What We Already KnowStar Wars: The Force Unleashed II brings back Darth Vader’s apprentice from the first game, who had his ability to use the Force kicked into overdrive. Enough to pull a Star Destroyer out of the sky (in one of the more frustrating sequences). Now he’s back, and the tables have turned. What We’re Seeing Now (*spoilers*) The Apprentice is either resurrected or reborn, depending on how you last played the game (See? I said there were spoilers), and Darth Vader tells his once faithful sidekick that he’s only an inferior clone, and that his continued devotion to his love interest from the first game, Juno Eclipse, is because he’s not right in the head. Vader is a fickle master, and he leaves the Apprentice behind and tells the Stormtroopers to kill him before leaving the room.
Bad idea, Vader. Don’t you know that bad guys who leave the room early never get things done right? You’re leaving behind a Force-charged guy with two lightsabers, in a room full of ineffective clones in clunky armor. Nice going. The Apprentice, who actually has a name this time around – Starkiller, quickly escapes the cell and dives down the side of a building. After Force pushing his way through several platforms, he ends up on the ground and squares off against Imperial Riot Troopers.Now these guys are a tad harder to dispatch, and it makes you wonder why all Stormtroopers aren’t outfitted like this. It might save a fortune in cloning costs. He has the same Jedi abilities from the first game, along with a few new tricks. Specifically, Jedi Mind Trick. Using this power will cause an enemy to turn into a lemming and leap off a ledge, if he’s close enough, or he’ll turn around and start blasting away at his comrades. He can also use Force Fury, which amps his Force powers exponentially to the point where he can literally vaporize enemies. He can also chop off heads and arms this time around. “We didn’t want the lightsaber to feel like a big blue baseball bat anymore,” said one of the developers. I’m all for that. Lightsabers are all about chopping things up, and this time Starkiller has two of them, which allow for some unique saber combos. There are also some very easy to trigger finishing moves, which are meant to be more of a cinematic payoff and not a challenge. We didn’t see many enemies besides the standard Stormtroopers and the Riot Troopers, but they did show us a Carbonite War Droid, which sprays out carbonate that slows you down and can eventually freeze you. Droids aren’t that smart, however, and they’ll also end up putting the icing on plenty of Stormtroopers as well. The Jump Troopers with their jetpacks are back as well, and they create some fun smoke trails when you zap them with Force Lightning and screw up their electronics. Near the end of the level, Starkiller does battle with a ginormous droid, and narrowly escapes in a ship as Vader comes striding down towards him. Vader does his famous stare at the ship as it flies away, turns to walk off, does one last look back, and then walks off. It’s meant to be an homage to a similar scene in The Empire Strikes Back, which the developers cite as a direct influence. “This is definitely meant to be our Empire. It’s a lot darker and grittier. Starkiller is a fugitive this time around, and while he’s searching for Juno Eclipse, Vader is also searching for him. The story is very engaging (actor Sam Witwer returns as Starkiller), and it’ll be interesting to see what they do with the Clone/Not A Clone storyline. But what we really want to know is: have they fixed the gameplay problems that plagued the first title? Targeting and Force powers quickly because a frustrating problem last time, and hopefully they read all of the criticisms that said “Great story! Wonky gameplay!” We had to sit through the demo while one of the developers drove, so we can’t tell you first-hand. Stay tuned as we march towards the October 26, 2010 launch date, and we’ll bring you more news.