Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Features for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PCWiiDSPS2PSP
Review Verdict Read Review
7Out of 10
Back to game info

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away... or, more accurately, in a cosy flat roughly nine miles from where I currently sit...

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed screenshot

I used to love Star Wars. Like many of my fellow geeks, George Lucas' films played a significant role in my childhood. I never saw the original films at the cinema - I'm not that old, after all - but I did watch the first trilogy on loop, largely via home-recorded VHS tapes that I made myself. Those chunky black bricks were my gateway to the world of Skywalker, Vader, and Solo. I may not be among the most senior generation of Star Wars fans, but I've been around for a while; I can clearly recall the days when Han shot first.

There's no point in going over the various afflictions that have blighted Star Wars over the past 12 years. If you've even vaguely followed the franchise since the release of The Phantom Menace, you'll be acquainted with the many criticisms that can be levelled at the prequel trilogy, and everything that has followed in its wake; if you're a really ardent fan, you may even know the arguments that can be raised in its defence. By now, we all know the score. And yet for me, I think it was only last week that I realised just how dead the series now is to me.

But here's the kicker: In terms of killing my love, I think that video games carry almost as much blame as the recent films. Almost, but not quite.

The occasion for my recent epiphany was the reveal of the forthcoming Star Wars-themed Xbox 360. When I first saw that clip, I came close to dribbling bile all over my desk, but with hindsight that might have been an overreaction. As Star Wars memorabilia goes, it's not so bad. I've yet to see the unit for myself but the design looks to be relatively subtle, relying on the fact that the blue-and-white colour scheme will immediately speak to fans. It's suggestive of R2D2 rather than being shaped like him, as DVD boxed set might be.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed screenshot

The sound effects, on the other hand, are an immediate annoyance. Why? Because they remind me of how Star Wars' most recognisable qualities have been abused over the past decade. The Star Wars universe is blessed with a multitude of iconic images and distinctive sounds, and as such it's a license that can be easily wrapped around pretty much anything you desire. It doesn't matter if the product in question has nothing to do with the source material; adorn it with enough evocative stimuli, and it'll summon that fix-all Star Wars nostalgia. A blue and white toilet would feel Star Wars-y if it went "bibble bibble beep boop!" every time you took a dump.

The icons have always played a key role in Star Wars video games. The 1995 FPS Dark Forces might have been just a Doom clone, but we believed in it because it had Stormtroopers and John Williams' score in it. It didn't matter that the visuals were basic and blocky, or that the music was bleepy - there were enough familiar elements to spark feelings of recognition, and our imagination did the rest. The earliest coin-op titles did an even more impressive job, recreating the X-Wing raid on the Death Star with little more than wireframe graphics.

New stuff to check out


To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

altaranga's Avatar

altaranga@ munkee

I have deleted his most recent posts.
Posted 20:00 on 30 July 2011
munkee's Avatar


I did read your blog post, Neon. I just had no worthwhile input. The youtube link was my feeble effort at getting involved in your Star Wars debate.
Posted 10:56 on 30 July 2011
munkee's Avatar


Everyone seems to have a favourite Star Wars themed youtube link, haha.. Here's mine:

Also, time to remove alimaamoser, yes?
Posted 10:54 on 30 July 2011
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ altaranga

Fixed, ta.
Posted 00:01 on 30 July 2011
Chaza_snake's Avatar

Chaza_snake@ C_Juggler

thats brilliant :)
Posted 23:55 on 29 July 2011
altaranga's Avatar

altaranga@ FantasyMeister

Originally Posted by FM
In 1997 I was 11 years old
In your dreams lazerbrain.

I have some very fond childhood memories of Star Wars. It also helped to shape my opinions of films, especially SF films, for years to come.

In order to preserve this memory I have had to ignore pretty much everything Lucas has released since. For the record I do not recognize episodes I, II & III.
Posted 22:29 on 29 July 2011
C_Juggler's Avatar


Vader if he'd been raised in London instead of Tatooine a_player
Posted 18:47 on 29 July 2011
FantasyMeister's Avatar


In 1977 I was 11 years old and the line around the cinema in Southport went around it 3 times. All health and safety and fire code issues were ignored and they packed as many of us as possible into each showing.

I considered myself lucky to sit on the stairs in the middle aisle of that packed out cinema, and no cinematic experience has matched, or ever could match, that showing of Star Wars: Episode IV.

'Cept maybe that time in the same cinema when they showed Jaws, where you could feel the whole freaking building jump when the head rolled out of the hole in the hull.

I think my point simply is, with memories like that, Star Wars can never die. Sure it can get diluted and milked and go off on various unwanted tangents and appear in different forms of media, but if you were in the right time and place you'll have some immortal memories of it, and those can't be touched.

I think I spent more 50 pence pieces trying to destroy that wire-frame Death Star than it would cost to buy the entire arcade a few times over.
Posted 18:40 on 29 July 2011
Wido's Avatar


Bioware and Pandemic Studios have been the only developers to actually nail Star Wars games for me. Bioware with KOTOR & Sith Lords, which I would love to see TOR on the console instead of the PC! Pandemic with Star Wars Battlefront as they were fantastic games to play. I really hope Battlefront III is in the pipeline somwhere!
Posted 18:02 on 29 July 2011
Karlius's Avatar


That reminds me of Taff Wars:

YouTube Video
Posted 17:06 on 29 July 2011
draytone's Avatar


YouTube Video
Posted 16:58 on 29 July 2011
mydeaddog's Avatar


This is genuinely my favourite Star Wars thing since... well, since I can remember.

YouTube Video

(If you're viewing this as a comment, rather than on the forums, you'll need to click here:
Posted 16:41 on 29 July 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 19/09/2008
Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts
Genre: Action
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 12
Site Rank: 1,965 276
View Full Site