Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II makes a force-shocking return in its second iteration from LucasArts. The action is intense and the cutscenes are wildly vivid, but the entire title as a whole seems to be too reminiscent of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. The premiere title suffered from terrible and repetitive hack and slash gameplay, while the storyline though complete made Star Wars fans cringe at the turn that the canon had taken to join the gaps between the first three episodes of the title. Unfortunately, while Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II shares its predecessors same taste for visuals, technological aptitude, and increased variety in terms of gameplay structure – it hardly seems enough for the evolution of a series willing to finally give players the experience of being a true Jedi, rather than a weapon selection in the Battlefront series. We praised Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for finally taking the Jedi experience out of the dark, and providing something more meaningful than the former Star Wars fan-based titles LucasArts excreted over the years through spin-off’s and more, but that change was just the beginning to a road that LucasArts should have followed to lead the sequel into its prime. Unfortunately, LucasArts failed to do this and beautiful cutscenes with a sub-par storyline cannot mind-trick players into forgetting Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II’s problems of repetitive hack and slash gameplay, horrendous enemy A.I., and moreover a very short title for a very ambitious game. Major boss battles have also seen a significant decrease, which is something that really detracts from the combat action adventure. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II puts the power of the Jedi and the immeasurable strength of the force in the hands of Jedi enthusiasts everywhere, but it manages to slice its own arm by relying on a past formula too much and offering even little in terms of combat prowess than before.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II begins at a cloning facility, seeing Darth Vader’s former apprentice Starkiller brought out of a deep sleep, as Lord Vader steps in to remind him of his allegiance to the Empire. Realizing himself as a clone on Vader’s word, Starkiller begins to mumble about the real Starkiller’s identity, emotions, and moreover loss of faith in the darkside, citing dreams of forests that burn and other memories while revealing his mental instability. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II carries out this storyline as Vader’s clone-apprentice Starkiller gives in to save a fallen simulation of Juno Eclipsee, the real Starkiller’s love affair, and then thereby attempts to break out when remembering how Vader betrays him in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. From this point on, Starkiller faces a struggle with his identity as a clone through experiencing memories of a life he does not remember living, all the while hoping to take down the Empire with the now long-created Rebel Alliance that formed at the end of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Through the various worlds he visits and the old friends that return, such as Rahm Kota and Juno Eclipse, Starkiller will uncover whether or not Jedi’s actually can be cloned, and finally hope to put a stop to Vader and the Empire.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II essentially uses the same/cloned repetitive hack and slash gameplay formula of the first title, seeing a cloned Jedi Starkiller going through various levels and leveling up his force powers to defeat tons of enemy artificial intelligence. Like the first title, not much has changed in the way of gameplay. In respect of the weapons, there are more lightsabers to choose from, and force powers make a dramatic highlight of the game. One thing expected of a sequel is something brand new other than the imprinted “II” after the title, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is nothing more beyond the marking. The force powers, though much more better and intense graphically, are exactly the same as the first title, seeing only two additions to the force. Mind-trick makes enemies fight alongside you or hurl themselves quite hilariously off a bridge, but mind trick is apparently too strong for certain types of enemies, which just makes it a useful distraction for certain enemy A.I. that are dimwitted enough to step in front of a Jedi in a slow paced-shoot off. Aside from the force powers, combat sees the similar button mashers, but is simple compared to other button mashers considering no moves list or anything of the sort. Degrading true action and spectacle of what it means to be a Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II provides the same button-mashing sequences for larger bosses similar to God of War, downplaying the importance of real maneuvering gameplay or raw action and saber slice power. This was a facet of the first title that badly needed to be addressed and without changing this aspect of the gameplay for intimidating bosses and even mechanical fighters, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II and all future iterations will see fit to disgrace the true Jedi realism that it intends to offer but largely fails to do.
Unfortunately, problems of the gameplay combined with the same shoddy and blanched A.I. sees a rise in all the technology implemented into the game becoming devalued immensely. The same admirable technology sees a return in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II as great technology in its own right but not in the game. Digital Molecular Matter and Euphoria bring the realism of the environment into light. While the assets of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II seems largely reused from the first title, seeing the enemy get hurled around is one part of the tradition Star Wars: The Force Unleashed formula that will never get old.
Certain enemies of different armor types need multiple hits to take down, whereas others with too much armor on are exactly the same damage threshold. Aside from a lack of being tactical or extremely profound other than detecting the player model and shooting, the enemy A.I. is extremely repetitive. Players will either see Storm Troopers, flying Troopers, or the Red Sith that do not respond to the force, but expect you do. Boss battles have seen a significant decrease, and there are no more shocking moments where you see appearances of Darth-Maul or Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Ewan McGregor days of Episode III.
The morbidness of the reality of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is undoubtedly a shame both for the technology, beautiful CG cutscenes, and moreover everyone at LucasArts that has a vision for the realism of the Jedi experience. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed brought a title that Star Wars fans have been disparate over since Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy and Star Wars: Obi-wan, bringing the first title that introduced both a real Jedi experience and storyline after a long time of colorless titles that only used Jedi’s as an afterthought with horrible gameplay. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed gave Star Wars fans and nubile alike hope for an even better title that fixed the problems of “The Force Unleashed” franchise to date. While Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II proudly slashes its “II” after the title of the series, it is nothing more than a sequel in the right of its storyline, which is not particularly exciting but less interesting and further twisted by the implausibility it has with the canon of the original films and the overly used concept of cloning a Jedi. While we would like to believe George Lucas approved of this pedestrian storyline that is supposed to bridge the gap between the Star Wars films, we hardly see any of that develop into a storyline of depth and believability in the title being a true sequel. The Jedi action and experience remains better than former LucasArts titles, but similar problems to the first title such as horrible artificial intelligence, strict hack and slash linear gameplay, and a mediocre storyline prevent Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II from reaching a status worthy of mention for a sequel other than a follow-up title with reused assets.