Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Force Unleashed - Part One

I'm going to apologize in advance, people.

There's about to be a whole lot of Star Wars ranting on this site, what with The Force Unleashed and Clone Wars coming out so close together, not to mention I finally got around to reading the first book in the Legacy of the Force series when the power was out for almost two weeks thanks to Hurricane Ike.

Because of Ike, I didn't get to start the 360 version of Unleashed until last Wednesday. Don't worry: I made up for lost time when the power came back on. I completed the game the next night, which is what the first of several rants about The Force Unleashed is about: the game is too damn short.

And I'm not saying this because I didn't want the game to end. No, this game is ridiculously, inexcusably, pissesmeoffingly short. My first run through the game, including multiple, multiple deaths and retrying stages, clocked in at two minutes short of seven hours.

If there's one thing I'll remember about this generation of games, it'll be the (pardon me for using the word again, but it's the right word) inexcusably short length of A-list titles by major developers. And here's the real kick to the proverbial junk: games of this generation cost ten bucks more.

The Force Unleashed now joins Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 as games I will shake my fist at every time I walk past my gaming library for their brief single-player campaigns - but at least those games had some kickass multiplayer, which made them worth sixty bucks. The Force Unleashed has no multiplayer or co-op (man, imagine the co-op...).

And the brief length of The Force Unleashed affects the game negatively in every way. The story (more on that later) and the characters never get the time to develop properly. The difficulty of the game doesn't progress smoothly, which is as much due to game design as length, but a longer game could have ramped up the difficultly more slowly to create a game with better balance.

And three levels in particular - the medical ship, Cloud City, and the Death Star - end far too quickly. The Cloud City level, one of most iconic and memorable settings in Star Wars, is the biggest disappointment. I didn't feel like I visited Cloud City. I felt like I had a layover in Cloud City. True, it was a kickass layover, one in which I got to kill a shitload of Stormtroopers, but that's not the point.

In the game's defense, I can't stop playing this damn game: I've already clocked in fifteen hours in a week. So it's been worth sixty for me, but I am, unfortunately, that kind of Star Wars fan. For normal people, I recommend waiting till the game drops in price, if you want to get your money's worth.

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