QTEs Unleashed

I finished The Force Unleashed this morning, at about 3AM, with my wife cheering me on, and I have to say that it had a pretty neat story – if it’s canon, anyway, and I’m given to understand that the game’s default ending IS supposed to be canon, though who knows for sure – and so I will recommend it to anyone who grew up on Star Wars movies, action figures, lunchboxes, and bedsheets starting at the age of, roughly, 5.

I didn’t actually have “Star Wars” bedsheets.  I had “Battlestar Galactica” bedsheets.  The lunchbox thing, though, Star Wars all the way for me.  My sister? Holly Hobby.

Anyway.

I’m going to put it right up with Dark Forces in my list of “Star Wars games I actually enjoyed playing”, which is high praise considering:

1) The game’s tendency to, if I had an AT-ST and a hunk of rubble directly in front of me, decide that I wanted to unleash the full fury of my force lightning blast into the hunk of rubble while the AT-ST riddled me with blaster fire.

2) The mid-level boss fight I spent stuck in a railing, unable to move, throwing my lightsaber at the boss over and over again until he mercifully used force grip on me and threw me across the room.

3) Needing to repeat the first SEVEN end-level boss fights because, the first time I finished each level, it would crash without first saving my progress.

4) Random crashes throughout the game.  Thankfully the game has lots of checkpoints.  This was the PS3 version, I can’t say if the 360 version is any less frustrating.

5) The goddamn Star Destroyer bit.  On the plus side, this was the first “boss” that wasn’t immediately followed by the game crashing.  I was incredibly relieved by this until I realized that I was happy simply because the game had stopped abusing me.  Call it battered gamer syndrome.

6) The way it throws QTEs at you all the damn time.  Seriously. Having Big Dramatic End-of-Fight sequences is cool – for spectators.  As the poor mook with the controller, your entire attention is on the bottom of the screen, anticipating the next “Press X to not die!” message, with only a vague awareness that Neat Things are happening in the other 80% of the screen.

Those little tiny nitpicks aside… a good ride.  The visceral nature of the force powers you unlock through playing makes being a bad guy a tremendously joyful experience, almost to the point of being disturbing, and the assorted screams, moans, and grunts from your hapless victims really complete the package.  The environments are also 100% fan-service glee, especially the junk planet, which is basically a big game of “Spot-the-Nina” for Star Wars geeks.

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