Star Wars: The Force Unleashed had the potential for a great story, great game play, and an all-around great entry in the abysmal field of Star Wars video games. Sadly, it fails to live up to its potential.
The story is mildly entertaining, but extremely predictable. The controls and gameplay are frustrating and difficult, often times working against you. The graphics and sound are good, but nothing spectacular.
The first few hours are fun as you hack and slash your way through storm troopers. After the novelty of electrocution and throwing wears off, the game just becomes a repetitive exercise in button mashing.
The AI cheats on a regular basis and the rules of combat are asymmetric. Enemies can block your most powerful attacks while you are unable to block mindless storm troopers. Your force powers, while entertaining, cannot be used on many of the enemies. Major bosses can't be thrown; some are immune to lightening; nearly all of them can block your light saber indefinitely.
Most of the boss and mini-boss battles end with a special button-sequence you have to enter with the right timing. It's cheesy, pointless, and detracts from enjoying the well-done cinematic death.
The Apprentice also has a number of fighting problems. He steps forward when he slashes and will step right off a cliff to his death. He takes 4-9 seconds to get back up and is vulnerable to attack during. The same cannot be said for the enemies.
Saves are via checkpoint system. The checkpoints are not evenly spaced and some major battles have multiple waves of enemies without saves.
The biggest problem is with the targeting system. If you've played Assassin's Creed, imagine that system with a sloppy camera and having dozens of inanimate targets in a room. More often than not, the targeting system will select a rock or barrel causing your camera and force powers to be misdirected.
You'll electrocute, push, or slash inanimate objects when you mean to attack the bad buy. This is especially a problem with bosses and later levels when they are able to kill you with just a few hits.
Fighting is all about combos. Combos may be difficult for some to master; this doesn't matter since most combos can be blocked by enemies. Worse yet, enemies can hit you while executing a combo and interrupt the sequence. You cannot do the same to enemies.
* The Force
Force powers are entertaining, but nothing special. You throw stuff, push stuff, and electrocute things. Many things are immune to your powers, including the later bosses.
Of particular note is one sequence late in the game where the Apprentice demonstrates power far beyond Darth Vader or the Emperor. This sequence is slow, boring, and pointless. It took upwards of 30 minutes to complete and the on-screen instructions you are supposed to follow is actually wrong at times. It also raises another question: why is Starkiller the "Apprentice" if he is this powerful? Shouldn't he be the Master?
Download the demo. Play it, throw a few storm troopers out a window. Get your fill of being a Jedi and move on. If you can get the game used at a substantial discount, it may be worth it. Otherwise, save your time and money and get something else.