That's it? Everyone's done the game?
The Force was indeed unleashed this September as the latest Star Wars title stormed the charts, knocking the competition out of the way like Bantha Poodoo.by David Radd on Wednesday, October 29, 2008No one would call Star Wars games rare or infrequent, but Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is special. Its story, set between the two Star Wars trilogies and crafted with the help of George Lucas, gives the game a higher level of importance than most others. While some may say this is the most significant release since Revenge of the Sith came out, we can think of a better parallel: Shadows of the Empire.While many young fans may not have even been born when it was released, we can assure them that Shadows of the Empire was a big deal to the Star Wars faithful in 1996. It featured a video game, action figures, a comic series and a novel that all tied into a story set between Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, something that had until that point had never been done. Shadows of the Empire paved the way for the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition release the next year, and ultimately convinced George Lucas that there was demand for Episode I: The Phantom Menace. While it's unlikely that George Lucas will be convinced to do more Star Wars than the current Clone Wars TV series [And some people would consider that a good thing! - Ed.], The Force Unleashed shows that's there's still a lot of demand for Star Wars mythology.Go forth, my apprentice.According to the NPD, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed occupied the first, fifth, ninth and fourteenth best selling slots overall for the month of September. This made it the fourth best selling title on Wii, third best selling title on PS2 and the best selling title on the PS3, PSP and Xbox 360 platforms. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed sold over 1.15 million copies in the U.S. between the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii versions of the title alone during the September period.The Dark Side is funThe game's success has been truly meteoric, and LucasArts reported worldwide sales of 1.5 million units of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed in only five days. This gave the game the heady title of "fastest selling Star Wars title ever." With well over 4.3 million copies of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed already shipped, LucasArts is planning more good news for the title in less than a week."The record-setting sales of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed shows the undiminished power of Star Wars and its popularity across all media types, including video games," said Darrell Rodriguez, president of LucasArts in a release. "We're blown away by the response to the game."You don't know the power of the Dark Side!The basic concept of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has been described by the team at LucasArts as "kicking someone's ass with the Force;" a crude approximation, but accurate. To put it in comparative gaming terms, The Force Unleashed is like a Star Wars analog for God of War. Starkiller, the game's protagonist, uses elaborate lightsaber combos, powerful Force abilities and even engages in the odd quick-time event for larger enemies (like slicing an AT-ST in half, to use a particularly cool example) making for a truly modern 3D action game in the Star Wars universe.Drawing many people to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, however, is the story. Featuring a collection of characters both familiar (Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Bail Organa) and new (Starkiller, Juno Eclipse, Rahm Kota), the story deals with hunting down rogue Jedi and ultimately forming the Rebel Alliance. Consultations with George Lucas and his staff made sure the game filled the gap in established cannon properly.Critics regarded Star Wars: The Force Unleashed as something of a mixed bag. The controls for the game were admonished (Zero Punctuation said lightsaber combat was like "trying to follow an aerobics routine with both your arms tied to different windmills") along with the general lack of deadliness of Starkiller's lightsaber. While the physics for the game were impressive in some ways, they were also criticized as buggy and "loose." The acting was generally praised, but the story itself drew mixed reactions, some saying it tied together the two trilogies in an unintuitive, contrived manner. The review averages for most versions of the game generally hovered around 70 percent on GameRankings.com."After the credits roll, Force Unleashed isn't the end-all, be-all interactive Star Wars experience but it manages to showcase some interesting new game technology and is a mostly fun virtual slugfest that's worth killing a few hours to experience," reads GameDaily's 7-out-of-10 review by Libe Goad. "It will at least inspire you to dust off those Star Wars DVDs and relive the magic all over again."Claim your destinyAs LucasArts' biggest release of the year, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was heavily promoted across all media. The marketing included a fairly extensive TV campaign, emphasizing the role as Darth Vader's apprentice and your Force abilities, along with subtle measures, like Starkiller's inclusion in Soul Calibur IV. The game's release also came during a heavy promotional period for Star Wars in general, as the Clone Wars animated movie and accompanying TV series were debuting in roughly the same time period.While the long worked on Force Unleashed is out and is already a bona fide success, it's unclear what future there is for the franchise. Reports have suggested mass layoffs from LucasArts, and the company may look to license out future projects to outside developers. The story for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed also does not lend itself to a direct sequel, unless LucasArts is willing to wander into the realm of "non-cannon." However, we're confident of one thing: so long as there is Star Wars, there will be Star Wars games.
by Justin McElroy Sep 30th 2008 11:25AMFiled under: Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, ActionThough it's fun unleashing the Force, wouldn't it be better if you could unleash the Force while pretending you're a good Jedi that has completely lost his mind? The people at LucasArts seem to think so: They'll be releasing new costumes for The Force Unleashed's single-player campaign this fall, including Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ki-Adi-Mundi, and Kit Fisto. We've put an "in-game" picture of Fisto after the break, but he looks more like he's been pasted in from the cover of a Star Wars novel.And later this year, look for a new mission in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, where the Apprentice will "learn more about his father, and while searching through the rubble of the destroyed building he must confront his inner demons."Neither the price nor specific dates for either of the DLC packs has yet been unlea-- err, revealed. We'll keep you posted.
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