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Stop Hitting Yourself!
by Ryan Davis on
If your big brother could use the Force.
My concern early on with The Force Unleashed was that it would just be a pile of licensed middleware engines loosely tethered together by storm troopers and TIE fighters. While it would appear that my fears weren't unfounded, it turns out that's maybe not an entirely bad thing. Using the Force to grab storm troopers and slam them into each other or fling them into TIE fighters is consistently hilarious enough that I'm willing to forgive the otherwise thin gameplay and ignore the annoying conceit of playing as a ridiculously overpowered secret apprentice to Darth Vader who, unless you count his synergistic appearance in Soulcalibur IV, no one has heard of before.
Part of the reason The Force Unleashed works is that the basic mechanics work well, but the specifics aren't quite right. Using the Force to manipulate objects is pretty smooth, and the dual-stick controls are set up in a familiar, first-person shooter fashion that makes the three dimensions intuitive to navigate, but the way the dudes flip about and try vainly to grab onto objects or other dudes just looks silly. Inappropriate sound effects and some confused AI behavior really enhance the effect.
I really enjoy that the game encourages you to basically play like an asshole, using the Force primarily to humiliate your opponents, with their eventual deaths seeming almost more like a side-effect. It's like the ultimate game of “stop hitting yourself!” Here's a brief montage to give you an idea of how I like to play The Force Unleashed.