shout or scream in pain. When using Force Grip on enemies, some will beg for mercy. However, upon being released they will continue to attack you as if nothing happened. So the sense that these are real people only goes so far.

Tons of destruction including vehicles, environments and robot enemies. One bonus level visits the robot torture chamber in Jabba’s Palace. Here you have the option to torture the robots yourself.

HORROR
The optional costume Cybernetic Reconstruction looks like a zombie-cyborg. It’s notably scarier than what the Star Wars franchise normally allows. And of course the Emperror has creepy eyes.

SEXUAL CONTENT
Your NPC pilot shows a bit of cleavage. A couple of the bosses are scantily clad women. However, the one wearing the least clothing is so alien in appearance that it almost nullifies the sexual appeal. – Almost.

SPIRITUAL CONTENT
If the concept of The Force has never bothered you before then it won’t bother you now. Next to the films, this game contains no new information on the nature of The Force that would raise alarms. In summary, it is a mystical energy that permeates all living things, holds the galaxy together and grants mystical powers to a select few. The Jedi use the good side of The Force and the Sith use the dark side. Those who die become “One with The Force.”

(SPOILER ALERT) At one point The Apprentice is visited by the apparition of his father (whom the player kills earlier as Vador). One of the available costumes is an apparition of The Apprentice, and in one of the bonus levels you battle an apparition. (SPOILER ENDED) However there are no divination rituals peformed in order to make these apparitions appear, they are able to appear through The Force. Again, if you’ve seen the films then this isn’t new stuff.

At another point The Apprentice ”meditates” in the hopes of receiving a vision of the future through The Force. He does this while casually reclining and holding a conversation with his pilot.

One bonus level, the Jedi Temple, feels a bit like a monestary.

One costume is Qui-Gon Jinn, whose last name is from an Islamic word for an angelic spirit.

Darth Vador is sometimes refered to as “Dark Lord.”

The default costume in one bonus level is called “Dark Lord’s Armor.”

One boss is called Shaak Ti, which is very close to (but not exactly) the name of a Hindu deity.

The last name of one NPC is “Iblis”, which is the name of a Jinn in Islam.

REDEEMING QUALITIES
Although you start the game as a villain, there is a gradual progression in The Apprentice toward a more heroic persona, as he comes to care for his friends and begins to distrust his master. By the end of the story the good side seems far more favourable than the dark side.

The story theme emphasizes how if one lives for power, greed or revenge they can become a slave to those things.

Although the game contains a Good ending and an Evil ending, the ending is not determined by a balance system that weighs your good and evil choices over the course of the game. It is instead determined by a last-minute decision right at the end of the game. (SPOILER ALERT) And even if you choose the evil route, the ending itself actually sees your character in a rather pitiable position rather than being glorified. (SPOILER ENDED)

Overall the game is a worthwhile experience, especially for fans of the franchise. Replay value is limited because there are only certain locations you would want to visit a second time. But the vast array of costumes and lightsabers, and the most accurate depiction of Force powers I’ve seen in a game, make it a must-have for Jedi fans.

If you’re a parent considering getting this game for your teen, I don’t think it will make them want to be evil. – It may make them want telekinesis though.

(This is a review of the Ultimate Sith Edition of The Force Unleashed. Some of the content mentioned in this review will not be present if you are playing the original version of the game.)




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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