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Preview: The Force Unleashed II

Neil Davey
Activision, Force Unleashed, Games previews, George Lucas, Jedi, Star Wars, Starkiller

Preview: The Force Unleashed II

According to the chaps at Activision - and they should know - Star Wars: The Force Unleashed shipped a remarkable seven million units worldwide. That, my friend, is a whole lot of Jedi action.

It won't come as a surprise, therefore, to discover a sequel, cunningly titled Star Was: The Force Unleashed II will be out later this year. While the good folk at E3 have been allowed to play it while getting a neck massage from Princess Leia-lookalikes or something, those of us not in LA still got a sneaky peek in a studio in West London. And it's looking good.

According to one of the creators, it's another opportunity for "kicking ass with the force" although - spoiler alert for those who haven't played / finished the first one - he also cheerfully acknowledged that, with Starkiller having been killed off, a sequel was something of a challenge.

Preview: The Force Unleashed II

But hey, that's never stopped them before and besides, the answer appears to lie in one of George Lucas' own titles. You guessed it, it's clone time...

Promising a darker story than before - "like our own Empire Strikes Back" - the game opens with the resistance reduced to a few small outposts and the Empire in full flow. Starkiller is discovered in chains but he's a clone of our original hero and tortured by his memories. He goes insane, and thus cometh the first level: steal Vader's ship and get away - and try to reunite with your love interest, Juno.

Preview: The Force Unleashed II

After that, it's business as usual - but with some variation on the first game. This time round, you can look forward to some serious end-of-level bosses, not just bad guys the same size as you (see trailer for details), and the question of Starkiller's sanity looks to be exploited as well.

A level called The Cave of Evil, for example, has Starkiller suffering visions that, hang on, maybe he's not a clone because you can't clone a Jedi. To maintain the twisted theme, that then becomes a delightfully spooky "haunted house" level where you're battling bounty hunters on a ship full of dark corridors and corners. It looks damned good.

Preview: The Force Unleashed II

There are lots of new moves and combos and smart touches too. This time around, you can combine light saber and force moves, and force moves with force moves, as well as using the environment. If there's something nearby you can pick it up and throw it. Glass shatters as glass should. Metal fractures. From this brief sneak preview, the funniest new trick appears to be the "Mind Trick" - a technique that makes enemy troopers jump off high ledges of their own accord. You've also got "Force Fury", a one shot kill option (and a Fury Meter that's pretty self explanatory).

Preview: The Force Unleashed II

Other than that, there's not a lot I can tell you. Happily they've reduced the number of enemies you'll face so, instead of the 100 or so in the first game, you've got around 25. That sounds like a step backwards until you consider they've thus had more time to work on those 25 so, instead of them being random cannon fodder doing mindless things that makes them easy to kill, this time round they'll have AI, their own abilities and techniques, thus upping the challenge.

There will, we're assured, be more tricks and revelations to come before the game hits in October. As soon as we hear, well, you know the drill, chaps...

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