The rerelease of the Wii version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.
Title: STAR WARS™: The Force Unleashed™
Release Date: April 20, 2022
Suggested Audience Age: T for Teen
Time to Play: 8 hours
Recommended for fans of: STAR WARS pew pew pew pew!
Geek to Geek Media was provided with a review copy of this title.
I absolutely adored the Nintendo Wii. It was a completely fresh approach to console video games that made for some of the most unique experiences you could find. However, I also knew that it was massively underpowered compared to my Xbox 360. Since it seemed like Nintendo was the only publisher who really understand how to make use of the Wii’s unique features, I opted for graphics over waggle controls for any multiplatform release.
That included Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
I loved the 360 version of that game but never got around to the Wii release. That’s a bit of a shame because it turns out that the Wii version was almost an entirely different game that I never played!
Until now, that is. The brand new Switch release of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a slightly shined-up version of the Wii game. It offers a fresh experience for fans who played the 360 or PS3 version before, including optional waggle controls, but it definitely shows its age.
There is Another…
Let’s get some basics out of the way. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a third-person action game that puts you in the role of Starkiller, a secret apprentice to Darth Vader. Set between the Original and Prequel trilogies, the story follows Starkiller on missions to hunt down hidden Jedi. Ultimately, Vader hopes that Starkiller will become strong enough to help him overthrow the Emperor, so that they can rule the galaxy as father and son.
The story was an absolute highlight of the experience when I first played the 360 version of the game, and that’s mostly intact in this release. The story beats are all there but without any of the movie-like polish that I remember from when I was a kid. The character models are all big and blocky and unemotive. The environments are bland. There’s no atmosphere to help sell the gravity of any particular scene.
There’s Always a Bigger Fish
The problem with this release of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is that it’s just a rerelease of the lesser version of the game. Sure, it runs smoothly on Switch and the textures probably have more bits and bytes in them, but it’s still a worse version of the game than I grew up with.
I pulled up some video of the 360 version when I was about halfway through the game on Switch, and couldn’t believe how much better that release looked. The cutscenes were amazing, the combat was more fluid, and the environments were more interesting. Every single little thing looked better than the version I had been playing, and boy is that a weird feeling. I mean, here I am with a fresh release of a game version of a game I’ve never played, and it’s mostly making me want to dig through boxes to find an Xbox 360 disk and play that instead.
Let Go of Your Hate
Don’t get me wrong, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on the Switch isn’t bad. In fact, it’s an absolute blast to play. I’ve been deep into Dark Souls lately, and switching over to playing as Starkiller, who is a completely unstoppable whirlwind of Force powers and Lightsabers swings is an amazing way to cleanse my pallet after getting walloped by a big dragon lady for the 18th time.
Any version of this game is a fun power fantasy that puts players into the role of a Force user better than just about any other out there. Even Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order isn’t as satisfying, since a big hook of that game is making the combat precise and, in a way, difficult. The Force Unleashed is a power fantasy, through and through, and being able to swing your sword and force push with the Switch’s motion control just amplifies that.
I’m digging revisiting the story of Starkiller in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on the Nintendo Switch. It’s not quite the game I remember, but it’s still a really fun game with a cool story. I’m a big fan of all of these classic Star Wars games coming to the Switch and I hope the trend continues… Maybe it could even continue long enough for them to release the 360/PS3 version of The Force Unleashed? I mean, sure it doesn’t have waggle controls, but you know… could be fun!
Geek to Geek Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Star(killer)s
You can see TroytlePower's live first impressions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on the Nintendo Switch below, as part of TroytlePower Presents: The Power Play-Throughs Podcast, with TroytlePower.