Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    I guess the title of this comment pretty much says it all. From what I can see there are two possible outcomes when played on the Wii console, only one of which could be considered as coming close to fitting in with the already somewhat shaky continuity of the new Star Wars universe. If you haven't played the game to the end stop reading because I'm about to tell you why the two outcomes don't really work other than as Expanded Universe material.

    The better ending, where you resist the dark side, turn against Vader's teachings and fight the Emperor to save the fledgling rebellion had me absolutely enthralled the first time through. I was also wowed by the fact that we had just been told that the birth of the Rebellion was actually pushed into being with the help of a plot by Vader and his secret apprentice to "out" the would-be rebels. (And the use of the name Starkiller was also a nice nod to old, concept-Star Wars material that didn't quite make it into the film...the name was at one time even the last name of Luke!) But then after playing it through a second time I realized that something didn't quite fit. The fact that Vader finds out that Bail Organa, Leia and Mon Mothma are all rebels prior to the events of Star Wars A New Hope in which Leia and her family reveal their allegiance by stealing the plans for the Death Star doesn't work well in terms of continuity and theme. The dialog in the original 1977 film would suggest that Vader would still have a lot of trouble proving to the Senate that Leia was a rebel without the stolen plans. But in the Force Unleashed the Emperor commands Vader to go out and hunt the now exposed rebels mercilessly. If the game had made some excuse as to why the Emperor and Vader would have to contain their anger and try to expose the rebels some other way, say perhaps that they are embarrassed and thought that a loss of power through fear would be the outcome if they had to admit they were defeated by a young apprentice and the escaped rebels, then it would almost work. Or perhaps the game should not have allowed Vader to see who the rebels were and instead the apprentice protects them and confronts Vader before he finds out their identities...but having brought together the Rebellion nonetheless. Regardless, as an "alternate universe" idea it is very interesting. Also, to complicate things, Lucas has always said that the Star Wars radio dramas are considered canon and in those it is made quite clear that though the Organas are suspect they are still far from being exposed as rebel sympathizers.

    The second possible outcome is most definitely NOT canon. If you choose to obey the Emperor and attack Vader to finish him off you end up wounded and reconstructed as a new, ninja-like Vader and the rebels you assume have all been slaughtered with perhaps no hope that Luke is ever contacted on Tatooine. I don't think that game designers were in any way the trying to make this alternate ending fit in with the films, it was just another way to end the game.

    The game play on the Wii is great! Not having to "thumb" your light-saber moves on a more traditional game pad, and even pull off some Force moves like "push" by actually pushing with your own arm, is fantastic, even if the graphics are less spectacular and the game engine less "next generation" than the X-Box or PS versions.