Much has been made of the technologies that make this possible, and in practice they provide 75 per cent of a convincing world. Digital Molecular Matter ensures that no two objects bend, break or shatter in the same way. Hurl rocks through trees or a container through a space station window and the materials react with an incredible realism.
The Euphoria behavioural simulation engine makes it so that the population move in a believable way, wriggling in your force grip or grabbing onto a poor comrade as you levitate the hapless duo high into the air. You’ll even see stormtroopers tripping over the scenery from time to time (maybe it’s a defect in the helmets – this would also explain their notoriously woeful marksmanship).
Finally, the Havok physics engine does here what it has in other games before: everything moves with an authentic sense of mass and velocity, making tossing your toys around a real pleasure.
When this all comes together it’s superb. Your powers aren’t at full potential at first, but by completing objectives and collecting special power-ups you can level up and enhance your powers, adding new combat combos that mix lightsabre attacks and force powers, improving the range and effect of your force push or force grip abilities, or giving you more force energy or health to work with.
The more you harness the dark side, the more fun you’ll have, hurling stormtroopers off precipices, laying waste to whole alien populations and laying the smackdown on scout walkers, tie fighters, several varieties of heavy stormtrooper and just about anything and everything that gets in the way.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of times when it all doesn’t come together, and this is what will absolutely spoil the game for some people. The first problem comes down to what I mentioned earlier: that the technology only provides 75 per cent of a convincing game world. The missing 25 per cent is the AI. Goodness knows what has happened to the Imperial forces since the clone wars, but these guys are blundering dolts, incapable of working together or even, in some cases, turning in your direction until attacked.
Rebels and scavengers are no better, and any sense of humanity (or Jawality) imbued by the Euphoria engine is comprehensively scuppered by this failing. If you want gritty battles against believable opponents The Force Unleashed just doesn’t deliver. Instead, it plays a numbers game, ramping up the quantity and toughness of your opponents in order to build a bigger challenge.