I thought Darth Vader was supposed to be an evil genius. Why, then, is he growing a clone (or, perhaps, like, totally not growing a clone) of his former secret apprentice Starkiller? Wasn't his betrayal, throwing countless storm troopers off high ledges and founding the rebel alliance that would ultimately be Vader's undoing, enough in the first game? Evidently not, because the old wheeze is having another pop at training Starkiller to obey. If it were up to me I'd just get a new secret apprentice, possibly one that was dedicated to the cause, and would happily microwave a sack of lovable kittens if I commanded it.
But it's not up to me, so The Force Unleashed II starts with the newest Starkiller (not)clone going a bit crazy and breaking out of his prison. See, Vader! I told you it was a bad idea! But it does lead to a very exciting sequence where you free-fall down a rather large building, crashing through debris and slicing opponents into chunks while forked blasts of lightning crackle around you. This is definitely the life of a Jedi, which is now the key focus of the game.
The Force Unleashed spent far too long dallying around and denying you those incredible Force powers, but this time around LucasArts is trying to juggle the right balance between rigid adherence to series authenticity against things that make for good opportunities to test out the excellent physics engine. The first level, for instance, peppers the landscape with oversized pinball bumpers begging to ping Stormtroopers off precarious ledges. I'm not sure that's canon, but I like it.
Starkiller does cool things. He scrunches up TIE fighters like they're bits of paper, flings them into towers and makes a bridge with the fallen wreckage. He dodges sprays of carbonite from aggressive oversized droids before ripping their shields off with his mind. He effortlessly runs into the camera as the corridor he's running down is destroyed. He has all kinds of powers and he's not afraid to use them.
He earns them a lot faster, too. Repulse, Saber Throw and Mind Trick are all unlocked relatively early on, and a rejigged targeting system for Push makes telekinetic shenanigans a lot easier to pull off. Having dual lightsabers allows for some fancy combo mechanics, too – combine the lightsabers with the force powers and the combat experience is smoother, faster and vastly superior to the original.
But you'll also need to mix up your attacks, as the development team were a bit upset with how everyone just spammed the same attacks over and over in the first one. Enemies now come equipped with some very specific strengths and weaknesses, requiring you to flick between your whole range of force powers to take them down effectively. My current favourites are the jetpack Stormtroopers, who fly off in humorous random directions when you blast them with a bit of lightning.