- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
ZADZOOKS: Star Wars, The Force Unleashed review
Also, I loved bending a piece of large metal framing in the way of a passing T.I.E. Fighter and watching it explode, and splitting an AT-ST in half with a light saber.
Pixel-popping scale: Eight out of 10. I give major kudos to the LucasArts design team for the gorgeous environments and realistic character presentations.
Most impressive, as Vader might retort, are the game’s technological enhancements. The manipulation and reaction of materials such as shattering glass, bending metal, a shaking human body and splintering tree bark is pretty amazing.
Also, nonplayable characters realistically react to their Force-induced predicaments (like living rag dolls with an attitude) through a behavior-simulation engine, and it is pretty scary to watch.
Violent encounters: Verging on the sadistic, the game practically demands I use that slick selection of Force powers to run physics experiments on some helpless minions. About the fifth time I Force-grabbed a trooper, levitated him (as he groaned and twisted in pain), and flung him through a window into outer space, I really started to feel guilty. Although fallen enemies just dissolve into oblivion, it was a bit too realistic for my tastes.
Extras and unlockables: The player eventually can use an assortment of light saber crystals (to change his blade’s color and power) and costumes, view artwork, practice techniques in a training room or read an ever-expanding encyclopedic database as he progresses in the story.
Also, as the apprentice succeeds with primary and secondary mission objectives (I got to free a Sarlacc, giddy moment) and finds Jedi and Sith Holocrons, he is awarded with Force spheres to upgrade powers and combination moves.
Read all about it: “Star Wars” sequential-art scribe and project leader for the game Haden Blackman wrote a comic book adaptation of The Force Unleashed ($15.95) for Dark Horse Comics. It slightly expounds on the story and should be read only after finishing the game.
The bad news: The game’s linear play style along with the lack of any multiplayer element almost dooms it to rental status - once a player enjoys the story, he has little reason to go back and revisit the experience.
What’s it worth: The acting and plot are better than the last three “Star Wars” movies and, best of all, I get to take part in the fun. Fans of the Skywalker saga will not want to miss this dynamic game. However, if it were not for the technological novelties, this would be a pretty routine exercise in beating up bad guys.
About the Author
A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in communications, Joseph Szadkowski has written about popular culture for The Washington Times for the past 17 years. He covers video games, comic books, new media and technology.
- ZADZOOKS: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze review
- ZADZOOKS: The Last of Us: Left Behind review
- ZADZOOKS: The Lego Movie Videogame review
- Zadzooks: Justice League: War review (Blu-ray)
- ZADZOOKS: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII review
Latest Blog Entries
By Tammy Bruce
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- IRS to turn over Lerner emails in tea party targeting probe
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again