The Force returns like never before...

I'm a huge fan of Star Wars, any one who knows me knows that. Which is why I found Star Wars The Force Unleashed to be good, but not great. Now let me tell you why...

To start with the story attempts to fill in a small space between Episode 3 (Revenge of the Sith) and Episode 4 (A New Hope) which is a period of 18 years - so this covers approximately a year at a guess not long before the fateful meeting of Luke Skywalker and some droids that were for sale. Although for a FPS the story isn't too bad, it doesn't really fit well with the Star Wars Universe. Every confrontation is just another mission, there's no real flow to it until it gets to the second act when you begin to redeem yourself as you make friends with those who will begin the Rebel Alliance. The better of the game's two endings is for the light-side; it's not the best ending for a computer game but it is better than a lot of Star Wars game endings and it ties nicely with what we know is to come in Episode 4. It explains why things are the way they are. The dark-side ending however isn't so good - it throws caution to the wind, and the Star Wars canon for that matter; it makes Episodes 4-6 impossible by allowing Darth Vader to be "out the way".

The gameplay is okay though, the range and effects of the Force powers is great and unlike anything we've seen before - mostly because they now have some degree of physics applied to them so that they affect the environment as you would expect. There's also a few "epic" moments such as bringing down an Imperial star destroyer using nothing more than "Force pull" (not really a spoiler as it's in the trailer for the game). Unlike the Jedi Knight series of games, this one only gives you one weapon to chose - your lightsaber; but it is customisable to some degree as you can change the crystals that your lightsaber uses. The game also uses an experience system to allow you to pick your force powers as you progress and also to reallocate the experience points as you need to so that you're best equipped for the situation.

The soundtrack has some new recordings, and also borrows from the original trilogy's recordings by John Williams. One of the best moments is hearing the Imperial March music whilst casually using the force to throw enemies to one side - it's what makes an average game into a great Star Wars game with a good Star Wars atmosphere to it.

To wrap up, I must say that if you enjoy Star Wars and want to know a little more about how the Rebel Alliance started and what happened during those 18 years between Episodes 3 and 4 then this is the ideal game for you. It is true that in some ways it is not as good as Jedi Outcast or the Knights of the Old Republic, it is the best Star Wars game to come out since then, and is the first one out for the "next-gen" consoles.

Oh who am I kidding? It's a great, fun game - go play it now!!.