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Back in late 2008 LucasArts released their semi-popular Star Wars game The Force Unleashed to mixed reviews. The game was praised for its story and physics with most calling it “ambitious–yet ultimately dissatisfying”. Unsurprisingly however, LucasArts, undeterred by the reviews, are at it again and are set to release The Force Unleashed II tomorrow.
TFU II starts around seven months after the events of the first game, bringing the time line up to a year before the events of Episode IV. The story will be, as with most sequels, a much ‘darker entry’ in the series compared with the original game with much more focus placed on the personal story of the game’s protagonist ‘Starkiller’. From what can be pieced together from the trailers it’s clear that the Starkiller that players control in TFU II is, according to Vader, a clone of the one from the first game. In the early stages of the game this ‘clone’ Starkiller escapes from Kamino (The world where the clone army was made in Episode II) either by pure luck or because Vader allows it and embarks on a massive quest to find his love interest from the first game, Juno Eclipse. Along the way he’ll meet up with characters from across the series such as General Kota, Boba Fett and even Yoda.
The gameplay seems to be your standard state of affairs with you controlling Starkiller who just so happens to be an immensely powerful Force-user. You’ll go around utilising the same force powers from the first game such as Force Push and Lightning with the addition of a few new tricks. One of these new powers you’ll learn early on is the Jedi Mindtrick. This power can be used in a variety of different ways, all with interesting affects. When playing through the demo I came across a Stormtrooper patrolling a walkway with windows on either side and, before he’s noticed me, I flung a mindtrick his way. After a brief few seconds of panic the trooper ran towards one of the giant glass windows and flung himself out. The power has varying affects depending on where it is used. Usually if there are environment hazards around the enemy will fling themselves into them with a careless disregard for their own safety. However, when facing large groups of enemies you can use it to make them turn on each other, causing havoc.
Another addition to Starkiller’s arsenal is ‘Force Fury’. As Starkiller runs around, decapitating Stormtroopers and crushing AT-STs like tin cans, he’ll gain force fury. When triggered it “takes your powers to the next level.” According to Haden Blackman, the game’s executive producer. “If force push hits an enemy like a cannonball, in force fury mode it really sends them out into orbit.” As well as his new handy dandy force powers, Starkiller has access to two lightsabers this time round, meaning double the laser dismemberment action. This means that the entire combo system from the first game has been reworked, so there will be no cheap replications of old combos will be used.
One of the aspects present in the ending of the first game was the ability to choose between the light and dark side. While this was rather limited to a canon (Light side) and non-canon (Dark side) endings we’re promised that, even though Starkiller starts out as an imperial fugitive there will apparently be more focus on this in the second game.
Blackman says “We want this character to evolve and have his goals change as he grows and changes. His mission in The Force Unleashed II really is, at least initially, ‘Let me get reunited with Juno.’ Along the way he meets back up with Rahm Kota and other characters. His relationship with Vader is always the heart of the story, I think. The saga is Vader’s saga, all six movies. We want it to feel like we’re apart of that saga. The choice between light and dark, even in the films, isn’t as clear cut as, ‘Do I join the Rebel Alliance or do I turn to Vader?'”
“That relationship takes some twists and turns that are pretty interesting but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Starkiller is always going to be out to kill Vader or even rejoin him. We’re going to, eventually, have to resolve that relationship and we take it another step forward in this game,” Blackman continued.
This suggests much of the same linear ‘choices’ that were available in the first game, with there being either a canon or non-canon ending. There’s no doubt that TFU II won’t have the depth of Knights of the Old Republic’s Dark/Light side system but its yet to be revealed just what Blackman is talking about.
The Force Unleashed II is set to be released on October 26th in the US and 29th in Europe on Xbox 360, PS 3, Wii and Nintendo DS.