I had fun with The Force Unleashed. It was buggy, frustratingly repetitive, and the story was a bit out there, but at the end of the day it let you be a total Sith badass which was really all I wanted from it. So when they announced a sequel, and then after I was swept off my feet with the footage they showed at Star Wars Celebration V I was ready to dive back into Starkiller’s world. While TFU2 looked great and eliminated a lot of the issues that bogged down the first one, it also found new problems and clocked in at an easy, under ten hour experience.
And that’s my biggest beef with it: its length. I can see passed repetitive gameplay (to a point) but without even trying to I managed to beat the game in two sittings on the Hard difficulty setting. About seven hours of play time. As I approached what turned out to be the game’s finale I kept telling myself that there was no way that it was almost over. There was so much left to do, right? I mean the story had barely even unfolded. But sure enough it was done in seven hours. Done with only two boss battles. If actually felt like there were parts of the game missing, gameplay and story wise. We were lined up with the possibilities of fighting not just Boba Fett, but your own evil clone and neither really come to light. Fett is seen in a couple of quick cutscenes and while you do get to hack up several Starkiller clones, their all a bunch of newly hatch test tube Sith who are less powerful than enemies you’ve already encountered. Going toe-to-toe with your mirror self would have been cool, because at least you’d feel like you accomplished something. You know that, what with time paradoxes and all, you can’t kill Vader. You can “defeat” him, but not kill him. And for the sake of staying spoiler free I won’t elaborate on the Light or Dark Side endings other than saying the Light Side ending left my jaw on the floor for all the wrong reasons.
I’ll quickly hit on the story: You’re a clone of Starkiller that Vader has been secretly working on but so far all of your predecessors have gone crazy with the real Starkiller’s memories and were killed. You manage to escape and hook up with Kota–the blind samurai Jedi from the first one–and then you take off after Juno Eclipse, your love interest from the first one. And that’s it. The state of the Rebellion, the cool existential questions about whether or not you’re a clone or the real Starkiller–and how either way, what is it that REALLY makes a person, the body or the soul–are all pretty much left hanging. This world is a much different place from the last time we stepped into it, but instead of seeing how it’s changed we spend all of our time on Kamino, on a Rebel cruiser or Cato Neimoidia. Three locations verses how many the last time around? And of all the planets fans would want to see, and we only really get one here, we get the Trade Federation homeworld?
I know that this all fits my supposed M.O. as a hater who refuses to give any post-THX edition original trilogy Star Wars any credit, but I was enjoying this game. I wasn’t ready for it to end. I wanted more, damn it, and not in a “whoa, I need t play this again instantly and tell everyone I know to play it” kind of way. It was more of a “That’s it?!”
On the plus side they really did clean up the visuals and I didn’t encounter any game ending bugs. There’s also the upcoming Endor DLC (Dark Side Lightning + Ewoks = Fan-fucking-tastic!) But I still would have liked to spend some more time in the main game before beating it as savagely as I did (one week and I scored most of the PS3 trophies for it). The idea of a Star Wars take on God of War is too good to pass up. If there’s a third game in the works–and based on the ending there almost has to be–I’ll play it. I just hope that they can continue to learn from what doesn’t work and hopefully not replace old issues with new ones.