io9 got a sneak peek Star Wars: The Force Unleashed yesterday. The untold chapter between Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope follows a new Sith apprentice who dodges rebels and Stormtroopers alike. Get a sampling of the story line, meet some new characters (and find out who's coming back), and read about the overall feel of the game below.
The Force Unleashed takes place right where Episode III left off. Darth Vader goes to the planet Kashyyk on a personal mission to find a hidden Jedi. The battle on Kashyyk is all around him (blasters coming at all angles), but that is not why he is there. Interestingly enough you cannot make Vader run — because well, Vader doesn't run.
As Vader, you get to use a lot of power from the force. I don't think it needs to be said because of the title but there aren't other weapons in this besides the force and your lightsaber. But who needs a blaster when you can just pull the roof down on your enemies? Vader rips apart a ton of warrior Wookies, trees, and doors and uncovers the Jedi's secret hideout. In mid-strangle Vader demands the Jedi to tell him where the strong presence he feels is coming from. Out of nowhere a little boy appears, grabs Vader's lightsaber and the Dark Lord realizes that this kid is quite powerful.
Fast forward over many years of torture by Daddy V (according to news reports) and the little boy has grown up and is Vader's secret apprentice. Secret because if the Emperor found out, Vader would be in a world of lightning pain from his master. What's the plan? Send the secret apprentice out to kill all the Jedi, and then team up to kill the Emperor. Oh yeah, and there can't be any witnesses to any of the events that take place, because remember you're a "secret" apprentice. Which means you get to kill everyone (good guys and bad guys). And players gain force points for the finesse in which they chose to use their force powers for slaying, so get creative. You will be able to use the force to push and pull, the force grip (choking!), the force repulse and lightning (which can later be used to electrify objects and hurl them as they explode).
As many of us know there will be a few new faces in The Force Unleashed.
Jedi Shaak Ti's Padawan, Maris Brood, is one of them. Brood wields lightsaber tonfas, is in hiding on the planet Felucia and is scary as hell upon first look.
Master Rahm Kota is the Obi-Wan figure. I expect lot of incredibly general predictions to come from him about the young apprentice's future as he seems to be tied to him in some spiritual Jedi way.
I didn't get to see Juno Eclipse in action. You heard her voice throughout each level guiding the apprentice along the way, and eventually getting much more personal and asking if he is injured in one scene, which must have been the first signs of their love interest. Planet Felucia is another welcomed visual treat during the game. Especially since you get to fight Felucian warriors and their pet Rancors.
And finally there's PROXY. Who looks like C-3PO without his clothes and bit more slender. PROXY is the plucky sidekick to the apprentice and can take the form into any personality profile that is loaded into it's memory. He takes the form of Lord Vader often when dolling out responsibilities to the apprentice.
Returning vets are Vader, the Emperor, Shaak Ti and Bail Organa, making a quickie appearance voiced by Jimmy Smits himself. Vader was brought to life by Matt Sloan who did the voice of Chad Vader (the Vader that manages a grocery store in all the online video shorts.)
There will be alternate endings and you can expect a lot of twists and turns. Many of the characters warned the young Apprentice over and over that you can't trust a Sith. Hope he watches his back.
The classic John Williams score is still intact, with an additional hour of new music from Mark Griskey. The music complements nicely the amazing graphics and new touches. It's quite gratifying, when embodying the whole "evil" side to the story, to watch the new surrounding characters' will to live. For example if you grab a stormtrooper or another character with the force they will struggle and try to grab people or things around them, or if you impale a character with a lightsaber they will try to take it out. With all the attention to detail combined with the twisty story it should make for one excellent movie, I mean video game. Alas there are no online capabilities but there will be multiplayer available on PSP and DS (up to 4 players) and the Wii version will allow you to duel your opponents. Sounds like a good time for the dark side.