A forceful attempt

Welcome back to the galaxy where anything is possible — as long as you have a significant amount of midi-chlorians in your bloodstream.

In Star Wars: The ForceUnleashed, George Lucas continues his Star Wars epic with a great story, in-depth characters and no bad acting. It bridges the gap between  episodes III (Revenge of the Sith) and IV (A New Hope) of the series and follows Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, codenamed Starkiller, as he explores the frightening power of the force.

Forget merely tossing enemies aside — Starkiller has the ability to hurl imperial soldiers in the air and impale victims with his lightsaber from 50 feet away. From the beginning of the game, players can electrocute troopers, slice droids in half and blow doors clear out of the way, all with a simple push of a button or flick of the Wiimote.

Another interesting aspect of this game is taking on the role of the “bad guy.” It’s hard to think of Starkiller as evil when his enemies fire at him first. Sure, he wipes out people by the hundreds, but it’s easy to develop an attachment to this young apprentice. He says little, but when he does it’s usually said with some subtle humor, especially during life and death circumstances.

Starkiller is a loyal friend and obedient padawan, and remains calm under tense situations, like when he is greatly outnumbered.

As the story follows his meetings with other Jedi, it’s hard to see them as “good guys.” There are even moments of sympathy when it’s clear that Anakin Skywalker has become completely heartless in his role as Darth Vader and seems to have no concern for the life — or possible death — of his apprentice.

The best part of playing this on the Wii is finally fulfilling that childhood dream of having a lightsaber. Every time the Wiimote is swung, Starkiller swings the lightsaber, accompanied by the familiar swooshing sound. This leads to plenty of fun waving the controller wildly in front of the TV and watching enemies drop at the slice of the glowing blade.

Unfortunately, in contrast to the bright, lightsaber-brandishing fun side of this game, there is also the dark side — and it’s not Darth Vader. The gameplay is choppy and the camera angles are frustrating. There are also some inexcusable glitches, such as not being able to walk through some open doors.

Additionally, the levels are short and over too quickly, not giving the player enough time to fully enjoy the interactive areas. These disappointments are magnified when compared to the entertaining dialogue and storyline, where it’s apparent that more time was spent.

Ignoring the pre-game hype and the bad reviews, however, this game is just plain fun on the Wii. There are plenty of unlockables, familiar landscapes and enough challenges to give the arm muscles some good exercise swinging the controller around.

Duel mode, a Wii exclusive, also opens the door to great multiplayer gaming, with favorite characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Count Dooku.

Platform: Wii
Graphics: C-
Story: A
Gameplay: B-
Overall score: B-