Let’s get this out of the way: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is an incomplete story.

Long time readers are aware of the high praise I gave the original game’s story: The tale of a Sith apprentice turned Jedi who was too powerful to live, that was contained in a one-shot that made for compelling storytelling, was worlds better than the Prequel films, and was neatly wrapped up without messing with the established overall storyline. The new game ends on a cliffhanger, and with The Force Unleashed III reported to be canceled, I doubt we’ll ever see or play the resolution in digital format. It’s a shame, really. While not as strong as the first game, it did have some shining moments.

And yet, Force Unleashed II didn’t have the emotional “hook” the first game had. The cloned (or is he?) Starkiller takes his lightsabers to everything that dares to cross his path. If Anakin Skywalker was off the charts on the midichlorian *shudder* count, there is no register for Starkiller. As I mentioned earlier, he’s simply too powerful to exist in the Star Wars universe, and reining him in might have made for less exciting gameplay, but a better story.

I know, I know. I keep going back to the story. But is the game fun? Yes. Stormtroopers can now be cleanly dismembered, the Mind Trick power is actually fun and effective, and if there’s a rampage to be had, this game excels in showcasing one. The levels are beautiful, and while reviews bemoan that there are only 4 worlds, it’s not just 4 levels, and there is a little bit of diversity to break things up. There are a few fan-favorite cameos, but it’s disappointing that they are not integrated more into the story, other than nods to “Oh, cool”, that’s about all they do. Fortunately, there’s no real “broken” parts as found in the first game similar to trying to land the Star Destroyer, which was brilliant in concept, but a total mess in execution. The biggest disappointment here is Dagobah, and that’s all I’ll say for now.

It’s hard to say why I didn’t generate as many “warm fuzzies” for this game as I did the original. It’s not a bad game, but it just feels incomplete, and lacking something. For as much attention as the first game got, I really would have thought Lucasarts would have tried to raise the bar for this one. Sure, there are more over the top sequences than the original, but even in a 30+ year old fictional world, there comes a limit to believability. There are way too many unresolved issues and questions that are raised in this game that were tightly wrapped up in the original, and that was the problem that I found in the Prequel movies as well. And yet, I found the (light) ending emotionally resonant and satisfying, but again, raised so many questions that will likely never be answered.

How much a gamer will like Force Unleashed II will depend on how much destruction they like to cause, and the willingness to suspend disbelief. I had fun with my quick romp, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t left with wanting more.

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