With the recent release of the Clone Wars animated film, older Star Wars fans might be wondering if there's any room left for them in a galaxy far, far away. More and more it seems like the series is skewing younger to keep itself fresh. Yet there is a new hope of the horizon, in the form of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
Of course, Star Wars is still a commercially driven property, as the recently released Force Unleashed novelization makes all too clear. Though if the demo is any indication, this title might be worth the extra push. The upcoming game let's you live out your every dark fantasy by taking control of Darth Vader's secret apprentice. Even the Emperor doesn't know of your existence, although with the Force at your fingertips, it won't be long before he finds out.
The title says all you need to know. The demo makes it clear that The Force is a potent weapon at your command. As Vader's apprentice, you're set loose aboard an Imperial vessel, and none of those who cross your path, Rebel or Imperial, may survive. There are several cool Force powers at your disposal, including a saber throw and Force push, to complement superhuman speed and jumping abilities. You can also use the Force to pick up objects laying around and chuck them at those who dare oppose you.
Fans of the dark side need not worry. You also wield the king of all Sith abilities: Force lightening. There is nothing more satisfying than raining a brilliant, blue electrical death upon a squad of stormtroopers. Half the joy of the demo is coming up with new ways to crush your enemies. It's incredibly fun, and offers some simple replay value in a somewhat short demo.
You also have a trusty red lightsaber at your side. It comes in handy to ward off incoming stormtrooper laser blasts before cutting the clone to ribbons. There are powerups sprinkled throughout the demo too, such as allowing you unlimited Force for a small time. Hopefully, the retail game will feature some sort of arena with unlimited enemies and plenty of powerups.
There are far more powers than the few offered in the demo. Leveling up will give you access to more powerful abilities as the game progresses. The demo illustrates this by giving you a powerful charging Force Push after you've cut your teeth on a few enemies. When you've had your fill of fodder, the demo offers a final challenge. It culminates with an AT-ST battle that hints at the possibility of more epic battles to come. Like the God of War series, this boss battle winds up with a quick time event and a striking cinematic finish.
It's not without its problems. The bane of all action games, the camera, can sometimes be an issue. It occasionally gets out of place, but a button press will swing it back behind you. The only problem is that you are constantly turning the apprentice around to get a good look at the enemies behind. These moments can rob you of the feeling that you're a force to be reckoned with. Additionally, you don't directly control what enemies or object you're locked onto. Most of the time, it's not an issue as one enemy isn't all that different from another. It is a problem though when you lock onto an object instead of an enemy. It's particularly frustrating when you're battling the AT-ST and you accidently fry a piece of space luggage with lightening. Hopefully, developer LucasArts can iron out any kinks before the September release.