Star Wars games haven't all been belters (hello, Yoda Stories), but 2008's Force Unleashed was a success, racking up 7 million sales and introducing the generation that thought Star Wars had got stale to the joys of crushing a Start Destroyer with your bare thumbs. But it wasn’t without its faults: the hand-to-hand lightsaber combat felt like you were batting away stormtroopers with a Kwik Cricket bat, and the much-trumpeted Force grip mechanic was as intuitive as picking up a bowl of jelly with a surfboard.
So it was a sceptical FHM that scuffed our heels into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, waiting for another chance to electrocute whole armies of Empire droids. Especially considering at the end of the first game, the lead character, um, died. Cue a neat bit of sci-fi plothole surgery, and the newly cloned and impossibly named Starkiller is back, now blessed with not one but two lightsabers as well as force powers that make Darth Vader look like an asthmatic vicar. Your lightning attack, for example, is now cranked up so high you feel like a walking, talking Tesla coil and your grip power is so strong you can pluck TIE fighters out of the sky. Smug Jedi Mind Tricks let you force weaker enemies into fighting by your side, or if you’re feeling evil, have them leap off a bridge.
But things really go off the chain in ‘Force Fury’ mode. Allowing you a moment of invulnerable insanity, your lightsabers float out of your hands and into enemies’ skulls, Force lightning jets out of you like a flailing fire hose, and everyone gets very, very deaded. After ironing out the kinks in the original’s cape, we finally have a decent, playable, exciting Star Wars-based brawler. Lightsabers actually slice limbs off instead of tapping them to sleep, Force powers genuinely make you feel like a miniature Death Star, and the Force grip almost, sort of, actually works. Fans of the film franchise will love the storyline (Yoda and Boba Fett say hi) and hardcore gamers will relish the new combo system and updated force powers. It’s a triumph.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 is out on PC, PS3, X360 and Wii on October 29