Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Ultimate Sith Edition (PC)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Friday, December 4, 2009

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 9.00
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 7.50
Gamelength: 7.50

“Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Ultimate Sith Edition” was awesome on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but the PC port doesn’t fare so well.

After plenty of hype and several long delays, LucasArts eventually released this game for just about every gaming console on the market. Now, over a year later, the PC version has finally hit store shelves, along with the re-release console version. With such a long delay, PC gamers have likely stopped caring about this wonderful game. Despite that, the game is finally here and I highly suggest that you read on for more details about “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Ultimate Sith Edition” for the PC.

Much to my disappointment, the PC port features absolutely no graphical changes. In fact, the framerate is capped at 30 and there’s not even a single configuration option to alter the visual quality aside from the resolution. Because of this, players are required to run the game at maximum settings and therefor must own a very powerful PC to run the game in a playable state.

Any gamer without an extremely high-end system, you’re out of luck this time. But for those of you who own beastly computers, congratulations! You can finally pick up one of 2008’s best action titles and experience it from all angles, including the exclusive “Hoth” level.

Now don’t get me wrong, as amazing as this game is at it’s core, this is a terrible port for two primary reasons.

First of all, no single player PC game should have a permanent framerate cap of 30, nor should there be enforced high-end visual settings. That’s just crazy! It really limits the potential gaming audience to a select few gamers, which is a very bold move.

Second, the only way the game can be played comfortably at all is with a gaming controller of some sort. Not only does the user interface require a keyboard or a controller, the mouse and keyboard setup for combat is clunky at best, with plenty of limitations on player of freedom that just don’t exist when using a controller. This is, after all, a fast-paced action game with a lot of intense combat scenes. Just try to imagine playing something like “Ninja Gaiden” or “Devil May Cry” with a keyboard, then you’ll have a fair idea of what this game is like without a controller.

So, with those things in mind, f you’re one of the few PC gamers out there who owns a very nice gaming rig, a high-end PC gaming controller and you have interest in this game, you’re in for a real treat.

All of the problematic “features” aside, this is a great game with plenty of replay value for those who choose to delve into every ounce of provided content.

After playing through the very fun opening level as Darth Vader himself, players are put into the shoes of “Starkiller”. As Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, it’s his task to carry out his master’s bidding, even if it means sacrificing his own life to do so. And let me tell you, this dark story is one heck of a ride.

Given the premise, combat is the primary focus of the game, with a small handful of minor extra objectives thrown in for good measure. It’s all very fluid, although just a slight bit slower than what I would have expected.

Aside from very deep lightsaber combat with tons of different combos and special attacks, there are several key force powers at Starkiller’s fingertips, all easily accessed when using a controller to play the game. Everything from the fan favorite “Force Lightning” attack to “Throw Lightsaber” and even “Force Push” is included, but they must be unlocked by simply progressing farther into the game.

An “RPG Lite” design has been implemented to give players a bit of control over how the game plays. There are three full categories, including everything from attributes and lightsaber combos to more powerful versions of each force power. Leveling them up is as simple as collecting enough of the appropriate points and clicking on the chosen boost. To gain points, players are meant to kill tons of enemies in order to gain experience points, which eventually leads to a classic “level up” boost. However, there’s one other way to collect points.

“Holocrons” are spread out all over the place and are meant as both simple experience point bonuses, free skill points and even things like new lightsaber color crystals. Reaching each of the Holocrons can be as simple as walking up a ramp or as complex as abusing telekinesis physics to build a tower of destroyed ships in order to reach a higher place.

While those Holocrons may be difficult to obtain, the rest of the level design is nowhere near as ridiculous. There are a handful of potentially challenging scenes, but most of the game is fast-paced action with a fairly straightforward path. That’s not a bad thing, though, given that each level is anywhere from 40-60 minutes long on average during the first playthrough, even without any sort of Holocron hunting.

Every level has it’s own unique setting, with favorites such as “Hoth” and “Tattoine” included, thanks to the addition of new levels. Players will head through snow-covered landscapes, huge caverns and even the Death Star. And the best part is, none of the levels feel too drawn out or boring.

If none of that is satisfying enough, the game includes several full difficulty settings. And if a decent challenge is up your alley, upon completing the “Sith Master” difficulty, the fourth and final setting is unlocked, properly titled “Sith Lord.”

Between the slew of collectible Holocrons, multiple difficulty settings, fast-paced combat and light RPG elements, this is a definite buy for those with the hardware. It’s a shame that most people don’t have proper gaming rigs. Perhaps there will be a patch. Guys, if you’re listening, patch some visual configuration options into the game!

Overall Rating: 7.50

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