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Overview

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a third-person action-adventure game developed and published by LucasArts for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2008 (September 16 in North America, September 19 in Europe, and October 9 in Japan).

Taking place before the events of the original trilogy of Star Wars films, The Force Unleashed tells the story of Darth Vader's secret apprentice (code-named "Starkiller"), whom he trains in secret to betray Emperor Palpatine. As the apprentice hunts down rogue Jedi using his destructive Force Powers, he becomes interwoven in the formation of the Rebel Alliance.

The game is known for combining advanced middleware technologies for its procedural physics system, including Havok for ragdoll physics, Digital Molecular Matter for destructible environments, and Euphoria for simulating realistic NPC behavior (such as enemies that grasp onto things as they are falling or trapped in Force Grip).

Along with the game's main versions, it was also developed for numerous systems by different teams, all sharing the same general story and most assets (but featuring different levels and in-game cutscenes). The version used for the Wii, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable were developed by Krome, the Nintendo DS version was developed by n-Space, and the version released by THQ Wireless on mobile platforms (including the iOS and second-generation N-Gage) were developed by Universomo. While none of these versions features the procedural physics system of the original, some of these versions feature bonus content (such as competitive multiplayer).

The 360 and PS3 versions were re-released in November 3, 2009 (alongside a direct PC and Mac port by Aspyr) as the game's "Ultimate Sith Edition", which includes all downloadable content and other physical collectibles (for the retail version only). The game also received a direct sequel, novelization, graphic novel, line of action figures, and supplemental material for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game. The story is considered part of the Star Wars expanded universe and is non-canon.

Gameplay

Each console release was developed with its own unique feel in mind. The Wii version has the Wii Remote control the lightsaber, while the Nunchuk deals with Force abilities. Also unique to the Wii is a two-player duel mode with multiple selectable characters from the Star Wars universe including Luke Skywalker himself. The PSP version lets the player relive historic battles from the films and will include a four-player versus mode. Also, the Wii, PlayStation 2, and PSP games lets the player take on Jedi trials.

Decisions, Decisions...
Decisions, Decisions...

Starkiller, while under the employment of Vader, is directed to leave no witnesses to his mission, lest the Emperor and his spies discover Vader's secret apprentice. Starkiller utilizes the Force to a degree never before seen in Star Wars media, although the original animated Clone Wars miniseries was close, and was cited as an inspiration by the developer team. Starkiller can tear apart his environment and utterly destroy his enemies to accomplish his objective, although the environments are not entirely destructible, and the entire game is quite linear.

Costumes and Lightsabers are customizable, along with a rudimentary upgrade system for Force Powers and Force Talents. Every level comes with a unique costume which can be equipped at any time after that level is beaten. Lightsabers can be customized with both a color crystal and a Power Crystal, which will give the blade different attributes, such as occasionally dealing lightning damage. These Lightsaber crystals are found in holocrons hidden throughout the game.

Force Powers

  • Force Grip is Starkiller's first ability, a basic telekinesis power, with which he can grab and manipulate objects and enemies in any way he pleases. It is surprisingly satisfying to dangle people over a chasm and then simply let go.
  • Force Push is exactly what you'd imagine it to be: it pushes stuff away from you. It's not very effective on inanimate objects, but if used against enemies it can send them flying away violently dozens of feet, likely killing them if they hit a wall forcefully enough or fall into an abyss.
  • Force Lightning, the signature Sith ability, is obvious as well. Starkiller can stun and damage enemies by hitting them with bolts of electricity emanating from his fingertips. It is a highly effective offensive power, though it can also be used to either fry or reanimate electronic machinery.
  • Saber Throw is another highly damaging power. If Starkiller is holding an enemy with Force Grip, he can opt to throw his lightsaber at the defenseless target, impaling him upon impact. A nice bonus is that the lightsaber will also greatly damage all enemies unlucky enough to be in the path of its arc.
  • Force Repulse, one of Starkiller's signature moves, is a more defensive power, although it can be applied offensively as well. Starkiller expels the Force from within his body in every direction simultaneously, creating a rapidly-expanding "bubble" that knocks away all enemies close to him. It is a great power to use when he is surrounded, or when he finds himself on a bridge of some kind, as that allows him to push off multiple enemies with a single attack.
  • Lightning Shield is actually a "stat-boosting" power. In effect, it makes Starkiller tougher, so that attacks will damage him less. At the same time, it will up the damage output of every lightsaber swing he deals out to enemies.

Plot

At the start of the game as part of an interactive tutorial designed to acclimate the player to the basic controls, the player takes the role of Darth Vader as he hunts down one of the last Jedi masters who has fled to the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk. A battle erupts and as Vader is about to deliver the killing blow with his lightsaber, it is suddenly snatched away from his hand. Previously, Vader had sensed a presence that was very powerful in the Force and now discovers that it is the small child that now holds his lightsaber. Vader casually kills the Jedi, who is actually the child's father using the Force and plots to make his son his secret apprentice after killing the Imperials that happen to stumble upon the scene to protect his secret.

The story jumps and a decade or so later, the child has now grown into a young man trained by Vader in the ways of the Force, showing exceptional ability and is codenamed Starkiller as he pursues his master's agenda throughout the galaxy. His first real assignment against the Jedi is to kill a Jedi Master, General Rahm Kota, who is in the midst of sabotaging a Tie Fighter production facility in the hopes of drawing Vader out instead. In order to ensure that his secret remains safe, Vader instructs his apprentice to kill anyone he encounters such as the Stormtroopers that he would have otherwise expected to be his allies.

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The player is also ferried about the galaxy on a prototype ship equipped with a cloak, the Rogue Shadow, piloted by the young and beautiful Juno Eclipse. She also serves as Starkiller's main love interest in the title and eventually questions his motives for pursuing Vader's secret plan. Another key character is a droid named Proxy who also serves as Starkiller's trainer as he has been programmed with holographic technology and the skills necessary to impersonate a variety of deadly foes in order to try his best to kill his master. In addition, characters like Leia and Bail Organa will play important roles as the game covers the formation of the Rebel Alliance.

After the apprentice completes these missions and returns to Vader, he is informed that the Emperor's spies have seen him in action and Vader is forced to kill him before the Emperor in order to prove his loyalty. However, it is a ruse as Vader later "rebuilds" Starkiller and readies him for his true mission: destroying the Emperor. In order to draw the Emperor's suspicion away from Vader and to distract his forces, Vader tasks Starkiller to form an army to oppose the Emperor. Rahm Kota, who he had thought dead due to his fall from the orbital platform where they had first dueled, is still alive and Starkiller finds him on Bespin, convincing him to join him despite his blindness and aid in building the Alliance. Eventually, Starkiller manages to bring together the other founding members of the Rebel Alliance and begins to feel empathy for their struggle as their goals coincide with his mission against the Emperor. After destroying an Imperial shipyard responsible for the construction of Star Destroyers in order to convince the founding members of the Rebel Alliance that it is possible to stand up against the Emperor, they secretly convene on a snow covered world and wish to name Starkiller as the leader of the Alliance.

It is in that moment that Starkiller is betrayed by Vader whom he had expected to leave him to fulfill his plan with the newly formed Alliance with whom he now feels some companionship. Arriving with a fleet of Star Destroyers, Vader congratulates Starkiller as he places the rebel leaders under arrest. In anger, Starkiller asks why he is doing this when this would have been their best chance to destroy the Emperor to which Vader replies: "Not with you", before being Force thrown to the edge of a cliff. Before Vader can kill him, he is saved by Proxy when he attacks Vader as Obi-Wan Kenobi. After having easily dispatched Proxy, Vader turns around to find that Starkiller has escaped him.

Starkiller is rescued by Juno Eclipse and he vows revenge against Vader for his betrayal at which point Juno Eclipse pointedly tells him that he has to make a decision of his own as to whether he should finish what he has started with the Rebel Alliance or flee. He decides to confront Vader and rescue the rebel leaders. In a vision, he sees a sphere, a humongous space-station. Upon arriving at the Death Star, which was still under construction at the time, Juno finally lets herself go and kisses Starkiller. After that, he takes a leap of faith and starts fighting his way towards the emperor. His search even takes him through the laser-focusing tubes, which would later be the cause of great pain for the rebels in Episode VI. He eventually finds his way to the imperial throne room, where the emperor is threatening to torture and kill the other rebels. However, he is confronted by Vader first. He bests his former master, severely damaging him, but gets distracted when he sees Kota attacking the emperor. The blind Jedi is no match for Sidious, and Bail Organa implores Starkiller to help him.

At this point, the player can make a moral choice, which alters the ending.

Good Ending

This ending is considered the canonical ending as it is also the ending that appears in the graphic novel adaptation of the story. In this ending, Starkiller manages to defeat the Emperor. Before delivering the final blow, Rahm Kota urges him against giving into his hate. Starkiller considers his words and stays his hand despite the Emperor's goading. It is at that point that the Emperor's guards storm into the chamber and the Emperor himself stands up as if unfazed by the previous battle and attempts to kill the rebel leaders. Starkiller defends them and yells for them to escape as he locks Force powers with the Emperor. The rebels make their escape thanks to Juno Eclipse and an explosion of Force energy fills the chamber. In the end, Vader walks over to the corpse of Starkiller and announces that he is dead. The Emperor does not see this as a victory, however, knowing that Starkiller has become far more powerful than they had wished for him to be and that his death will also serve as a rallying cry to the Alliance. He tasks Vader with hunting down the rebel leaders and exterminating them at all cost lest what they have "unwittingly created" will become their undoing.

Juno Eclipse is back on Kashyyyk along with the other founding members of the Alliance where they formally declare their rebellion and choose a symbol to represent themselves, the very symbol that had been seen at the start of the game on a flag hung outside of the hut where Vader had cornered the Jedi Master who was Starkiller's father. Rahm Kota stands with Juno as she looks up at the night sky and wonders about Starkiller and why Kota had trusted him if he knew it was him despite his blindness. Kota replies that he knew that there was hope because he could feel that Starkiller held onto the one thing that enabled him to redeem himself: her.

The traditional Star Wars theme plays during the end credits if this ending is taken.

Evil Ending

This ending is not considered the canonical ending. In this ending, the player chooses revenge by choosing to fight Darth Vader's shredded self. Despite his injuries, Vader continues to fight using everything at his disposal. Starkiller eventually kills him and snatches Vader's lightsaber, impaling him through the back and the chest with it and his own, killing Anakin Skywalker. The Emperor compliments him on his success and tells him that Vader was only a "shell" of what he once was and that Starkiller deserves to stand at his side. To prove his loyalty, he tells Starkiller to kill Rahm Kota who had attempted earlier to stand up to the Emperor. Pretending that he is about to decapitate him, Starkiller raises his lightsaber only to turn it against the Emperor at the last second. Expecting this, the Emperor blocks him, and hurls him away with the Force. Juno Eclipse in the Rogue Shadow appears outside the dome to rescue him and the rebels. The Emperor uses the Force to bring the Rogue Shadow down and through the dome, apparently crushing Starkiller and killing everyone else.

After this, a scene of Starkiller on an operating table is shown, very similar to the table where Darth Vader was made in Episode III. Starkiller is covered in a mask with a T-shaped visor, and parts of him are clearly mechanical. The Emperor tells Starkiller how he had to potential to replace Vader, but now he was just as broken and crippled as Vader. Palpatine says he will use Starkiller until a stronger person comes along, then Starkiller will die. The scene ends with a shot from inside Starkiller's helmet, as a medical droid stabs a needle into his eye.

The Emperor's theme plays during the end credits if this ending is taken.

DLC

The flagship versions of the game (for the 360 and PS3) received five pieces of downloadable content after the game's original release. These include three mission packs (which retailed for $9.99 each) and two character packs (which retailed for $4.99 each). All DLC were included for free in the Ultimate Sith Edition of the game.

Mission Packs

  • Jedi Temple - Released on December 4, 2008. Taking place near the end of the main story, this bonus mission follows the Apprentice as he investigates the Imperial-infested ruins of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant to learn about his past and confront his inner demons. Along with three bonus costumes for the Apprentice (Cybernetic Reconstruction, Dark Stalker, and Sith Training Gear), this pack also includes five bonus characters to play as: Darth Maul, Mace Windu, Qui-Gon Jinn, Lightsaber Training Droid, and Combat Training Droid.
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  • Tatooine - Released on August 27, 2009. Set in an alternate timeline version of Star Wars Episode IV (based on the Dark Side ending of the main game, where the Apprentice becomes the Emperor's assassin), this mission follows Darth Starkiller as he is sent to Tatooine to investigate the whereabouts of droids carrying stolen Death Star plans.
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  • Hoth - Originally exclusive to the Ultimate Sith Edition (and released separately on February 23, 2010). Set in an alternate timeline version of Star Wars Episode V (and the sequel to the Tatooine mission above), this mission follows Darth Starkiller as he infiltrates Echo Base on Hoth.

Character Packs

  • Pack #2 - Released on December 4, 2008. Along with three new costumes for the Apprentice (Spirit, Utility Combat Suit, and Animated-style), this pack includes seven bonus characters to play as: Republic Trooper, Luke Skywalker (Episode IV), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Episode IV), Plo Koon, Count Dooku, Jango Fett, and C-3PO.

System Requirements

PC Minimum System Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2. Windows 7
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz Dual Core Processor (Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon X2)
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 23.8 GB 1 GB Swap File
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
  • Video Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible 256 MB Video Cardwith Shader 3.0 support Video Card (ATI): Radeon HD 2900 Video Card (Nvidia): Geforce 8800
  • Optical Drive: 8X DVD-ROM

Recommended System Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2. Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core 5200
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 23.8 GB 1 GB Swap File
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
  • Video Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible 512 MB Video Card (ATI): Radeon HD 4870 Video Card (Nvidia): Geforce 9800 GT Memory:
  • Optical Drive: 8X DVD-ROM
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