Star Wars The Force Unleashed II Review

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It definitely didn’t take too long to get to the big sequel to the original Force Unleashed. I enjoyed the first game quite a bit so I was excited to see what the sequel brings to the table. Ideally a sequel should always be just as good or better in every way. This sequel managed to pull that off in all areas aside from the plot. Is it enough to get that extra star and nab a 9 or will it continue to elude the game? Time to find out!

The game starts with Starkiller waking up in one of Darth Vader’s training rooms. The Sith explains that this Starkiller is the only clone to have been a success and that the original Starkiller is dead. This clone has all of his powers and memories and Vader will make him destroy the Jedi. Clone or not, Starkiller decides to escape instead and manages to find his old resistance teammate, the blind Jedi. The Jedi claims that Vader is lying and Starkiller is the original. Starkiller’s not sure what to think about all of this, but the main heroine is in trouble so he decides to launch a full scale attack on Vader’s base. Ultimately, his origin won’t matter as long as he can save her.

I don’t really mind the game keeping it ambiguous as to whether Starkiller is the genuine article or not. It adds a little tension and who doesn’t want to see some of that in the story. As long as it isn’t overplayed, it works well. Unfortunately, the story still was a step down from the first. It’s still cinematic and feels like a movie, but it’s a movie that doesn’t have much of a plot. It takes a while for Starkiller to decide what to do and by the time he does, the story is over. You could sum up the game’s story in a few sentences. Starkiller returns and meets up with his old pal. The two of them make it to the resistance base, but it was destroyed. They head over to Vader’s base and blow it up as they save the heroine. That’s really all that happens in this game.

Of course, the game was quite short so it was never going to have the same amount of content as the first game. Still, I was expecting a little more. Admittedly, part of the fault is in the fact that I thought the game was more about choosing between good and evil the whole time like in the Shadow The Hedgehog game. It turns out that only the ending matters like in the first game so it’s quite different from what I had assumed. The game is supposed to be roughly 5 hours long and that sounds about right. Hardcore gamers can finish it in one sitting although it took me 2. 5 hours of straight gaming may have been something I did more back in the day, but that is really a long time to be sitting down.

Granted, the ending is quite great just like in the last game. I ended up obtaining the dark ending. I wanted to make the hero call of course, but then the villain started to goad me on and I decided it was time to end him. A pretty shocking moment occurred and honestly it was all handled beautifully. As always the blind Jedi was supremely annoying, but I suppose that couldn’t be helped. Personally I’d say that the Starkiller in this game is a clone. It’s not really a spoiler since I know people have gone either way with this although most see it the way that I do in this case. That being said, he may have been more likable than the first one.

The gameplay is a lot smoother than the first game and I was hoping that would be the case. It’s the same core gameplay as it’s a 3D hack and slash title where you have other abilities at your disposal as well. You can shoot lightning and harness the force to protect yourself. This time you have 2 Lightsabers and you can switch out their crystals to give the weapon other special abilities. I recommend the extra EXP ones since those really add up by the end. The combos are a lot more fluid and the tutorial is fast while also being comprehensive. You’ll really feel like a Jedi Master as you slice through dozens and dozens of opponents.

There are a lot of cubes to find and trophies to collect which should add to the replay value. It has about the same kind of bonus content as the first game so there’s not much new to be on the lookout for. Just grab all of the cubes that you can and level up. It’s considerably easier than the first game as well I might add and that is probably because of how much smoother it is. I died quite a few times in the first game because my lightning wouldn’t lock on, but that’s never an issue here. With the original’s story this would instantly be a 9. As it is, it is a close call. The gameplay is amazing, but the experience is relatively short.

You probably figured this from the first game, but the graphics are still quite great. They have improved from the first title which is saying something. This is definitely pretty high end even for the PS3. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable though. Surprisingly both games didn’t really have any memorable tunes. I guess this game had to have a weakness somewhere right?

Speaking of weaknesses though, I did think that some of the quick time events were a little too hard. Not in terms of timing as that was pretty normal, but the events where you had to press a button really quickly. I just couldn’t push it fast enough and had to keep trying different ways until I finally nailed it. There were around 3 bosses like this and they just didn’t feel fair or balanced. I can’t imagine how a kid would get through these levels. I definitely have to respect their button mashing skills if they pulled it off.

Beyond that, I am still a big QTE fan as always. Personally I think it makes the boss fights more epic. I know some don’t care for it and I can see the negative side (Losing near the end of a long QTE sequence and having to do the whole thing over again) but it’s certainly still a positive in the end. As for the story which I keep taking subtle shots at, I just felt like the writing for Starkiller was a little all over the place. At times he was fairly quiet and treated like an experienced veteran. Then he would suddenly talk and then he wouldn’t stop as he panicked about everything and did a ton of yelling. The former is what I expected of Starkiller while the latter just feels out of character. He’s just a lot more emotional than I would have expected at times although he still makes the rational choices in the end.

I did say that I liked him more than the first Starkiller though and that’s because he’s just a little more intense. He makes the controversial decision to abandon the alliance so he could save the heroine instead, but it’s a move that I can go with. The rebellion is always falling to pieces anyway and they were okay with sacrificing her so naturally that was not okay. Starkiller made the right move. The game’s ending is quite dark no matter which ending you ultimately ended up going for. Naturally mine was incredibly dark but probably the more hype ending. It just seems like Starkiller can’t catch a break. I’d love a sequel to this game, but it seems like it isn’t to be.

Overall, The Force Unleashed II did everything you could ask for from a sequel. It tightened up the already solid gameplay to make it even better. It improved the graphics and still gave us a full cinematic story. There’s also a good amount of replay value here and none of the trophies are too crazy. You’ll have a blast from start to finish. Even if the story isn’t quite as intense as the first game, you’ll still be pretty reasonably hooked during it and the climax ends the game with a bang. Now if only we could get a multiplayer mode.

Overall 9/10

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Review

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I’ve been waiting to play this Star Wars game for quite a while. It got a lot of hype when it first came out and I’ve owned it for quite a few years but was blasting through the older games first. While the gameplay may not have aged incredibly well since it first came out, I quickly got into the swing of things and enjoyed the game quite a lot. Ironically the beginning of the game was more difficult than the second half of it since the upgrades really helped to change the course of battle. I just wish I had realized that I wasn’t logged in to my PSN because of some network issues as I missed out on the trophies. I’m still a little salty about that. With this review done, I’m also ready to begin the sequel to see how it improved upon the original!

The plot focuses on a young padawan named Starkiller. Darth Vader decided to train him as an apprentice in the hopes that the two of them could team up to destroy Palpatine. To this end he has Starkiller go around hunting Jedi to improve his abilities until he is ready. The problem is that Palpatine becomes aware of the plot so Vader has to take some drastic measures, but this ends up being a fatal mistake by the end. Honestly, Vader should have just taken the opportunity and fought right there. That definitely would have been his best chance.

The gameplay is 3D where you have total freedom to use The Force, Shoot Lightning, or attack with your Lightsaber. It’s one of the best gameplay styles out there and it was cool to play it. A lot of games like this I don’t really get to play like Infamous or Grand Theft Auto. You can level up the skills and get a lot stronger during the game. By the end you can really feel the difference in your abilities which was handled really well. The boss you had trouble with at the beginning is nothing more than a minion by the end. Now that’s what I call character progression.

One issue that I do have with the title is the lock on feature though. It’s really not helpful as it always locks on the wrong thing. You tend to miss with your attacks as a result at times which can really be annoying. You learn to work around that by the end, but the gameplay just could have been a little more polished in this angle if you ask me. I shouldn’t have to work around it. I’m sure this will be fixed by the end though.

The game is reasonably challenging, but it’s not unfair. You get to keep your EXP from the minions so just keep retrying the level until you win. Use strategy and try different tactics, you’ll get through eventually. I had some trouble with the first mini boss but it all went well after that. Once I had mastered the controls, it was on to the races. At only 9 levels the game is a little on the short side, but it should still last you about 4-5 hours. There is also some good replay value in finding all of the collectibles and obtaining your shiny Platinum Trophy. It seems like a bit of a grind as well as being reasonably difficult so it should take you quite a while to grab them all.

The graphics are really good and the game spared no expense with its cinematic cutscenes. The game feels like a big movie at times without limiting the gameplay. You have a good amount of quick time events for all of the bosses which always adds a thematic element into the mix. This is really the definition of a AAA game and we need more Star Wars games like this one. The soundtrack is also on point with most of the iconic film themes making it into the game. I can’t say much for the original music in the game as the film ones are the only themes to really stick out.

Starkiller is the protagonist here and he starts out as an evil follower and eventually becomes a hero. He even makes the tough call at the end to spare Palpatine instead of destroying him. Same for Darth Vader. He may not be quite as intense as I thought he’d be, but he’s pretty solid. I like him more than Luke Skywalker and some of the other Jedi. He probably is one of the best Star War Jedi either way though if that’s any consolation. He reminded me a lot of Cole from the Infamous series. I definitely also think that he’s one of the most powerful Jedi as he was able to hold his own against Vader and Palpatine, no easy feat.

The rest of the supporting cast was all right. The main heroine was good and took the plot twists in stride. The only character who was annoying was the blind Jedi. I believe Rogue One’s character was basically taken from this one. While he technically gave some good advice like telling Starkiller not to destroy his opponents, he was incredibly weak for a Jedi. He spent the entire story getting beaten up and being a liability. Starkiller actually could have made it through this game if not for him.

Still, it was an epic story no doubt about that. This could easily be adapted into a movie and I think it would be a really epic one. The cutscenes are movie quality as it is and the story could easily fit into the universe. Vader’s whole plan maybe felt a little extra convoluted and training Starkiller so well may not have been a good idea, but it made for a good excuse to have a character be so strong. I imagine Vader would be a pretty good teacher since he is so ruthless.

Overall, The Force Unleashed absolutely lived up to the hype. The only thing holding it back from a 9 is that the camera work/lock on feature is a little too unreliable and the game is perhaps a bit too short. There aren’t any real negatives, but to get to the 9 Star rating you just need something extra. Perhaps the sequel will be able to make it all the way up there, but at an 8 it is still a great title that you should get at all costs. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll be able to appreciate the game all the more. It lets you utilize every Jedi/Sith power seamlessly in the gameplay. You’ll feel like The Force is with you.

Overall 8/10

Star Wars Lost Stars

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This manga is off to a great start. I hear that the original novel is also quite excellent so that’ll be fun to read at some point as well. The main character is already so much better than Luke, Rey, and Anakin from the films. I look forward to seeing where the manga goes from here and I’ll review it once the series finishes.

Overall 8/10

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Review

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The Star Wars marathon continues! The last game was exceptionally good and set the bar quite high. Unfortunately, this one is not able to quite reach the same level when it comes to the pure gameplay, but the exciting story and multiplayer turn the tables. There are some obvious problems with the gameplay that hold it back just a bit, but it overcomes those odds. While it could be more polished, the rough gameplay actually helps to make the multiplayer mode more interesting. Just press some buttons and hope for the best!

The game covers the events of the third movie. Anakin and Obi Wan continue to do their best to stop the Sith forces and all of the other villains who are around. The main problem is that the head of the Republic is also evil so the heroes have to watch out for threats from both sides and one of their ranks allows the pull of the Dark side to sway him. This game covers the birth of Darth Vader!

I have to say that playing this game again reminded me why Episode III is still the most epic and exciting Star Wars film to date. It may not be the best, but it does make sense why it would be the coolest. This was back in the days where there were many Jedi warriors and lightsaber battles were commonplace. The film had a bunch of awesome fight scenes within and the game adapts them all and then some. It’s something that all of the movies since have lacked and I’m hoping that Episode VIII gives us a bunch of hype battles. I could definitely get behind that and I’m expecting great things from it.

This game starts off rather slow, but quickly picks up once Anakin joins the dark side. Suddenly you’re fighting other Jedi warriors instead of mindless droids. This makes for more enjoyable battles and also an engaging plot. The banter between the characters is brilliant during the fights and you’ll actually like some of the characters more than you did in the film. One warrior who showed up and confidently took on Anakin is safely one of the cooler Jedi warriors. It was a quick moment, but one that separated her from the common masses who were all dying in an instant.

The game didn’t adapt the cool scene where Palpatine took down the 3 warriors though. I had to quickly watch that scene myself and saw a cool video explaining why the Jedi masters lost so quickly. It was simple, they lacked the speed needed to defeat Palpatine. Apparently that is his strongest skill and he can strike so fast that he barely appears at all. Mace was only able to hold his own because he used a forbidden technique that granted him the power of the Dark as well so it was definitely an interesting watch. Needless to say, despite the video hinting otherwise, I’d still take Anakin over them even at his current level.

There are 16 levels like in the other Star Wars game. In addition, there are 4-5 bonus levels and you can unlock Darth Vader for multiplayer mode. That will be your main source of replay value since fighting friends never gets old, but you can also go back to the levels and grab the secrets. Each level has secret health and Force power ups which permanently increase the size of each. I found a bunch of them by breaking things so I imagine that’s how you find them all. The campaign is only around 3 hours long, but couple it with these other factors and I’d say that the game has a fair length. It’s just a lot easier than the last game so it goes by a lot quicker.

The gameplay is purely about hand to hand combat. It may be more accurate to call it Lightsaber combat. You have standard slashes and power moves. There are also your Force abilities of course, which allow you to lift opponents, stun them, and even push them away. I didn’t properly learn how to use the force until the final 2 levels so I recommend trying to learn it a little sooner. Boss fights in this game are quite difficult as they will block or parry just about anything that you throw at them. Ironically, the final boss is easily the weakest one in the game as he refuses to block just about anything. For the others, I recommend whacking them a few times and then going off to heal. (Yes, you can heal yourself in this game) Then rinse and repeat until the job is done. You can usually run fast enough to get this strategy to work. Alternately, you can master the rock, paper, scissors gameplay, but it didn’t make much sense the whole time so I just reverted to classic button mashing. It’s never failed me before so I have always trusted this legendary technique. Your character will gain experience after each level and you can use it to improve your force abilities (Like healing. I highly recommend focusing on that one) and physical abilities. By the end of the game, your character will be close to being maxed out.

The graphics look quite good. The lightsabers really stand out the whole time and they did a good job with the blasts getting deflected off of the swords. It’s aged pretty well and I can definitely see why this game would be thought of as an older Force Unleashed. There are a lot of similarities to be found here and I look forward to trying that game out at some point. The soundtrack is just as good. It has all of the classic Star Wars themes that you may wish for and the battle themes are all intense. It’s definitely a rock solid game on a technical level.

Overall, Episode III may have gotten off to a rough start initially, but it really grows on you. I was sure that it would only be getting a 7 at first, but the plot really picked up and the gameplay is definitely a lot more fun when you’re fighting actual sword fighters. There is a lot less variety when it comes to the gameplay compared to the other title, but how can you not like a classic 3D sword-fighter styled gameplay? It never gets old and none of the levels are painfully long so that also helps a great deal. It’s the kind of gameplay where I also wouldn’t have pictured a multiplayer mode so it’s really cool that it was featured. The cast could be longer, but I guess we’ll save that for an official Star Wars fighting game. The series certainly has enough characters for it by now. I definitely recommend checking out this title. My Star Wars marathon will likely go on a brief break here since I’ll be getting some new games for Christmas, but it’ll be back at some point.

Overall 8/10

Star Wars: Rogue One Review

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All right, it’s time to take a look at the first Star Wars spinoff movie. This one helps to bridge the gap between film III and IV by showing us how the rebellion managed to actually acquire the plans to the Death Star. After all, how could they hope to get such secretive intel from the Empire? There’s a lot of action here and it’s always fun to see The Force move about. It’s a little hard to go back to the days when the Jedi weren’t fighting with their cool abilities, but Rogue One is a solid action movie. It’ll help get you ready for the Episode VIII movie which is coming soon.

Jyn is the main character of the film (Could have sworn that it was Jane) and she witnessed her parents get captured by the Empire. She escapes and was rescued by a tough resistance fighter. Many years passed and Jyn is now a very aggressive person who dislikes the Empire and the Rebellion. She is thrown back into the fray when the rebellion shows up and decides to use her to get to the resistance member. Jyn isn’t thrilled about this arrangement, but she doesn’t have much of a choice. Planets are on the line and the planetary destruction weapon is now complete so the clock is ticking.

The film gets to the plot right away as Jyn’s backstory flies by and her first big mission is upon us. There is no need for a super large build up and that’s really the point. In a war, you don’t have time to go to the local deli first, it’s just on to the mission. As soon as Jyn and Cassian are at the first planet, the skirmish between the Rebellion and the Empire begins. From there we get a lot of other action scenes and the big climax is certainly the largest scale one in the movie. When you think that the fight is about to end, it ends up continuing and continuing. The film doesn’t let up right up through the very end. Naturally I won’t go into any details at all about the ending, but it is quite great and the perfect way to end things on a high note. It also explains why a ship wasn’t pulled back with The Force. I suppose it may not have been the wisest move anyway. You’ll definitely want to watch Episode IV afterwards to put all of this into perspective.

The graphics are good as you would expect. Due to the layout of the Star Wars universe, we don’t get a chance to see many futuristic tech or cities lying about, but the heroes do go to one cool city. It’s a fun camera pan out as we see what the city looks like from afar and then see how desolate it really is when the heroes land. The lightsaber that Darth Vader has looks cool as always and I did appreciate the beam battles that we got as always. That being said, I feel like they heavily nerfed the blasters here. Numerous characters are blasted in the chest with no serious injury. I don’t really think anyone should survive getting his by a blast, especially considering that everyone had their phasers set to stun kill.

I also enjoyed the soundtrack. It was fun hearing the classical themes of the series. I also really like the death wail that all of the machines make when they’re about to explode. I’ve been hearing it more and more as I play the video game and it certainly is catchy. The film doesn’t really have any new tunes, but the classic ones are all that you need in the end. Also, there weren’t really any one on one fights so there wouldn’t be much of a chance to use any new battle music.

Before getting into the characters, I have to talk about one in particular. A guy runs off during the film spouting some nonsense about finding an ultra powerful Jedi warrior who could turn the tables. He said that he trusts her with his life before running off and now we know why. This would give him an excuse to escape before things got messy. What other reason is there for him dashing off and not returning? The Jedi warrior never got to show up unless she was a cameo somewhere and that was just mind boggling. Hardcore Star War fans may know who is was talking about and why it was significant, but for a super casual (At least that’s what I let people think!) fan like myself, it was just rather random.

Jyn makes for a good heroine. I do think that her personality was maybe a little too similar to Rey’s though. Both of them are really tough “Me against the world” characters who know hand to hand skills and dislike everybody. Both of them eventually mellow out though and learn how to be team players. A big difference is the fact that Rey knows the Force though. Regardless of comparisons, Jyn was fun to have around although she maybe became a nice person a little too quickly. Her character arc was a little rushed, but I’ll take action over drama any day so I’m pretty fine with it in the end. Cassian was the main guy in the film and I can’t say that I cared for him. He doesn’t mind putting aside his morals when in the line of duty and even though he got too scared to pull the trigger, it’s hard to put aside the fact that he was willing to do the deed. Jyn calls him out on it and Cassian basically runs off to sulk, after insulting everyone and trying to pick a fight. I know that Cassian’s supposed to be a likable guy by the end, but I just wasn’t buying it. He could fight, which is a nice start, but he was just very annoying.

Speaking of annoying characters though, one of the worst was probably Chirrut. I dislike this fan favorite because he got on my nerves immediately. His whole “I’m one with the Force” gimmick was boring and repetitive. He couldn’t really back it up either as he would have died several times without his generic partner. He came across as a fake Jedi and the only way that I would have liked him would have been if he had an actual lightsaber and used the Force to attack. If the film wanted to have a Jedi around, then they should have gone the whole way. Have him fight Darth Vader near the end or something like that. Yes, Chirrut would have certainly died, but it would have been a good fight and it would have been a way to actually cement the fact that Chirrut was a fighter. His character arc just felt very empty and while it’s cool that we had someone with powers, I was hoping that we’d have someone who knew how to use those abilities.

Back to cool characters though, I certainly enjoyed K2SO. He was a fun sarcastic version of C3PO and he got most of the best lines in the film. He can actually fight, which is a big improvement from C3PO and had some fun action scenes. He is very useful as an undercover robot since the Empire always thinks that he is one of them and the design is cool as well. The heroes would have been utterly doomed without his expertise. Another cool character is naturally Darth Vader. He gets a pair of pivotal scenes, which was nice for his fans. He’s definitely one of the biggest symbols in the franchise and any moment with him in it is always neat. I don’t think his very first scene was necessary as we see him in the water tank since it makes him a little less threatening, but I suppose it was to help acknowledge him as more than just a Sith Lord who wrecks everyone, but I’m actually fine with the latter. You definitely can’t escape from Darth Vader, as many of the characters quickly figure out. It’s why I want a proper light saber fight with him since today’s effects could make it quite epic.

One character that you’ll probably feel bad for is Bodhi. He’s a pilot who had an important message to give to the extremest rebel, but ends up nearly being brain fried for his troubles. It shows just how shady this rebel was and I can see why the rebellion wanted nothing to do with him initially. Not that the rebellion is a whole lot better either. While they aren’t evil like the other guy, some of their members aren’t very courageous. The fact that a lot of them wanted to join the Empire speaks volumes about their resolve. I don’t know how they got a seat in the council. The “It’s a Trap!” guy continues to be a great character though. Now that guy’s a true leader!

Orson and Tarkin are two fun sub villains to have around as well. They’re both political villains who talk a good game and hide in the shadows. They use mind games and overwhelming numbers to take the heroes on while they debate among themselves the whole time. They both have personality and are fun to have around so I actually enjoyed them. They certainly can’t fight all that much, but Orson did manage to take on Cassian in a gun fight so he does have some skills. That or Cassian just isn’t that good and the latter is a real possibility.

I’m probably one of the only ones who feels this way, but I felt bad for the Storm Troopers a lot of the time. They’re constantly defeated through cheap tricks and sneak attacks so it was always cool to see them land some counter hits. The Storm Troopers may be on the wrong side, but they have cool armors and they do try their best. Only plot hax is enough to stop them at times. Rebellions are built on that after all. This film was fairly reasonable on that angle though. There’s no way that the attack should have worked and the Rebellion should have been squashed, but it’s hard to realistically have such a small group attack a big army. The Empire just has too many options at their disposal.

In the end, this film is definitely better than I, II, V, and VI, but it loses to IV and VII. It’s pretty close with III though since that film had a lot more action and big fight scenes while this one leaves you with more of a “Feels Good” feeling. III’s ending is rather somber and dark. In the end, I suppose the epicness wins out so that still puts this film as the 4th best among the 7. 8 if we count the animated film, but it’s really been a super long time since I watched that one. That one could potentially be the best, but I remember always being annoyed that some of the fights are so close to happening and yet they don’t happen. They were probably saving that for the TV show or something.
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Overall, Star Wars Rogue One is a fun prequel. It’s a good way of expanding the universe of Star Wars mythos and allowing us to see some classic characters like Darth Vader again. It’ll remind you that the rebellion certainly went through a lot of hardships before they got to claim some victories. The universe desperately needed some more Jedi. If you haven’t watched a Star Wars film before, then you can certainly jump into this one. In a way, it can be a new starting point for fans since it links into IV so well. I have always been with the crowd that says watching IV before I is crucial so this is the only exception to the original trilogy rule. The film accomplished what it set out to do here so I look forward to seeing if the next prequel will be as good. They definitely put a lot of work into these films so I’m confident that they will keep on checking through the script until it’s just right.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Omnibus Volume 1 A Long Time Ago Review

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Looks like it is time to read the start of one of the biggest franchises of all time. Obviously Star Wars didn’t originate with this comic, but it was still the start of an era and as this is an Omnibus it is quite the start. This collection brings over 20 issues so it is able to cover quite a few different arcs. It’s cool to see Marvel take a whirl at the series and now that Disney owns Star Wars and Marvel, it is definitely feasible that they could have some kind of crossover someday. It’s great to see Luke and the others as the main characters once more. Without further ado, let’s start this review.

The series starts off with an adaption of movie IV. That definitely makes sense you wouldn’t want to simply ignore the events of the film that started the whole franchise and simply skipping it altogether likely wouldn’t go over very well with the fans. It is pretty faithful to the film and we get some good action scenes as Luke Skywalker goes from being your average kid to a galactic hero. He certainly gets a lot of respect after he helps destroy the starship even if he has yet to become a Jedi. Saving a few star systems from imminent destruction will easily give you that kind of fame.

After the initial arc, Luke vanishes for quite a while along with Darth Vader. No worries though since we have Han Solo on deck to give us some arcs. The plots from Han’s mini arc and Luke’s solo adventure eventually meet up and it is fun to have the character all together once more, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Han is still on the run from just about everyone so he lands on what he thinks is a peaceful planet. Unfortunately this is far from the truth as there are some pretty mean bounty hunters on this planet. He enlists the aid of several inhabitants/visitors on the planet.

They consist of a Rabbit, An old man who may have been a Jedi once upon a time, A bounty hunter heroine who is good with a gun, and a kid who wants to make a difference. It’s not exactly a group of trained professionals, but Han has to work with what he’s got and he can whip these guys into shape. The auditions for who would join his team was certainly a blast and it is easy to feel bad for some of the guys who didn’t make it. Of course, if everyone joined the cut, things would just get crazy right? The group was fairly likable in the end and this arc was actually pretty fun even without Luke.

The Rabbit guy was very similar to the guest star from the 2003 TMNT series. He is a good shot and has a lot of confidence even if he can’t always back up his tough talk. He can fight, which automatically makes him decent here and the banter is always good. The little kid who barely earned his way onto the team thanks to his robot is the only member of the group who is totally not likable. I get that he has no fancy powers or equipment, but surely he could have found some way to be useful. Instead he really just holds the group back. His android is pretty neat though. Picture C3PO, but if the robot was always hurling insults and didn’t mind resorting to violence. That guy could definitely become a fan favorite if he ever appeared in the movies.

The bounty hunter lady knew Han from the old days so she certainly didn’t follow his commands like the others, but she’s good in a fight. There was no drama between her and Han which was certainly good considering that we already have another romance plot in the background. The best member by far was the Old Jedi. The characters think that he may have been delusional, but I think he was the real deal. He did a fairly good job of holding off the monster with his Lightsaber and he did know how to summon the thing. The guy went down as a hero and it was a pretty emotional way to go. He helped out when it counted and I always love to see more Jedi warriors so it was fun to have this guy around. It’s just too bad that the role was so brief.

Back to Luke’s plot. He was looking for a new base for the Resistance, but one thing led to another and he was captured. He landed on an Aqua planet where two factions were vying for power. There was the resistance who teamed up with the monsters of the area to take on the high tech pirate villains. Unfortunately for the heroes, these villains had a sonic weapon that really dealt heavy damage to the monsters and if they weren’t stopped quickly, they could completely sink the resistance base. Luke naturally decides to help, but doesn’t fare too well. Luckily, Han Solo shows up…although not in the most ideal of circumstances.

He was kidnapped by a pirate group as well and they forced him to go here. Luckily the two villain groups begin to fight which buys Han enough time to make it to the surface where he has several disagreements with Luke on what to do. Naturally, Luke wants to make the heroic move here and help out the resistance while Han just wants to get away as far as possible. Meanwhile, one of the pirates who was chasing Han begins to realize that avoiding feelings of infatuation for so long as weakened her resolve. Unfortunately, she went from being a pretty cool villain to a rather sad one due to this plot development. It was unneeded if you ask me.

While it was naturally great to see the two groups (Luke/Leia and Han) meet up, it also brought back the subplot about how both guys like Leia. They trade passive aggressive burns a lot and both try to impress her all the time. It actually plays out like a very old version of the classic trope where the heroine has to decide between the nice guy or the tough/rebellious one. Han and her are always bickering while she gets along with Luke quite well. That’s always a bad sign for the nice guy even if that may seem iffy when you think about it. It’s not a huge factor here and doesn’t hurt the comic at all, but I could have done without it. Luckily, since this is a retro comic the romance never gets too wince worthy. It’s mostly just mild flirting at the most.

The heroes eventually make it to the Wheel where they are all imprisoned/defeated before they even know it. It’s all done very subtlety though since the Wheel is essentially a giant casino and the owner doesn’t want the customers to suspect that Darth Vader and the Order are here. It would be bad for business after all since the villains are supposed to not be welcome here. He arranges for Han to fight in the Gladiatorial arena where he makes it to the final round only to be face to face with Chewy. Chewy naturally has the edge here, but they are able to defeat all of the other fighters and escape. It was a fun arc because seeing Han fight several aliens mano a mano is always exciting.

There were certainly quite a few story arcs here and other stories that I barely touched upon. The aliens that are after Han appear several times and so many bounty hunters/pirates as well that you’ll lose count after a while. It is fun to see how different Jabba The Hut was here though. Rather than the blob that you saw in the movie, he actually looks like a very normal humanoid villain here. Picture an android or Martian Manhunter from DC comics. I wish they had ultimately stayed with this design since it is certainly a lot more menacing.

From the main characters, Han is certainly the most interesting. Naturally, the flirting part of his personality is pretty irritating, but besides that he has all of the necessary qualities that a good main character needs. He has boundless confidence at his disposal and he gets all of the witty one liners. He’s always ready for a fight and he is defiant to the last no matter who he is facing. It’s hard not to root for the guy and he can easily hold his own issue. Something that Luke and Leia can’t really pull off to be honest.

Chewy also excels here as he constantly proves why he is the strongest fighter in the series. He defeats everyone from gladiators to other monsters. His hype never leaves and he basically goes undefeated for the whole series. He’s also a really good shot when he’s got a gun so Chewy’s always a lethal fighter. Unfortunately, I can’t say that Princess Leia is really a good character here. For starters she needs to decide between Han or Luke ASAP instead of having her cake and eating it too. Messing around with both of them is always the dicey move. This was also before heroines became great fighters and had super cool roles like nowadays so she is mainly around just to get kidnapped or to provide some commentary. She rarely actually helps out even though she does have a gun. I’ve never cared for Leia in any part of the franchise all that much though so it’s not really a surprise.

This was also before Luke became a cooler character like in Episode VI so he’s not terrific either. His petty rivalry with Han can be a little dicey. Besides that he’s typically the heroic main character that you would expect to see. His powers may not have fully developed yet, but he’s still not somebody that you want to underestimate in a fight. He’s a fairly reasonable character so I’m not going to say that he’s bad, but he’s not very interesting either. Whenever there was a comic about him, I would be waiting for the issue to switch to Han’s subplot.

Darth Vader’s screen time is limited, but he still manages to be a very imposing villain. The fact that he can use the Force automatically makes him the most deadly opponent here. The heroes simply cannot defeat him in an actual fight and would be hopelessly crushed if they were to even attempt such a feat. The best they can do for now is to bide their time and let the Resistance continue to grow. Another fun villain is the Hunter. He is part Android even though he can’t stand them and he aims to destroy all Robots and those who like them. It’s an impossible goal considering how many of them there are, but I suppose it is a concrete goal at the very least. He only got to appear once really, but he’s after Luke Skywalker and the title for the first issue of the second collection implies that he’ll be a main villain once more. Along with Darth Vader he is easily the best villain so I’m definitely up to seeing more of him. He has an arm cannon at his disposal so that’ll definitely be useful in a fight.

As you may expect, the art here is very clear and pleasant. They really don’t draw panels the way that they used too. The hand drawn style just works really well and I’d especially say that this is true for the character designs. You can tell that this is an old Marvel comic right from the get go and that means that you can expect consistent quality. It may not be super flashy, but it gets the job done and all of the scenes hold up well.

Overall, This Star Wars Omnibus is a good start to the Marvel era of the classic franchise. It’s quite large so this collection should last you quite a while. I’m assuming that we’ll be seeing an adaption of the second film at some point since there are over 100 issues in the series and the next installment should definitely have been out by that time. The series went on for quite a while after all. If you’re a big Star Wars fan then you should definitely enjoy this one. If not, I’d say that it is pretty accessible to all comic readers. It is a good action story with sci-fi elements that holds up well as most classic comics do. The writing is good and the action scenes are fun as well. I’m sure that future volumes will be just as fun.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens Review

Star_Wars_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens
All right, it’s Star Wars time! This film got a lot of hype as to be expected since this was a sequel that people had been waiting for. It smashed the box office and looks to easily reach the billion mark while still having enough steam to get a few extra hundred million. I’m in the camp that still doesn’t see it challenging Titanic or Avatar, but it will go far. After seeing the film, I can safely confirm that it is a solid movie. It’s not great, but it’s pretty good and that’s good enough for now.

The film’s plot is a little hard to describe in part because it doesn’t have much of a plot at times. This is actually a bit of a negative for me, but that’ll be mentioned later. The Sith may be gone and the Empire is gone, but the First Order has arrived so the resistance is still the resistance and nothing has really changed for them. At this rate, they’ll never be able to cease control of the universe or become the big heroes that they’ve always wanted to be. Times are tough and it’s a losing battle as all of the Jedi have been destroyed with Luke Skywalker being the final one. The villains are looking for him, but nobody knows where he is.

Meanwhile, Rey is a lady who lives on a desert planet and she comes across a robot who has a map, which leads to Luke Skywalker. Finn also landed on the planet after barely escaping from the First Order and he pretends to be a part of the Resistance to impress Rey. The two of them must now make it to the Resistance to give them the coordinates and if they want to live to tell the tale, they’ll need some help from Han Solo. The First Order is serious business so the heroes have to watch their step.

Rey’s a decent main character. She knows how to fight and decides to help BB-8 get to Luke. She’s fairly selfless and does well to survive in such a harsh environment on her own. To an extent she’s fairly generic, but that helps to fuel the similarities between her and Luke. I’d prefer for her to be a little more headstrong, but maybe that trait will come with practice and overconfidence. That would definitely make her a great heroine! She puts up a good fight in the final showdown although I felt like the fight scene was a little bizarre.

As mentioned, she is already an experienced combatant and in particular, she’s good with a weapon. This training seems to leave her in the final fight or maybe it was just a problem with the choreography. For some reason, she constantly throws out thrusts (A stabbing motion with the Lightsaber) which leaves her vulnerable many times, but Kylo is so weak that it doesn’t end up mattering all that much. The fight was still odd though because Rey seemed experienced enough in the intro to have fought a little better than what she displayed there.

Rey is much better than her male counterpart, Finn. For starters, I didn’t like how Finn was constantly out of breath for most of his earlier scenes. I get that he was a little nervous, but cmon now. It’s not the greatest way to make the main character seem cool. He panicked a lot and the possible romance between him and Rey is already off to a terrible start. This is why we have the friend zone, so random romances won’t occur. I give the film props for avoiding this right away though and it’s possible that this will lead nowhere, which would be great.

Still, I just didn’t find Finn to be a cool character. It doesn’t help that he got wrecked in his first big fight scene. It’s good that he realized what it means to be a hero, but realizing that a little sooner and helping the civilians out on the planet in the intro would have been nice. Better yet, he could have decided not to abandon everyone because he was scared. This character has a ways to go to be even slightly likable.

That being said, Finn’s much better than Kylo. Kylo is a terrible villain and I love how Wikipedia hyped him up a lot. They say that he’s already shown to be as strong as Darth Vader and in interviews they were saying that he’s not totally evil and believes himself to be morally justified in his actions. Either a large part of the film never made it past the director’s cut or it was just false hype. He basically defines the term “Generic villain” and the worst part is that he’s an emotional villain. Kylo is just plain sad and the instant that his mask comes off, the character became a joke.

Did you think that the Jupiter Ascending main villain was bad? This guy’s just like that. He gets emotional constantly and is always panicking. He is always on the verge of tears or losing his revolve so he has to talk to a broken mask and an old man to steady himself. Unlike Vader, he allows his underlings to sass him, but since he’s constantly getting humiliated, I suppose that it’s tough to think of a counter. When a guy who’s never even used a lightsaber before it able to hold his own against the main villain, there’s something wrong. Even when Rey is wrecking Kylo, you have to wonder why anybody fears him. His Force abilities are clearly not very good and he forgets to use them when in the heat of battle. He gets overwhelmed a lot and I can’t say that I will be glad to see him in the sequel. This is a villain who is not necessary and I’d probably take any other Sith from the Star Wars series are a better villain. There are probably ones out there who are even worse in terms of character, but I’m sure that they’d at least be tough. The old man isn’t very interesting either so I’m going to be ready for some new villains to spice things up. I want the Sith to return.

So far, they’re definitely not hinting towards any of the old villains showing up, but that’s okay. The video games and comics will likely deal with the what if scenarios more. The old guard doesn’t necessarily need to show up and upstage the new guys, but I definitely wouldn’t mind since they have earned a spot on the hype train. One old character that I was glad got a small role was C3PO and R2-D2. C3PO’s all right and beats the other robots since he can at least talk in English (Talking in gibberish with a character translating is always annoying) but he’s still not the most interesting character out there. I’m waiting for him to grow an arm cannon and start firing, now that would be epic!

The visuals are pretty fun and I’m always up for a nice aerial fight in space. The characters have their blasters ready and the Lightsaber battles are also good. They are noticeably better than the older films although III had the best fights from the series. Once we get more Jedi and Sith, that should probably change as this is more of a prelude than anything else. Having more action scenes would have definitely been good since the film is actually pretty light in that category. More exploration and dialogue than anything else, but building up the universe is important. I’m assuming that the sequel will be upping the stakes. I can’t say that the soundtrack was too memorable, but I’m almost positive that there was an opera styled song in there somewhere. Films rarely have very memorable soundtracks so it’s not a big deal. We had the classic intro theme, which was certainly fun to hear.

For better or worse, this film was really aimed at creating as much nostalgia as possible. Similar to Avengers Assemble (Cartoon) the film tries to reenact as many scenes as possible from the original film. I dare say that most of this film is filled with references to the older ones. We have the classic Darth Vader vs Luke fight scene, dashing across the desert, and dozens of other such moments. This is fine for the most part and it’s nice to remember the old scenes, but it also left little time for character development, fights, and new plots to move forward. Even the climax is extremely similar to a classic occurrence, but it’s not quite as epic as the original, but that can be said for just about every scene. It tries very hard to be Episode IV, but it just doesn’t work.

A complaint that I had with the film is that it actually dragged on a little towards the middle. I’m not going to call the film boring, but there were parts of it were you would just be waiting for something to happen. It’s just not the most fast paced film out there and I feel like the film could have just been a lot more exciting. The characters limited it, but even with that, a few more space fights or some cool dialogue about Siths and Jedi could have helped. In part, I blame this on the fact that Luke is the only Jedi now. I think this was a pretty poor decision to have made because I don’t want the status quo to have reverted all the way back to IV. It just makes it all the easier to add in more homages and remake scenes from the original.

It was nice to see Han Solo again after so long. He did a good job during the fight scenes and showed that he’s still more adept at it than Chewy. Chewy meant well, but for some reason he wasn’t firing his shots all that accurately so he was mostly a liability this time. Ah well, he can still roar and Han is fine with firing the shots himself. Unlike Luke, Han is a character who continues to look good and does his older self justice. Unfortunately, I can tell that Luke’s going to be a very dicey character. He’ll probably snap out of this soon, but let’s just say that his personality had a big change due to a tragic event. As a result, he’s going to be the generic old guy who whispers words of doom constantly. He basically left the universe to fend for itself, which is very irresponsible and is just sad. I was never the biggest fan of Luke, but this is a new low for the Jedi.

As you can see, I certainly had my share of complaints during the film and it was enough for me to know instantly that it was going to only go as high as a 7. A 7’s pretty good, but it does seem low for Star Wars. That being said, it was still a good film and one of the better ones this year. It’s a fun sci-fi film and while you probably couldn’t call it an epic as much as the original, it still has its stakes. Several planets are blown up in the film and the new weapon is pretty intense, I even created a level in Mario Maker based on the concept.

Ranking the Star Wars films from best to worst, Episode IV is still my favorite. That one’s simply classic at this point and did a great job of starting the franchise off on a high note. Next would be Episode III, Episode VII, then Episode VI, Episode V, Episode I, and finally Episode II. The Force Awakens is pretty high in the list so it’ll be cool to see where the sequel stands. It’s too bad that the main villain will likely return, but aside from that I can easily see the sequel being a solid improvement. We’ll likely have more fight scenes and that’s always exciting.

A good thing that Star Wars has, which has stood the test of time is that the film’s tone/atmosphere is good. It’s pleasant and is part of why the film is easy to just watch and enjoy. I’d compare it to the MCU (Iron Man, Avengers) films in that regard. It goes less for comedy although still has some of it within, but it’s not always foggy outside or the heroes are always panicking. It’s not super grimy and since this is the future, I think everything should look pretty modern. It’s why I was thrilled when Rey got off the desert planet since that wasn’t the best locale.

Overall, I enjoyed The Force Awakens. Now Star Wars can be around for the next generation and once the trilogy is over, we can fully compare it to the original two. I’m fairly confident that this trilogy will end up winning as a trio of 7s is actually fairly likely. This film was what Battle of Gods was for DBZ. It tried to bring back the old audience while getting new viewers in. With that over, I expect everything to get more intense in the sequel and I’m ready for some epic Force abilities from both the Light and the Dark side. We’ve also got the spinoffs and prequels coming up so Star Wars is here to stay at last. Hopefully it has long legs in the box office and continues to rack up the cash so we can also get some new video games!

Overall 7/10