There are some games that you remember being great as the years go by, but when you are finally reunited, it turns out to be mediocre at best. That’s what Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is like on the Nintendo Switch and it shouldn’t cause a disturbance in your wallet.
So is this revisit from Starkiller one that is worth the dive? Or does this Star Wars spinoff need to be force chocked?
Order 66 and Storyline
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has you play as Darth Vader’s secret apprentice Starkiller. The former jedi turned sith is hoping to groom Starkiller into a mighty warrior and help him defeat the Emperor. Now that he’s grown up, Starkiller is now hunting the jedi who are hiding after the events of Order 66.
The overall plot is intriguing as it’s a unique twist to the narrative we know and love. The space between Episode III and Episode IV hasn’t been touched that much either, despite The Force Unleashed not being canon. However, the Wii version that Aspyr decided to remaster lacks a deep narrative, formulating the storyline around simpler cutscenes than its PS3 and Xbox 360 cousins.
The performances, however, are on the money, especially from Starkiller’s actor Sam Witwer. He perfectly portrays someone that is set in his own ways, and when those ideas are challenged, he struggles to comprehend what is occurring around him. He tries not to show his emotion, but Witwer’s tone of voice reflects something else going on within Starkiller’s mind.
The graphics aren’t the best
Unfortunately, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed hasn’t aged well in terms of its graphics. While the art behind each planet is absolutely solid, the models and the environments themselves look untextured and somewhat repetitive. Being inside the Death Star sounds exciting, but you’ll be faced with hallway after hallway.
One of the best worlds is set within a mushroom-filled setting. It played around with shadows and lighting to a satisfying degree. However, this instance comes few and far between in the somewhat uninspired Wii version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
There is better lightsaber combat out there
Something else that hasn’t aged particularly well is the combat system. Sure, picking up and throwing enemies is a thrilling piece of entertainment, but as you repeat the same motions, it does get tiring, especially towards the last third of the game. You have a lightning ability and some combo attacks to keep it somewhat fresh, but your options quickly become limited. There aren’t any puzzles or significant platforming segments, so the structure of the game can get dull in points, especially in longer levels.
The bosses are when Star Wars: The Force Unleashed picks up the pace. You will need some element of strategy with each foe, but it usually ends up being a cycle of throwing the opponent, using your lightning, and attacking with your standard combo. The attacks often don’t feel effective against bosses either as they don’t stagger; all you see is the red health bar slightly going down. The bosses still feel epic in scale and bring a nice change of pace, but they don’t save the aged combat system.
In addition, you should know that there are quick-time events that have to be done perfectly. If you fail, you’ll have to dwindle a boss’ life once more to the opportune point. Despite some of them being frustrating, they’re usually easy to input if you don’t keep your eyes off the screen. They’re also epic to watch as Starkiller zips across the battlefield with his high agility and damaging force powers. Despite originating from the Wii, the main protagonist looks like a badass.
Lastly, I don’t recommend using the Joycon’s motion controls provided for this port of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. They’re inaccurate and not the optimal experience for this game. It’s nice that they’re there, in case you want a waggle fest.
Overall, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a fine game that hasn’t aged like wine. Its combat system feels barebones nowadays and the graphics aren’t the best from the Wii era. However, if you can look through its faults, the game is well-acted and the story is decent throughout its five-hour campaign. There’s also the multiplayer mode I wasn’t able to try that has a roster of fan-favorite Star Wars characters in it.
If you’re looking to get one Star Wars game for the Nintendo Switch, I’d recommend getting Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga instead as it offers much more content and provides a fun take on the franchise we know and love.
Story and characters are solid.
Decent world design.
Combat is dull at points.
Repetitive gameplay design
Graphics can be a bit ugly.
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An experienced freelance writer, Chris has a vast knowledge of the gaming medium. With a Bachelor of Communications degree, he hopes to elevate his writing further. His favorite games are Kingdom Hearts, Beyond Good & Evil, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.