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September 17, 2008
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - PS3 Review Page 2
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
17/9/2008ActivisionLucasArtsLucasArts1None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc2.6GB720pDD5.1NoM

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Click To Enlarge Image
Another great screen from The Force Unleashed.
Sadly there are a couple of issues which I would have loved to see LucasArts address prior to release. The first of these is the complete lack of multi-player. I would have loved some Jedi battles in arenas for two, if not three of four characters either on a single console or online. It certainly could have added a few hours of fun to the game. Another disappointment is the inclusion of Quick Time Events. Normally I don't really mind them in the game, but with these events occurring in the major boss battles it's hard to keep your eyes off the action which means you either miss button presses, or, concentrate on them so hard you miss the gorgeous visual battles.

Another issue I had with the game is that enemies are pretty dumb - stupid even. While DMM's engine allows enemies to do neat things like hang on to each other if you're using Force Grip to send them into the air, when it comes to attacks they tend to stand out in the open and fail to take cover when you're throwing objects at them.

On a technical level I actually found that despite an installation of 2.6GB there was quite a bit of loading, before the levels, every time you die, and most annoyingly when you hit the Select button to upgrade your abilities and powers. A final disappointment is that the game lacks Trophy support. Sure, these have only recently been added to the PS3's abilities, but by now I was hoping that some games, and particularly the bigger ones such as this, would have added in support. Perhaps they will be added a little later on...

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The apprentice uses Force Grip powers.
Graphically the game is impressive. Each of the games nine main locations look simply gorgeous with a tonne of detail, objects and characters evident no matter where you are. Animation is superb thanks to Natural Motion's Euphoria engine for character animation. Trumping all of this however are the numerous cut scenes which are frame well, scripted superbly and, had they been shot with real actors, could easily have slotted into a bridging movie. They are that good!

The Force Unleashed uses LucasArts' own proprietary engine known as "Ronin" but expands upon this with Havok to handle the physics. As well as those engines Pixelux Entertainment's DMM (Digital Molecular Matter) is used on occasion for destructible objects so that every time you smash something - for instance a pane of glass - it smashes differently depending on the force of angle of the attack. Now we did say on occasion because strangely the engine isn't applied to every object in the game world.

Sadly there are a couple of issues with the graphics. At times you will notice some pop-up and also a bit of draw in. While disappointing they don't detract from the gameplay. What does cause issues though is the cameras which don't really track enemies close to the screen too well anyone in the foreground between Starkiller and yourself will disappear off the screen making it hard to direct attacks. This could have easily been quite easily solved by zooming back a little on the action. Another slight issue is the drop in frame rate occasionally, especially when things get very busy on screen. Small, but noticeable.

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Going in for the final kill.
Music for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed includes all those familiar themes from John Williams (although he didn't compose the additional music for this game) however the 90 minute soundtrack has been recorded by the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra in late 2007 with mixing done at Skywalker Sound so you know this is impressive. In fact, the music could slot straight into the movies without problem. Naturally the effects used in the game have been taken straight from the vaults from the Star Wars universe.

If there is one 'big' disappointment with the games audio it's that the original voice actors haven't been used in the game, most notably that of James Earl Jones for Darth Vader. While the voiceovers by Matt Sloan (Darth Vader) and Sam Witwer (Emperor Palpatine) are very good and probably as good as we could expect for stand-ins, it simply isn't the same - especially with the theatrical voices being so iconically etched into our minds.

If you're a Star Wars fan such as myself, this is a bit of a no-brainer. It expands upon the mythology of the franchise with some key plotlines and moments and does it with much bravado. While there are some small disappointments they don't detract from the overall experience that is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSGreat locations, brilliant cut-scenes and enviroment destruction.
82%
SOUNDStar Wars through and through. Great music, effects and speech.
89%
GAMEPLAYPerhaps a little repetitive at times, but this is quite entertaining.
83%
VALUEWhile not overly long ther is replay value, but no multi-player.
77%
OVERALLA great addition to the Star Wars universe this is a game which all fans will want to check out.
82%

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