It’s been several years since LucasArts first asked its fan base, “Would you be interested in playing as a Star Wars villain?” Apparently, this idea was met with some enthusiasm, and the result was The Force Unleashed for console gaming systems. TFU makes its PC debut with the Ultimate Sith Edition with its flashy new packaging and additional game content. Unfortunately, this updated release is just a few banthas short of a herd.
To its credit, The Force Unleashed does a lot of things extremely well. You don’t need to be a Star Wars junkie to appreciate the story, which is lavishly presented in high-quality cinematic sequences. The characters are brought to life not only with terrific voice acting, but facial motion capture that impressively conveys the fluidity of human emotion. For those unfamiliar, The Force Unleashed follows the adventures of Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, who is exceptionally talented and trained as an instrument of the dark side. This makes the apprentice a true “wrecking ball” of the Force, indiscriminately blasting through rebel soldiers and stormtroopers alike.
Although dazzling as always, the lightsaber is not really the focal point of the combat. Most of the fun lies within the clever integration of Force powers. TFU is an action game at its core, and the available moves for the apprentice certainly reflect this. Hurling objects at your foes, electrocuting them with lightning, or simply blasting them into oblivion offers players the chance to channel quite a bit of aggression into the game. As you become increasingly skilled, you’ll be able to string powers together for devastating results; lifting a stormtrooper into the air, then impaling him with the lightsaber, might be one of the coolest things seen in any Star Wars video-game.