LifeisXbox’s Star Wars: The Force Unleashed review | Star Wars has long been a franchise close to my heart. So much so, you would assume I had the opportunity to play this when it was released two generations ago. Since I missed that opportunity back then, I decided to tackle the recently released Star Wars The Force Unleashed on Nintendo Switch to see what I missed the first time around. Created this time around by n-space, Aspyr, and Krome Studios and published by Aspyr, Star Wars The Force Unleashed isn’t so much a cut and dry remaster of the original. For people who are familiar with the original, you might notice that at first glance something doesn’t look quite right. Nostalgia goggles can be a hard thing to see past, but don’t let that fool you. What we have here is a port of the Nintendo Wii version of the game, along with its almost identical look.
Most Memorable Moment
Since this was my first time playing Star Wars the Force Unleashed, the general opening of the game was the most memorable for me since I was familiar with the initial character. Getting to play as Darth Vader was really something. Maxed out abilities with all of the special force powers to start with was a great experience to start with. This really made me grind my way through the story and savor every battle so I could utilise my force points to unlock special abilities quickly.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Nintendo Switch | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- The Force Powers | Right off the bat Starkiller is equipped with a few abilities that shouldn’t be sniffed at. We have force lightning, Saber throw, force push and pull and repulse. With each enemy felled, you collect force points. At the end of each level, you are placed at the back of your ship where you can navigate around and perform certain actions. Continue the game, change your costume, change your lightsaber and even buy and improve new powers using your force points. Since this is the Wii version of the game, we get the additional Malestrom force power which is a powerful explosion of force that propels enemies in various directions. All in all, there are over 20 different abilities to unlock here, with each one being able to be upgraded three or four times over. You can even carry these over in new game plus mode to completely max them out and be the ultimate Jedi.
- The Story | Set between the stories of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, The Force Unleashed tells the story of Darth Vader’s secret apprentice Starkiller. Since the game is not considered canon to the existing universe, the game does take several liberties with story details. This isn’t a bad thing though. What they have done here is base this story around several aspects of existing storytelling and weaved Starkiller into it. A tale of revenge and betrayal is as ever-popular here as it always has been. Without giving too much away, if you are still yet to play the game, the story is actually really good and it’s not surprising that fans fell in love with Starkiller, so much so that it spanned books, and comics alike along with the sequel released a couple of years later.
- The Motion Controls | The main reason for Aspyr porting over the Wii version of the game was because of the motion controls that came with it. I didn’t realise that these were an option at first and when I switched, I never went back. The motion controls are very intuitive. The left Joycon sees you control Starkiller using the normal thumbstick and hitting the L button then activates your secondary powers. The right Joycon when moved around swings your lightsaber. It’s very effective and works well. Pushing the Joycon forward when holding L will throw the lightsaber. Holding out both Joycon’s will use force lightning and allow you to use the force on enemies including moving them around. A sharp thrust forwards and you send them flying. It’s really fun!
- Duel Mode | During your time playing through the Story mode of The Force Unleashed, you will unlock various characters from the movies and the game that you can take into Duel Mode. Duel mode is essentially fighting between characters in either a cannon or non-cannon setting. By this I mean, Darth Vader versus Darth Maul. It’s a great little add-on that I enjoyed after finishing the story mode. Duel mode can be played either solo or local multiplayer split-screen. Unfortunately no online multiplayer here.
- The Graphics | The Force Unleashed is now 14 years old. It was released back in 2008 on the Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. There have been very minor changes to the graphics for the Switch version and this for me was a fairly big letdown. However, what makes this somewhere in between is the fact that with the newly updated Switch version, we finally see a stable and constant 60fps with ever so subtle changes to the textures and shadows making it superior in this sense to the original 2008 versions. Not only this, but we also get a solid 1080p mode as well. I would have liked to have seen updated models though for a re-release such as this. For those who want to see more of the comparison side by side, here is a great video that explains all of this in detail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN6tAW-SGho
- The Audio | During my time with The Force Unleashed I was surprised at how many audio bugs I encountered. Audio would frequently pop in and out, sound effects would seemingly be missing and music would seem to always overpower the voice acting. That being said, for the most part, the usual Star Wars tracks and effects are here and they sound good enough. Lightsaber strikes, the buzz, and the crash when your saber hits an enemy or an object in the world are all here. The main Star Wars theme also makes its way through various areas of the game, making it feel like a very cinematic experience in some areas.
What we Disliked
- Lack of updated details | As I mentioned above, I would have liked to have seen more features added to the Nintendo Switch version. Despite a bump in resolution, textures, and shadows, I would have liked to have seen a ported version of the Xbox 360 or Playstation version of the game since this looked remarkably better. Reflections and physics make up a huge part of Star Wars with its shiny reflected surfaces and the force powers that go hand in hand with any Star Wars game. Looking back at some of the footage from Xbox 360 and PS3, even the cutscenes were pre-rendered and looked night and day different from the Switch which runs in real-time. My only understanding of why Aspyr opted for the Wii version was because of the solid motion controls that were already featured in the Wii code, and bringing this over was just easier.
- No Online Multiplayer | Duel mode features a local-only multiplayer experience and this was also featured on the Wii version of the game. I think when we look at re-releases (especially ones with big names attached), we should expect to see some additional extras. We have already mentioned that the graphical upgrades are minimal, and seeing as no online multiplayer has been added for Duel Mode, it marks another blow for the port. Adding an online multiplayer component to The Force Unleashed would have given new life to the game overall. Sadly, this one didn’t happen.
How long to beat the story | 6 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | There are no achievements for this game
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.