Tag Archives: The Force Unleashed II

The Force Unleashed II

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.

Celebration V recap!: or, Didn’t You Go to Some Star Wars con, like, a month ago?!

First the second part: No, I went to Comic Con International a month ago, DUH! I went to Star Wars Celebration V, like, a WEEK a go. So there!

Now the first bit. Recap! Why the hell has it taken me a whole week to get to writing about the closest thing to a religious experience (slight overstatement? you decide!) I will ever…uh…experience…

Well, the answer’s not a flattering one. I’m lazy. Pure and simple. Plus I felt no overwhelming rush since there’s lots of information about CV out there AND I was pretty consistently posting photos over the course of the four days. Yes, that’s right, if you or someone you love is unfortunate enough to follow me on twitter or are fans of My Best Friend is a Wookiee on Facebook then you were bombarded by photos at a rate usually reserved for tweenaged girls who stumble across a Jonas Brothers look-a-like bikini charity car wash.

But those photos cold have been faked! I could have just stolen other people’s memories of celebrating Star Wars and called them my own, even going as far as the photoshop myself in some of them! Just who the hell do I think I am?! I think I’m a swag hound whose idea of self restrain when it comes to buying Star Wars merch still proves to be more than I should have spent. I wore a Rebel flight suit, in public, despite it not being up to Rebel Legion par. I had the audacity to tell some dude who asked me for a cigarette in a parking lot that, despite his claims, he wasn’t Boba Fett only to find out that he was, in fact Daniel Logan, the actor who portrayed him in Episode II and The Clone Wars and I lived to tell the tale–no disintegration!

Moments before I pissed in this guy's gas tank...

The first day was a relative breeze. I wandered aimlessly, figured out where everything was and, most importantly, I spent all of my money on toys right off the bat. I figured it would be best to just get it out of my system early so that I could enjoy the panels and events unburdened by the fear that the last vintage-packaged Zuckuss and 4-Lom could be swept out from under me while I was listening to Ben Burtt discuss how he used an old audio clip of John Wayne for Garindan‘s voice.

Not Shown: IG-88 coffee mug, kick ass signed Ralph McQuarrie print and Princess Leia "hair bun" earmuffs.

I was also, for the first time ever, wearing a Star Wars costume. Growing up I was terrified of dressing up in costume outside of Halloween because I assumed it was a giant, self-imposed “Kick Me” sign. My costume, that of a Rebel X-Wing pilot, looked great. A lot of the thanks goes to my wonderful girlfriend, who upon realizing she’d have to make me nerdy costumes at a pretty early stage in our relationship,  decided not to run far, far away to the welcoming arms of some non-geek.

...So of course when I find the guy someone wants to get our picture! It took a lot for us not to kill one another. Clearly we were thinking of the children.

The next two days consisted of lots of panels. Ben Burtt gave a great talk about the origins of some classic Star Wars sound effects and the process by which he turned animal roars and the sounds of twanging tension wires into Wookiees and lightsabers. LucasArts had some awesome gameplay footage and cutscenes from The Force Unleashed II, then a hands on demo running on the show floor. It was still very much a pre-final demo, but it already feels a lot more intuitive than the original. Throw in a couple of very God of War inspired elements and I for one was pretty pleased with it.

The Clone Wars had a great showing, and it was a blast watching Supervising Director Dave Filoni squirm while trying his hardest to answer the questions of adorable young Star Wars fans while still maintaining his producer-mandated veil of secrecy. We did see the reveal of Darth Maul’s brother (zuh?), the Clone Wars debut of Delta Squad and the vague admission that we will see a connection to the classic trilogy.

I also got to meet fellow author and Star Wars nut, John Booth, whose Collect All 21! I wrote about in my last post. We only spoke for a few minutes, but he was a super nice guy. We have a lot in common, John and I, everything from our love of these films to our mutual, though short-lived jealousy over the other’s book. Back when I was writing My best Friend is a Wookiee (then under any number of working titles, from Fear and Loathing in Mos Eisley to You Don’t Ob-Wan Ke-know-me) I somehow came across John’s book. My immediate response was “Fuck! Someone beat me to it!” then I clicked out of the page, erased my browser’s history and shot crystal meth into my eyeballs until I forgot I ever discovered it. When I met John he confessed to initially feeling like I had written his book. Of course after we both sat down with them we realized that while our obsessions were mutual and our experiences similar, we were both of two very different ages of fandom and as such we learned from one another as opposed to having to throw down and battle each other to the replica-death with replica-lightsabers. I said it in my last post, but I’ll say it again, Collect All 21! was a lot of fun, and any fan should do themselves the service of giving it a read.

Of course the big reveal of the weekend was during Jon Stewart’s interview with George Lucas that the whole saga will be hitting Blu-Ray next year. No indication that the pre-special editions will be on the set, but at this point that’s a battle we fans should probably just throw the towel in on. Plus I really don’t know how much I want to see the old Vaseline blob job in high-definition. And for me, now, the prospect of getting deleted scenes from episodes IV, V and VI make up for it.

By the end of the third day I was pretty much wiped. After three days of soaking in all things Star Wars I was physically and mentally exhausted. I’m bummed that I missed out on Gary Kurtz talking about his role in the original trilogy and a Return of the Jedi that might have been, but the LA Times did a great piece with him here.

The highlight of my trip, however, was getting to give a copy of the book to Carrie Fisher. On the last day of the event I was just sort of wandering through the exhibit hall. There weren’t any panels left that i wanted to catch before I had to leave for the airport, so I just took it all in one last time. It was then, when I least expected it, that Princess Leia walked by, arm in arm with some dude, on the convention floor. She walked right. by. me. As if on autopilot I started to follow her. It felt like I was floating through some weird daydream, but I was quickly snapped out of it by the whispering masses.

“Oh my god…”

“Look who it is!”

“It’s her! I can’t believe it’s here!”

Realizing that the poor woman was about to get bum rushed I quickly slid up alongside her.

“Excuse me, Carrie?” Carrie?! Who the fuck am I to call her that!

“Yes?”

“Hi! IwrotethisbookandI’dbehonoredifyoutookacopy!”

“…Okay…?”

I handed her the book, thanked her and split. Fuckin’ ran away! Part of it was because I couldn’t believe I addressed her by her first name like we went way back or something. (We do go way back, she just doesn’t know it. Also, when I say we go way back I mean me and the image of her in her metal slave bikini on the cover of my Return of the Jedi VHS “go way back”). The other part of it was because I half expected George Lucas’ goon squad to crack down on me hard for disturbing her worshipleness.

And so on that note I went back to my hotel, the swankiest of the swank EconoLodge and waited impatiently to get on a plane that would take me away from this temporary holy land. I’m already looking forward to Celebration VI. With any luck it will be anywhere other than Orlando in August.