CES: First details of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
By Ben Kuchera | Published: January 10, 2008 - 09:41AM CT
"So should we show him Grim Fandango 2?" That's the question I'm asked as I walk into Lucasart's suite at CES, and everyone laughs. I don't laugh, because that joke IS NOT FUNNY; it's like they showed me a kitten and then killed it. But we are going to see Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and in terms of impressive use of Force effects, this is above and beyond anything we've seen in previous games.
"Every time you hit that face button, we want you to feel that power," I'm told as I watch one of the Lucasarts employees show off Force Unleashed. I'm not allowed to do a full preview, but I can say that the game is fast and mean; the force powers do some crazy things, and the play is impacted by the physics in amazing ways.
You try to pick up a StormTrooper and he grabs onto a crate while screaming. You yank up on him with the Force again, and both the 'Trooper and the crate fly into the air. The force powers and the physics get even crazier; if you force push a metal door, it twists and deforms realistically. Some of the other things that stood out:
* The main character, the secret apprentice of Darth Vader, is played by Sam Witwer, BattleStar Galactica's Crashdown
* He holds his lightsaber behind his back in a way that looks very unorthodox but pleasingly menacing, and also allows players to see the entire lightsaber since the camera is always behind the player.
* Boss bottles will be huge in scope, including a Rancor fight. There will be God of War-like button-tapping sections at the end of the battle, but it will only be for more points; you won't lose a battle by missing a button press
* There will be character and lightsaber customization, although you won't be able to dual-wield or have dual-bladed lightsabers
* The Wii version of the game will include a two-player duel mode where you can show off your lightsaber skills against a friend in the same room.
* The PSP version will contain classic scenes from other Star Wars movies with the more over-the-top force powers of Unleashed
I was very impressed by the game; it looked great and the Force powers really brought home the idea of this evil, dominating character. The game is currently in alpha and planned for a summer release.