Star Wars: Force Unleashed PSP Review - 26/09/2008

Consoles have been crying out for a quality Star Wars game since forever it seems, and with all the hype surrounding Force Unleashed pre-release everyone was hoping that this as it.


The PSP incarnation of the game was never going to be as impressive as its console brethren but is it aConsoles have been crying out for a quality Star Wars game since forever it seems, and with all the hype surrounding Force Unleashed pre-release everyone was hoping that this as it. The PSP incarnation of the game was never going to be as impressive as its console brethren but is it a good handheld outing? Is the force strong with this one? good handheld outing? Is the force strong with this one?

With the game having to be cut down to size for the PSP version we could expect not to see the likes of the Euphoria and Digital Molecular Matter meaning that the physics were never going to be as impressive as the console versions, normally one of the highlights from watching it in motion. This of course is true, and although the force powers are similar to the console versions, they don't seem to have the same oomph. The AI also is not as intelligent and will not react to using the force on them due to the lack of the Euphoria engine. They are more likely to run into your attack then try to grab hold of something to protect themselves from it. The environments are also lack lustre as there isn't that much destructible scenery. All this and the reduced quality graphics (I've seen much better on the PSP) take away from the game making it less realistic and definitely not awe inspiring. Furthermore, the camera can swing wildly at times, making you look through yourself, and some of the collision detection is awful which can get very annoying.

All this negativity must make you think that this game stinks like a Hutt, but don't be quick to judge, read on. Although not without faults, it is still a fairly good game. It is definitely not worth purchasing if you are going to buy one of the console versions, but if a PSP is all you have, then this is a must for every Star Wars fan. For those that hate Star Wars, there's nothing for you here as you would expect, but for those not leaning either way, Force Unleashed is a decent third person action game that could tickle your fancy.

The familiar locations are brilliant for any Star Wars fan.


The main feature that pronounces Force Unleashed a must have for all Star Wars fans, and its strongest selling point is the story. Set after the climatic events of 'Revenge Of The Sith' and before 'A New Hope' the game tells the story of Starkiller, Darth Vader's secret apprentice. Taken from his father by Vader when just a child (this is in fact the opening level where you play as Vader on Kashyyyk) Starkiller is raised by the ruthless Sith Lord to show no mercy. However Vader trains his apprentice without the knowledge of the Emperor, and thus when sent on his missions Starkiller is told to leave no witnesses. This gives you the freedom to unleash pain upon enemy forces, and The Empire's own Stormtroopers. Vader sends you on missions to wipe out the last remaining Jedi, and prove yourself to your master. His aim is to test your strength so that if you survive, you can overthrow the Emperor together.

The game also tells the story of the birth of the rebellion, which I will not mention much about as it will spoil it for those who haven't (those extreme few) already read/played the storyline. As Starkiller you go from planet to planet defeating hordes of troops to get to the Jedi hiding there. You are accompanied by your faithful training robot Proxy and Juno, your female pilot (and love interest). Your first mission as Starkiller will take you to a Tie Fighter Factory where you will end up facing Master Rahm Kota, a heroic Jedi from the Clone Wars. Kota had been suspicious of the clones and had refused to have any in his squad, opting for his own hired men. Thus, when Order 66 was issued declaring Jedi enemies of the Republic, he managed to avoid obliteration.

The duels are epic, but get repetitive.


When you first get your hands on Starkiller you will notice quite a difference between him and Vader (which is good considering Vader is mainly a machine in a heavy suit). The Apprentice can speed around at rapid pace (which serves well later on in the game when you get tired of fighting and just opt to run through the levels), and jump to greater heights than Vader. Then comes the titular force moves. Those on offer include force lighting, force push and grab among others. You can also hurl your lightsaber at enemies for ranged kills. As you progress you will unlock new moves to up your arsenal. All moves are upgradeable through the menu system, which will allow you to increase their strength in return for combo points you gain throughout the game. You can also upgrade your lightsaber with different crystals which will boost the strength of your attacks. Furthermore, you can alter the colour of its blade with crystals you pick up throughout the game ranging from blue and green to purple and yellow (each colour gets 3 different shades).

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