“Star Wars fans, it’s time to call in sick”
Yes you may call in sick for the demo too! So those of you who don’t casually scroll available demos on Xbox Live, you should start doing that. Because on August 21, the “The Force Unleashed” playable demo was available for download. We tried it out and now we are here to tell you what we went through as we played and scanned through the Xbox 360 demo of The Force Unleashed.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed started with that same old Lucas Arts Logo redesigned, swinging his red lightsaber around and throwing lightning with his both hands to create written Lucas Arts. It went to the main menu after that. We had a couple of options viz. to start the demo, adjust typical audio/video options and take a “Force Grip” tutorial. The tutorial taught how to use the force grip to make a menace of objects all around the air.
After selecting to start the demo we had 4 difficulty options out of which the last one was locked presumably for the main game. We played the game with the two toughest available options. Before we start on with the demo we’re sure you know that this game adds content to the time between Episode III and IV of the movie. Our player being the secret apprentice of Darth Vader (even Sith Lord doesn’t know about him).
He carries out secret missions for Vader and further story is awaited. Also, this is the first game to have 4 engines. Lucasarts’s own engine Ronin, Havok for rigid body physics, DMM (Digital Molecular Matter) for dynamically destructible objects and everyone’s favourite NaturalMotion Euphoria for dynamic character animation and their AI. Mouth-watering enough for any gamer!
Coming to our main character “The Apprentice”, he has a determined and intense look and has very short hair. He wears Jedi-like apparel although throughout the game the apparel changes a lot. He is a cold guy by the looks, much like Altair from Assassin’s Creed. The demo starts with Vader telling the apprentice that he is ready to go on missions and how he must remain a secret. He gives him a mission to go aboard a Jedi’s space ship and finish anyone he encounters. This gave me goose bumps. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed started immediately after that and we were ready to proceed inside the ship. It was assumed that a ship called Eclipse dropped us there.
The game was in my control now. It was a splendid sight. No sign of any aliasing. The floor was beautifully rendered and was reflecting partially. There was not much HUD only one simplistic health bar and one force bar in top left. It was time to check the magic of Havok, DMM and Euphoria especially DMM because it is its debut. The Apprentice was ready with his lightsaber. There were lots of droids roving about here and there.
Moving near them and pointing direction towards objects, mobile or immobile, would target them with a reticule and thus allowing us to “Force Grip” them and perhaps do lots more in the main game. Every droid had its HP on its head. The Force Grip feature was ecstasy, by pressing RT we could levitate any object and move them around in any direction to a significant limit and if we would leave RT while moving something in any direction we would forcefully throw it in that direction. I did that with droids and containers in that area for few minutes.
The extent of control is creditable although you remain stationary while doing that. Outside the window was a beautiful scene of a planet and star fighters fighting in the foreground, lasers plentiful. I force gripped a container and smashed it into the window which after being shattered created a vacuum and nearby objects were sucked into space followed by a iron gate jamming in the window area creating things back to normal. After this silly but fun gameplay I proceeded further and checked out the controls.
X was for lightsaber actions, Y for lightning, B for Force Push and A for jump. X, Y, B could be combined to achieve different appealing combos. LT was for block, RB was focusing on a target. And LB was a speed force dash ahead which had no impact (at least for now). Just for traveling quicker, albeit the full game might have more to offer. The force bar was not pricey, it was depleted decently. It would not deplete during our amusement with the Force Grip.
It was interesting to note the brand new lightsaber stance of The Apprentice. He is holding the hilt backwards in his hand and also keeping the lightsaber behind his back. He also hopped a bit while running but the motion was smooth. I decided to test DMM now. After I slashed around my saber in objects, there was nothing dynamic in what I saw. I slashed the containers and it was there in half. That was it. Similar containers gave the same result and after that the pieces were invincible to the lightsaber or anything else. I moved on after force pushing a blast door to the action scene.
I was on a small crossing bridge above and inside a huge hangar. Troopers were firing on me. I blocked the lasers, few of which reflected back on them. There were lots of explosive containers and objects there so I ‘Force Gripped’ to throw them on the troopers. It was mayhem and a splendid sight with only a decent depletion of force gauge the entire horde was wiped out. After the satisfactory look of the scene I jumped down to the ground allowing more troops to enter. I welcomed them with a pleasant smile.
I saw some huge TIE fighters in the hangar and I was not sure to Force Grip them but I decided to give it a try anyway and to my surprise the next second I was controlling the gigantic fighter in the hangar. I could feel its weight but it was definitely mobile now and I threw it on the newly arrived bunch which was followed by an explosion and all of them lying their helplessly. How evil can one person get? On the remaining bunch I tried various lightsaber combos lightning and force pushing them into walls. As you got near to a trooper their HP too was on the head. The wall impact would immediately finish their HP.
I moved on to see the force grip mechanism had to be used at some significant places to open blast doors. Force Grip was clearly a major part of TFU now. I entered a smaller pathway now and 3-4 troopers faced me again. It was time to test Force Grip on them and thus it was time to enjoy Euphoria after GTA 4 a bit. It was a blissful sight again. I was gripping one of the troopers and he started helplessly dancing in the air.
The other guys actually jumped away to dodge the trooper I was waving around. I smashed him a bit into an object and he grabbed onto it as tight as he could. Again I could feel the weight in the grip now but I was still raising the trooper in air who was now carrying an object three times bigger than him. I flew him away and got rid of him to grip the next trooper. This one I smashed into another trooper and helplessly the one in my control now grabbed onto this second trooper and I was enjoying both these puppets in the air. I was drooling over Euphoria’s effect by now.
I did this a lot and tried different combinations. I was able to make one gripped trooper grab legs of two different troopers. I finished the fight here and moved on. There was another huge area now where TIE fighters were flying by after intervals shooting at me. There were more soldiers I got rid of with lots of variation and I was able to discover few metal pillars also graspable and I was able to bend them significantly. I found no use of it though. The game definitely has interesting things to discover, such as I received one and only upgrade of the force push which promised plentiful upgrades of skills throughout the full version of the game.
And minor admirable things such as if an enemy off screen fired at me, The Apprentice auto reflected the laser back so now giving us time to get ready for further block or to face him instead of needlessly getting injured. There was this feature where below the health and force bars we were told of the bonuses we were receiving in different ways we killed people. In addition if we killed someone quite uniquely there would be an action cam triggered to see the poor guy go down. The game tips showed that this cam could be triggered manually too.
Within 20 minutes the demo came to an end where I reached a point where 5 storm troopers and an AT-ST appeared. The AT-ST was rapidly firing on me. I died once in the tougher difficulty there and the game restarted nearby. This looked like a masked checkpoint system. I quickly got rid of the troopers and jumped in air to do some combos on the AT-ST. I threw some objects on it.
When its HP was low it was time to finish it off and Surprise! Surprise! The button minigame started! Just like God of War (or Logan’s Shadow, Spiderman 3). And I pressed X and A in some order thrice to finish of the AT-ST revealing two dead storm troopers from inside. The button pattern was repeated and not dynamic like God of War. It was a major disappointment now when the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed demo ended as we expected a little more (who doesn’t) and at least one lightsaber duel. Also I thought the fourth difficulty level would unlock now but it did not and perhaps it is for the full version game only. After the demo a trailer with both new gameplay footage and scenes were shown which was truly tempting.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed will be exquisite and a true paradise experience for Star Wars fans. The DMM was a bit disappointment but let’s see what the full version has to offer.
- By Anubhav Priyadarshi