In fact, it goes one better than any of the above in that the events in the game tie directly into the events in the prequel and classic film trilogies, and not in some peripheral way either. Your tale intersects with that of key characters in the saga and – in the end – the apprentice’s choices have a meaning and an impact that actually add something to the Star Wars narrative as a whole. It’s clear that while not everybody working on this project was playing their A game, the guys working on the story, the script and cinematics were. Arguably, this is a more satisfying slice of Star Wars than any one of the prequel movies, and certainly a more essential piece of the saga than this summer’s Clone Wars CGI film.
This elevates the game into a must buy for Star Wars fans; hence the 8 rating (though you’ll notice I’ve not slapped on a Recommended). I’m pretty confident that anyone who loves Star Wars will find enough to love in this game to more than make up for its many shortcomings. Obviously, for those of you who are not fans that means nothing, but I’m sure you can find something else to spend your time and money on. At the very least, I hope The Force Unleashed marks a turning point for Lucasarts in the way it treats the franchise – if it could just combine the storytelling here with a game completely worthy of it, that would really be something for Star Wars fans to go crazy about.
The AI is poor, the gameplay flawed and the level design mediocre, yet this is still a great Star Wars adventure, elevated by superb storytelling and the most impressive use of the Force in a video game to date.