Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wiiview - Force Unleashed

When I decided to buy another game for the Wii, I was immediately drawn to Star Wars – Force Unleashed. What’s not to like? Exercise in the form of play! Low $20 price! The Wiimote will now make the light saber noises for me! I’ll get to play a Sith Lord instead of a wussy good guy! I may get the chance to slay Jar-Jar Binks or at least some random Ewoks! The game’s initials are FU! I’ll get to use lots of exclamation points in the review!
Unfortunately, actual game play is a bit of a drag. It’s my first introduction to this type of game, the first person walk around and kill and do stuff genre, and although it sounded ideal it’s not really for me. Ironically, I've discovered I like silly but engaging activities like sports games (I say ironic because I hate sports in reality). For purposes of this review, however, my comments are specific to this title.

You start the game as Darth Vader, an excellent way to start any game (Mario Kart and solitaire could use this improvement), but the thrill ends quickly. The controls are so complex and sensitive they often left me delivering a fatal blow a meter to the right of my opponent or standing still and taking fire while I tried to remember which button is Q and if I’m supposed to jump down and turn around before I pick the bale of cotton. The point of view is from behind an opaque Sith Lord which allows enemies to hide by charging directly at you. The game frequently pauses to save your progress, but if you quit and return later then you have to restart at the beginning of the level, and I’m not yet well enough to complete an entire level without several lengthy rest breaks. When you reach the end and fight the big boss (a fairly wimpy Jedi), the camera angles change constantly (probably entertaining for onlookers, but disorienting to the player) and the game forces you to discover the closing combo move it thinks looks pretty cool before it allows the fight to end. It provides a few on-screen tips, but I wasn’t able mirror the movements quickly enough, so the game raised my opponent’s health back to 25% and made me do it again. And again. And again. And this was just to get to the prologue of the real story.

Worst of all, the Wiimote doesn’t even make light saber noises. And I only got to kill Wookies, which are more respectable opponents, but I really wanted to take out an Ewok village. If you’ve seen episode VI, you know how sickeningly cloying they are. They’re kind of like a mix of Teddy Ruxpin (remember that doll from Hell?) and what doves would be if doves weren’t so ferocious and didn’t have that terrifying beak. Plus the cover shows your character battling storm troopers. From previous games I've noticed that George Lucas doesn't like it when you play the bad guys, so he tends to turn the games into stories about the baddies fighting each other instead of suppressing the rebellion. He could refuse to make games like that, but I've never known him to let artistic integrity or moral objections get in the way of financially raping his fans.

This game is a must-have for everyone who thinks anything Star Wars related is a must-have. Otherwise, I recommend a pass.

Final score – 2 out of 5 bunnies.


Jay said...

Bummer. It really seemed like there was a lot of promise there. Too bad it fell short of it's potential.

And no light saber noises? FAIL

SJ said...

Anythign with Star Wars, Trek is a NO to me. That and I don't have a wii!

Anonymous said...

My buddy just lent me FU for the xbox, which is supposed to be pretty good. I really want one of those Wii's, but maybe I'll stick to bowling and golf when I get one.

Anonymous said...

Jay's right- no light saber noises is a serious fail, Nintendo.

Grant said...

Jay - I think the Wiimote should include an option for light saber noises even when not being used to play Star Wars games.

SJ - you're way behind the geek curve.

Imnotbenny - thanks to the Japanese, 3 out of my 5 games include golf.