Check out our review of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, now available on Nintendo Switch…
We’ll tell you everything you need to know before you play, including a look at the story, gameplay and updates specific to the Switch.
Hey how’s it going guys! This is Tom from UDS and welcome to our review of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, now available on Nintendo Switch. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know before you play, and if you’re new to the channel, make sure to subscribe for plenty more on all things Star Wars and gaming. Check the description below for links to our playlist.
Developers Aspyr have been doing an amazing job of reviving some of the classic Star Wars games of the past 20 years or so. With the likes of Republic Commando, Jedi Academy and Knights of the Old Republic now no longer considered canon, it would be easy for them to fall into obscurity, with Disney and co more focused on expanding their own canon.
But Aspyr are determined to not let this happen, re-releasing each on the Switch in shiny HD for a new generation to enjoy, with The Force Unleashed being their latest offering.
Originally released in 2008 and one of the last pieces of expanded universe content to be produced before the Disney purge, the game bridges the gap between the prequel and original trilogy.
Here’s a pretty spoilerific synopsis for you lore junkies like me, but if you’d rather go in blind to a 14-year old game, skip to the time on screen now.
Are you still with me? Ok great! You assume the role of Starkiller (born Galen Marek), currently Darth Vader’s secret apprentice after being kidnapped as a child. You undertake missions for your master (mainly taking out the few Jedi who survived Order 66), before Vader literally kills you to prove his loyalty to the Emperor.
But Vader is known to have abandonment issues. Still considering you useful, he brings you back to life in order to sow the seeds of what would become the Rebel Alliance, allegedly to destabilise the Emperor’s control so that he and Starkiller could usurp the imperial throne. However this proves to be a double (triple?) bluff, a ploy to lure potential rebels straight into the grasp of the Empire. Now more rebel than Sith, you’re left with the choice of whether to save your friends from the Emperor, or let them die and exact your revenge on Vader. With everything that leads up to this moment, it’s a genuinely difficult decision to make, and will give you definite pause for thought.
Despite no longer being canon, the plot of The Force Unleashed is brilliant, and it’s easy to see why George Lucas himself was happy to sign it off as the official origin story for the Rebel Alliance. Your betrayal at the hands of Vader demonstrates a more cerebral side to his villainy, adding substance to his character beyond what we see in the movies. What’s more, the wider cast of heroes that we’re introduced to in the game are largely fantastic too. Imperial pilot Juno Eclipse, former Jedi master Rahm Kota and your robot pal PROXY are all fully realised characters, and the fact they no longer ‘exist’ in the new canon is a real shame. Fingers crossed they can be woven back into the grand, interplanetary tapestry of Star Wars soon.
While the story of The Force Unleashed might now be ignored, its irrefutable legacy is how it gave us the best portrayal of the Force yet. Whereas other games might let you push, pull and double jump with the power of Midi-chlorians, here the Force is truly unleashed. You can throw TIE Fighters to the ground mid flight, choke an opponent into the sky then throw them against a wall and even pull a Star Destroyer out of space itself. It’s a power trip, and a damn fun one at that.
Bonus fact: Starkiller is modelled and voiced by Sam Whitwer, who would go on to voice Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Clones Wars and Rebels.
But what about the updates for the Switch? Well, much like the original Wii release, you can use the Joy Cons for motion-controlled lightsaber action. But unlike the Wii, I found the Joy Cons actually tracked my motion pretty well, and it was a lot of fun flailing my limbs around to cut up some Stormtroopers. Is it a bit gimmicky? Perhaps. Will I predominantly be playing with a traditional control set up? Most definitely. But it’s still a cool way to add to an experience I thought I’d done to death many years before.
The only other thing worth remembering is that like all of the other Star Wars games brought back by Aspyr, this is a re-release, and not a remaster or remake. Despite some HD polishing, this is a game that’s very much looking its age, which depending on your levels of nostalgia, will either be a nice throwback, or a little jarring. It really didn’t bother me, but I’d probably check it out in handheld mode first, where it’s a lot more forgiving.
Aside from that, it’s exactly the same game I remember playing as a teenager, and I absolutely love it to death. Whether you’ve played it before or missed it the first time around, there’s still no real Star Wars game that manages to give you a feel for the raw power of the Force. 2019’s Jedi: Fallen Order might’ve gotten close, but it doesn’t let you pull a Star Destroyer out of space, so it loses by default. Now all Aspyr needs to do is re-release both original Battlefront games. That’d be pretty wizard.
Are you going to pick up Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on Switch? Do you have any fond memories of playing it back in the day? Please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your thoughts. And don’t forget to subscribe for more Star Wars videos, and you can always visit upsidedownshark.com to keep up with everything we’ve got going on.
My name has been Tom, this has been UDS and may the force be with you!