Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 Review

November 5, 2010

The first game in this series got mixed reviews, but I was part of the few that really enjoyed it.  The thought of Darth Vader having a secret apprentice seemed really neat and I thought it was a great way to extend Star Wars canon.  You’d think then that a sequel with refinements to the game play and graphics would make for a better game.   Well after beating the game I have to say the experience left me with an empty feeling.

First off, there isn’t nearly as many locales as in the first one.  One of the things I enjoyed about TFU1 is that there was a feeling of variety in the locales so when those locales repeated towards the end, you didn’t mind as much.  In TFU2, you truly only have 3-4 locales, which is ridiculous to me.  This game doesn’t have the sense of adventure that the original had and doesn’t even have more than two boss fights total.  Adding insult to injury, the Darth Vader fight was way too long (this is not a spoiler) and was a one trick pony boss fight, forcing you to do the same thing over and over with little variety to break up monotony.

The game does offer an upgrade system, but Star Killer is so overpowered right off the bat that it makes upgrading your abilities a bit unnecessary.  I suggest you at least play the game on Hard difficulty so you can have some semblance of a challenge.  I appreciated that you didn’t have to unlock all of the same abilities you had when you beat TFU1, but they should have adjusted enemy difficulty accordingly.

As many have already pointed out in reviews and impressions, the game is way too short…about half the length of the first game.  A 5-6 hour play time wouldn’t be a problem if the game play variety was there but it simply wasn’t.  Games like Batman Arkham Asylum and Uncharted 2 have raised the bar of what we expect from third person character action games and TFU2 just doesn’t live up to its potential.  Heavenly Sword for PS3 had a similar play time to this game but felt like a complete experience in comparison.

To round things out, the story just sort of ends right in the middle of a plot point.  Who thought it was a good idea to end it at that point in the story?  Perhaps if there was a more fleshed out story before that point it would have made sense and felt more like a cliff hanger, but that simply wasn’t the case.  TFU1 introduced a conflicted Jedi, Maris Brood that is still out there somewhere in the Star Wars universe.  Why they would create that hanging plot thread only to not explore it in this game is beyond me.  A lot of wasted potential there in my opinion.

That’s just the thing too, this series does have so much potential!  The game play really is a blast and if only they were able to have more set pieces and variety in level design and a more fleshed out story, it could have been great.  As awesome as the game play was though, they failed to make an awesome game around it.  If you are interested in this game, I say rent or wait for a price drop.  Not sure if it’s worth $60.

Overall Rating: 6.5

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The 10 minute review: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of The Patriots (PS3)

January 22, 2009

 

First off, Kojima really outdid himself with the direction of the cutscenes.  They were brilliantly directed and the voice acting has to be some of the best I’ve heard in any game.  David Hayter really makes you feel Snake’s pain and man does he go through some rough times throughout this game.  The graphics in this game are incredible and definitely raise the bar for anyone else that expects to compete.  There’s a part that I won’t spoil for you at the end that almost looks like CGI, it was incredible.

Secondly, the sound quality and directional audio is some of the best sound work done in a game.  It really puts you in the middle of a warzone.  There were also some boss battles where sound was done so well that it was a legitimate strategy to defeating that particular boss.  

Gameplay was the best that the MGS series has ever seen.  The threat ring is an ingenious idea and it makes me wish that MGS3 had it.  It’s so simple that even my wife who knows nothing about video games understood how it worked just by watching me play.  What makes the threat ring so great is that it puts the focus back on Snake and not on the upper right hand corner where the radar would normally be.

Another update the gameplay received is the fact that the stealth is completely optional.  You can either play the game like you have in the past, or you can go in guns blazing.  Although I played through the game trying to be as stealthy as possible, it’s nice to know that the option to not do so is there.  Also, the game’s camera system has been updated to a third person behind the back perspective compared to previous installments that went with an overheard perspective.  This was much needed and helped a lot in terms of modernizing the series. 

Story-wise, it’s still Metal Gear.  There’s a lot of exposition at times, but the story is interesting so fans of the series will hardly care.  Sometimes the story toes the deep end of the convoluted pool but it reigns itself back in most of the time.

Overall, this is the best MGS game I’ve played and one of the best games I’ve played this generation. The only complaint I have is that the story gets a little nutty right at the end (after the credits), but my complaint wasn’t enough to take away from my overall experience.  This is one of the most polished games I’ve ever played and Kojima Productions almost OCD-like attention to detail shines through and through.