Star Wars: The Force Unleashed might have been the fastest selling Star Wars-game of all time, but to be honest it wasn't very good. I personally never got past the TIE Fighter factory, which is the second level in the game, but since then I've done my best to deny to myself how bad I thought it was. Because the concept, and the main character Starkiller, was really cool.
With Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, the guys and girls at Lucasarts do have the chance to redeem the first game a bit. During E3 I got a presentation of it, and when I pointed out my feelings about the first one, the developer present pointed out a couple of changes that might make the new game better - especially improvements to targeting, controls and the camera. If they can actually deliver on those promises, Force Unleashed II sounds like it might be miles better than the original.
I will try not to spoil too much about the story, Lucasarts managed to spoil it for me during the presentation, but let's just say that Starkiller is back. If he was hunting down the last remaining Jedi in the first game, he's now hunted himself. Darth Vader has betrayed him, and tried to kill him, and during the first level he smashed down the doors to his cell and have to fight his way through stormtroopers, AT-STs and droids to make it off Kamino.
Aha!, the Star Wars-fan exclaims. Kamino is, as everyone should know, the planet where the clone troopers were manufactured by the Republic during the Clone Wars. And that's important, since Darth Vader has explained to Starkiller that he is actually a clone. If that is true or not is one of the major themes of the game, as another character explains to Starkiller that not even the Kamino cloners have the ability to clone a Jedi. Especially not a Jedi as powerful as Starkiller.
And powerful he is. If you thought that things went crazy in the first game, Lucasarts are ramping the Force powers up quite a bit in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II. During the presentation I'm shown a variety of new and old powers, including Starkiller picking up one AT-ST and using it as a ranged weapon against a second one. "Kick ass with the Force" was one of the lead mottos during the development of the first game, after all. Personally, I love it, and is quite bitter that my Jedi in Star Wars Galaxies can't even lift up a simple stormtrooper.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is supposed to be out in October, and the developers do have quite a lot of work ahead of them - there is a lot of things happening on the screen at the same time, and more often than not the frame rate stutters and coughs quite a bit. The graphics look good, but not super-impressive, and the animations seem to be a bit glitchy still. But the concept is as cool as ever, and Starkiller looks even better armed with two lightsabers instead of one. Seeing him cut stormtroopers into pieces is quite the enjoyable sight.
In October, we'll know how well things turned out. Until then I will remain sceptical, but hopefully Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II will be everything I didn't think the original game was.
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