Sunday, August 24, 2008

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Xbox 360) Demo Impressions

The Force is strong with this one. Literally. The apprentice, Starkiller, makes any other Force user we've ever seen look like a sissy. I'm not just talking about is cool reverse-Lightsabre stance, the boy's use of the Force is unlike anything we've ever experienced before.

The demo starts out with a choppy LucasArts logo video, which was a little surprising, but the good news is that it's smooth sailing from there. I first went to the Force Grip Tutorial, and while Gripping stuff and moving it around is simple enough, I've oft found the Left Thumbstick to be very sensitive which can make precision throwing tricky, but not impossible.

The good news is that after starting the actual demo itself, aside from the above, Starkiller is very easy to control.

Played in third person, you can very easily maneuver Starkiller with grace as he dispatches his enemies, Milita and Stormtroopers alike, with expert precision. You can slash, Push, Lighting, Impale, and toss your enemies around like ragdolls, but of course it's the combos that make things fun.

Press "X," "Y," "Y," and Starkiller slashes, slashes again while charing Force Lighting and then finishes with a final slash that discharges his Lightning _through_ his Lightsabre, which looks spectacular. You can use the Force to litterally bat groups of enemies out of the way, grap a TIE Fighter and toss it at your foes, and generally crush, kill, and destroy in all manner of viciously fun ways!

I played through on the Sith Warrior difficulty (Normal), and the demo itself is not very long, maybe about 20 minutes in length, but it finishes off with a great battle against an AT-ST that forced me to re-adjust my style of combat to take it out, and it concludes with a great push-button sequence that's beautifully executed and very cinematic.

Graphically, I expected slightly higher texture quality, and the default camera could be a little tighter, but overall the game does look nice, and there's lots of bells and whistles (Sabre scaring and other damage). Audio wise, the voice acting, effects, and music are all top-notch, and the brief demos of the new technology behind the game's AI and destructible objects was most impressive.

Overall, the demo for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed blew my mind, and I can't wait for September 16th!

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