Do interspatial deities demand facebook updates from their acolytes? Only you can judge…
If you follow my friend’s site, Fan Boy’s Closet, you may already know my opinion on Force Unleashed II in a broad sense. It radiates terrible, as if the developers found some sort of alien gemstone that just exudes awfulness, and then stuck said stone right into one of the computers involved in making the game. (As an aside, if you’re into action figures in any way, shape, or form, you should hit up that link. The man loves toys, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better site about them) This was done in hopes that as each person played the game, they would be overwhelmed by an unbreakable sense of disgust and left in a catatonic state. The developers could then break into your house and steal your energy or jewels or whatever.
If that thought sounded to you like something out of an old episode of the Transformers, then you get a prize for reading my mind. My biggest problem with the game, one that drove me crazy from the very start, was the 80′s cartoon-style story that was going on. Why is Starkiller alive after he clearly died in the first one? He’s a clone. That’s all they had. Other than saying that the first game was all a dream, they couldn’t have possibly come up with a lamer cartoon story to it. Then again, this story was essentially starting off with the old ‘Send in a clone of the good guy so that everyone thinks he’s bad because they see him do bad things and can’t figure out something is wrong even though they should all know better’ chestnut. The kind of story that tells you that the writers didn’t want to do any work that week. That was our launching point, and then the game goes into high gear, trying its best to be as uninteresting as possible.
Don’t get me wrong, the cloning could have been interesting. As was stated multiple times but never actually dealt with, no one can clone Jedi. It turns out poorly, what with the insanity thing and all. This plot arc is never dealt with in any meaningful way. Sure, you see more clones of Starkiller, so they are presumably trying to perfect the process, but you are never told whether Starkiller is a clone himself. Most of the people he meets, including other Jedi, don’t seem to think so (And I would think that would be something a Jedi could sense. I’m thinking big tremors through the force here when a Jedi who can throw a Star Destroyer just pops on the radar). So, does that mean he survived, and Vader has just been keeping his body? Is he lying to him to break his free will? These both have to be the answer, since Vader having the ability to clone Jedi would write the original trilogy off altogether, but the game makes no real steps to delve into that. You just go from level to level with no cohesive narrative to hold it together beyond Starkiller wanting to see his girlfriend.
And that’s all he wants. He’s never conflicted, no matter how many people are dying around him while he goes off on his selfish search. He’s just a useless brute, and the only way you could make his character interesting might be to take that thing he wants away and see what he does, but no one even had the courage to do that. His selfish attitude pays off in the end, and he gets what he wants despite a few hundred people dying. Hooray for him. He’s on par with Kratos for being a hateful character, except there isn’t even an attempt at depth or a good game put into this. It’s a mess, and that’s just the plot.
There is an appeal to making a straightforward story, the kind I used to enjoy as a child. I like the nostalgia and simplicity of a good versus evil story, but when the only thing telling me I’m on the good side is the fact that I control the character, your story needs work. I might have even been happier with the game if it had just listed level numbers at the start of each section, and then didn’t even try to tell a story. I would at least have a little less to complain about.