The Star Wars: The Force Unleashed demo was released earlier today on both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live! Marketplace. The game sounds brilliant on paper and definitely showed well in demonstration videos, but as the gameplay videos began to trickle in, doubt began to settle in my mind. I want a spiritual successor to the Jedi Knight games with rich lightsaber combat and despite the obvious subtitle; I was hoping The Force Unleashed would deliver on that. Unfortunately, I expected a bit too much.
With the demo weighed over a gigabyte in size, I was given plenty of opportunity to mess around and grasp the mechanics of The Force Unleashed. It’s true that you can’t dismember anyone. You can cut robots in half and leave that distinguishing orange tinge, but that’s the extent of it. The tutorial explained the basic controls well, but since the controls as a whole was so simple to grasp, I could have easily skipped it. So after I spent a few minutes moving boxes about, I was sent on my way.
To my satisfaction, the game ran remarkably well with no slowdowns whatsoever. Multiple exploding containers could go off and send Stormtroopers flying left and right, but the game would rock on swimmingly. All the Force Powers, including Force Lighting and Force Push were extremely faithful to the source. Force pushing a huge metal door open really makes you feel like a bad ass.
I’ve already been introduced to The Apprentice. In SoulCalibur IV, he was definitely a lightsaber wizard with a varied and effective move set. The Force Unleashed rendition of The Apprentice was definitely lacking in the combat skills department. He makes up for it with an impressive array of easy to use Force powers, but I can only Force throw so many people before it becomes a chore. I hoping the full game will sport a deeper move list. I was also disappointed to see that The Apprentice’s fluidity from SoulCalibur IV wasn’t brought over either. It’s passable, but it’s not even on the same level as a Ninja Gaiden or a Devil May Cry.
As great as the Force powers are, I believe they also make life way too easy for you. The Apprentice is a godlike being who can punish men with great incredible ease and suffer miniscule amounts of damage in the process. Playing the demo on the ‘Hard’ difficulty wasn’t very taxing at all. I only died once or twice against the demo’s boss, an AT-ST walker, which was quickly disposed of once I continuously immobilized it with Force Lightning. I can picture a fight with another Jedi as a possible challenge, but since it wasn’t in the demo, I can’t really make that call.
Yes, the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed demo was good, but it also felt incredibly gimmicky to me. I was amused when I threw my first Tie Fighter into a squad of Rebel forces, but as the demo went on, the game’s lack of challenge began to take its toll. It’s great to finally wield the power of The Force and those who adore their Star Wars to pieces will most likely adore The Force Unleashed as well. However, those who’re looking for a bit more fight from their games: give this demo a try and consider it a rental first.