Friday, April 1, 2011
The Force Unleashed II – Reconsidered
Okay, so I finally broke down and bought The Force Unleashed II- and I am now in the position of having to eat my previous words. After playing it last weekend, I have to take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about it. I’m a big enough person to admit when I am wrong- and I was totally wrong about this.
Where do I even start? With the story, I guess- the strongest part of this whole franchise. The Force Unleashed has to be one of the most powerful and interesting Star Wars stories since… well, ever. For me, it recaptured the feeling of seeing the first movie for the very first time. The depth of the main character, Starkiller, is just incredible. His heroes journey took me from the depths of despair to the heights of elation. Seriously, there were a few times I had to stand up and cheer.
Starkiller is like a breath of fresh air, allowing you to see all your favorite characters in a new light. Vader is SO much more interesting when pitted against a worthy foe like Starkiller. I mean, seriously, Luke was a whiney kid who could barely stand up to Vader- let alone defeat him TWICE and send him off to a Rebel prison camp! It was just so reassuring to know that no matter what the challenge, Starkiller could defeat it. The Emperor himself knew better than to try to take on THIS Jedi again.
And then there was the appearance of Yoda! Wow. I mean just… wow. The way he sat there outside of that cave on Dagobah and told Starkiller that “what he seeks he will find” within the dark cave. And then when Starkiller emerges, Yoda tells him to follow what he’s seen- his love for Juno Eclipse. Of course, Starkiller was already doing that, but its always good to have confirmation that you are (once again) right.
As far as the Romance goes, I didn’t think it was possible for the creators of the game to improve upon the depth of the relationship between Starkiller and Juno Eclipse- but somehow they did it. Even though they don’t actually see each other until the last few minutes of the game, you KNOW how deep the love is between them, because Starkiller keeps saying so throughout the other cut scenes. I’m not ashamed to admit I was crying a little when Starkiller’s droid reports that Juno is dead and he can’t revive her.. but then in a HUGE twist, it turns out that Juno ISN’T dead! Wow.
I also loved the fact that they continued the storyline of Starkiller being the founder of the Rebel Alliance. Other characters even referred to it (when speaking to our hero) as “Your Alliance”. I mean this only further cements Starkiller in the hearts of all true Star Wars fans. Seriously, how cool is it that just ONE guy was responsible for the rebirth of liberty in the Star Wars galaxy.
But I could gush about the story all day, so I’d better mention the other great things about The Force Unleashed II before I go. As before, this game shows just how powerful Starkiller is. It lets you REVEL in that power, tossing foes about like rag dolls. I found the scenes where Starkiller was throwing around gigantic pieces of starships to be the most empowering feeling I’ve ever had in a game- to say nothing of free-falling through the atmosphere from orbit. I mean, literally nothing could stop me- err, Starkiller (see? I internalized the character so much, I couldn’t tell where he began and I ended!). And the variety of foes! From Stormtroopers and gigantic droids to…more stormtroopers and even more gigantic droids! And all those new powers where you can simply just disintegrate people! Just awesome- and so totally fitting with the philosophy of a heroic Jedi like Starkiller, too. The Force is used for knowledge and defense… AND KICKING A**!!
So yeah. I was wrong about this game and I have to admit it. I think that with the Force Unleashed II we are seeing the beginning of a new era of Star Wars- and one it so desperately needed. No more of that ‘fallible hero’ crap. FINALLY we get a Jedi who knows what he’s doing- and what he’s doing is kicking A**!
p.s. Please note the date of the posting of this ‘review’- and take that for what you will.
p.s.s. Oh, and I would be remiss in not mentioning how awesome the part is where Starkiller fights his own clones! You have to admire the foresight of the Empire, for actually having twin lightsabers stored INSIDE the cloning tanks of the Starkiller clones- so that when they're hatched they can IMMEDIATELY start kicking butt. Of course, they can't hope to stand against the REAL Starkiller, but... good thinking, anyway.