On September 17, at 4 AM I got this text: "It just took me a friggin hour to bring down the star destroyer, but oh man was it ever sweet." Indeed. That would be my buddy Jake, and I too would know the joy that is mind-crashing a star destroyer to the ground, but not until many days later. Unlike my friends that can complete the new Force Unleashed video game in 2 days, it's taken me almost 2 weeks. But more important than the completion of this fete is the fact that for the first time in years - Clone Wars aside - we've had new Star Wars to talk about, scream about and get in big fights over. Here is my journey (and the arguments and questions that accompanied it). Spoilers ahead.First Attempt: Being Darth Vader is fantastic awesome amazing. You start on the planet Kashyyyk (AKA Wookie World) and just get to blow everything up looking for this Jedi. Good fun all around. You get all of the best powers right away. Truly, this was a great decision to make a game focusing on the Force and not a super-wookie of Han Solo-like hero. Hmmm. You can't run, which makes sense because Vader would never run. Told my friend that I didn't like Vader's Cape in the game, to which he replied that, without it, he would look stupid, and that I'm stupid for even suggesting such a thing. Pause for argument. Once settled that, yes, Vader should always have some sort of dramatic cape, we're back to playing. I've lost count of how many people I've executed because dangling squirmy beings over in the air is too much fun. Hey look! That kid is really strong, let's make him our pet. So far so good. I'm liking the cutie Secret Apprentice and being able to use the powers. I can't throw objects for crap at the moment, but I'm getting better. I'm warned that it will only get much much harder. (I later seek a second opinion on the whole cape argument, only to be told that I'm wrong again: "Meredith, keep in mind Vader also has some vest or tunic underneath, so try to picture the baddest dude in the galaxy with a World War 2 helmet and a long vest. I think the cape is necessary." I promise I won't bring it up again.)
Second Attempt: Clearly, George Lucas hates orange people, so no surprise that Shaak Ti dies in this video game (she had already died twice before in deleted scenes from LEGO Star Wars and in deleted scenes from Revenge Of The Sith). When she commits suicide on planet Felucia, it was met with ho-hums from most, but what actually really pissed me off was that her exit into the sarlacc pit was terribly meh. We've all seen the stabby lightsaber through the heart/throat deleted scene and heard of the possible decapitation head tentacles flying. But in Force Unleashed she just jumps to her death. How can you kill someone for the third time and have it be so boring? I thought she should have been lit on fire, but other friends suggested either an actual recreation of the mythical never-before-seen decapitation or that Starkiller throw her into the pit by her head horns (classy). Moving on, Oooh snap. Vader stabbed his loved one in the chest. It was one of those surprise moments that I didn't actually see coming, I thought surely the Emperor would have killed him. WTF? He got sucked into space and he didn't die immediately. Star Wars science is bullshit! I'm not the only one who is perturbed by this. Now that we're getting a closer look at actual humans from past wars I can easily say that CG Princess Leia looks great, but who is doing her voice? It's cancelling out all the hard work that the designers did getting her "just so." That said, this whole revisit to Kashyyyk is worth it just to check out Ozzik Sturn's trophy room with all the stuffed heads from the prequel monsters and even a few aliens that were clearly intelligent beings - It's creepy and awesome. It's hard when you're used to watching the movies and not the Star Wars games, because everytime there's a video cut I get excited, but tire of the continual "Thank you but you need to do this one thing in order for me to help you." Obviously, tasks are important in a game, but I have a hard time caring about saving the Wookies just 'cause. But then again it is cool to see them celebrate. ...I'm growing tired of Maris Brood and her repetitive jive talking. She sucks and I'm insulted that I've died so many times because of this little imp. Especially since everyone I know killed her in one shot. Thank God for the inferior AI moments in this game where people like the Shadow Guard and Purge Stormtroopers get stuck. These moments have given me the ability slowly learn how to use my powers and whatnot. Are there any other planets in this game besides Felucia and Kashyyyk? I wish we could explore a few more places, but at least each one is different everytime we visit it. Final question that I bother my friends with before quitting on this go-round: If the Purge Stormtroopers have armor that can resist the force what do you think it's made of? I say anti-midi-chlorians. Other responses: the animals from Timothy Zahn's ysalimiri (10 points for that answer), and two votes for adamantium. Third Attempt: I'm having a hell of a time beating Proxy, and at this point I'm debating just handing the controller over just so I can watch the end. I'm being teased by friends who finished this in one long sitting, but at least I didn't resort to running around and screaming while holding the controller unlike certain others. I happen to think that the transformation into Darth Maul was totally unexpected and neat, but apparently I'm alone in this opinion. After the initial shock is warn off I'm told that this is merely a gratuitous reference to the past films. "Yeah but it's Darth Maul, they had to throw him in there somewhere." Fourth Attempt:
Onto the hard part. HOLY CRAP, the Death Star looks sweet... Ooooh my god, this level is insane. I try to make it past the entrance and fail over and over. I blame Juno. Did anyone else think that the love story in Force Unleashed was rushed, still I'm glad it was included. I'm sure she'll play a larger role than we know at the moment. The kiss was adorable if not overly dramatic with yet ANOTHER backwards jump into an abyss. I'm going to have to side with friends when they collectively hoped that the Apprentice was so powerful with the Force that he impregnated her with just that kiss and she now has a secret baby. I definitely think that a Jedi could get a woman pregnant with a kiss, and my friends agree. Especially Starkiller (oh yeah we got the shout out to Luke's possible name thanks). Retire from sheer jealousy. Fifth Attempt: Leaving and coming back did not make the last level any less difficult, as I'd hoped. I'd been warned about this and now realize that I may be up all night just trying to survive the first few minutes. I think my friend Jake explained it best: "I honestly for the first part of the final level just put the controller down and went and made myself some raspberry iced tea while the secret apprentice got fucking murdered."
Many, many, many, many, many hours later (and also some asking for help in the way of "You play this part"), I got to see the happy ending. Even though I hate Juno because she's got a killer body, a sexy accent and gets to kiss the Apprentice, I was rooting for them. So yes it was sad to see her all alone, but I'm assuming the aforementioned kiss left her with super child. More importantly, I shared the joy in the creation of the Rebellion and realized how funny it is that the people I know with Rebellion tattoos will now forever be linked in my head to a video game. No, I didn't shriek when they uncovered the crest of Marek for the new symbol of the rebellion, but it was still cool to find out where it came from. Strange, that the Emperor and Darth Vader practically created the group that would later bring them all down; you'd think they'd be smarter than that. (I was then told that if I played the level again I would be able to see the Dark Side ending. Screw that, it took me forever to get to this spot, I just went and watched it on youtube. Let me tell you, Edward Scissorhand Apprentice is disturbing. That's him on the left - scary, no? It's sad because everyone dies. While the "what if" scenario is cool, it doesn't really jive or sit well with everything else. Sometimes it's okay to just let someone be dead. But I think that if I saw scissorhand coming at me I'd probably crap my pants.) So what did I think of the game? Excellent, fun, and well worth my time. SA is a great character and never really gets too mean to not fall in love with. Granted, it got frustrating - I think that the 7th time I was killed by Proxy I yelled and woke up the neighbor's baby - but these are the prices that we have to pay for the good ending (Not the scary Dark one). Will I play it again? Maybe? Probably? I still need to prove myself since I had so much help through almost all of the game, after all. But probably the best thing about Force Unleashed was that for a video game the main character held my love and attention 10,000 times better than this guy: