Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Review

It’s time for the next installment in the Star Wars series. It’s still the most popular Sci-Fi franchise out there and it’s pretty surreal that the series finally got to keep going after the long gap since episode III. This one’s been getting fairly mixed reception and it’s easy to see why. I have a lot of mixed thoughts on it as well. There’s a fairly large laundry list of pros and cons that I have with the film that all get thrown together which is why this review will be fairly long. Long story short, it’s a good movie, but one that feels like it’s considerably longer than it should be with not much actually happening for most of it.

The film starts with the Republic getting wrecked on all sides by the First Order as per usual. They’re outgunned and outnumbered but they have spirit. Against orders Poe decides to take down one of the enemy flagships and single handily saves a good chunk of the fleet. For his bravery he is demoted. Unfortunately the First Order is still gaining on the heroes and their only chance is that Rey will return with Luke Skywalker to save the day. In case she fails at this task, Finn is charged with a backup plan to find someone who can help them disable the tracker that is preventing them from escaping. With two plans in the works surely one of them will succeed right? Or is all hope lost already?

It’s great to see the opening credits roll and the classic Star Wars previously segment play. It’s always been a nice staple in the franchise and it works well. It also allows the film to go forward without having to show everything by giving us a little info from the start. As a result, the actual movie starts out with the big fight in space and that’s exactly how you should start a Star Wars fight. While the Lightsabers may be the most popular aspect of the series, the title would suggest big galactic battles like this one. It’s handled really well and you feel bad for the Republic since their ships are always so outnumbered. I’m a little skeptical on Poe’s ship massacring the big Star Destroyer but I always did say that I’ll take speed over power any day so I guess this proves my point. He did a lot of damage there. It’s a very strong start to the film and it hits all of the beats that it should. Unfortunately things start to slow down here. Lets stick to one chunk of the film at a time though. There are 3 main plots so in those plots I’ll discuss the relevant characters as well as positives and negatives.

The first plot is the Poe plot. The heroes are on the run and they need a plan. Leia gets knocked out because she made the mistake of being in the command room with all of the other generals. However, it is the only unguarded part of the ship and this is such a big design flaw that the people who built the Death Star can now breathe a little easier. This leads to a rather random scene. I won’t go into detail, but I didn’t care for the scene simply because it leads into absolutely nothing. It doesn’t help that I really don’t like Leia. She’s become such a bad character ever since she went into power. It’s like all good characters are corrupted by their bureaucratic status. Just look at how Naruto fell once he turned into Boruto’s father. Now, I can’t blast this scene too much though since obviously the plans had to change when the actress passed away. This plot point could have very well led on to something if she had stayed alive or perhaps she was supposed to die but to let the actress go out on a happier note they spared her.

Leia’s replacement is even worse though. While Leia makes consistent bad choices and shows no leadership qualities, at least she tries. Her replacement refuses to share her plans with anyone and is constantly aggressive for no reason. She seems to be very self conscious about what a bad leader she is so she takes it on everyone else. I don’t remember her name and I don’t even care enough to look it up. She has purple hair and you’ll know her when you see her. She has some of the worst plans that I’ve ever seen a “competent” general come up with. By “competent” I mean that the film wants you to think she is a brilliant strategist and that she knows what she is doing. It’s one thing for a comic relief character to come up with a bad plan or for someone that the film is trying to make look bad to come up with a bad plan. This is something altogether different because it is portrayed as a good plan. Without going into specifics, the new commander wants to sacrifice 100% of the fleet and get everyone to escape in small escape pods that have no barriers or weapons. Except for massive plot armor this is a complete suicide strategy with no hope of success. How would the villains not notice these pods on their scanners? This is the future right? In the present you are able to see small objects on a scanner, I refuse to believe that they simply wouldn’t notice them. Even once the plan starts tanking nothing is done for a very long time and then the lady remembers that she has one last option. By then almost everyone is dead, but still she is supposed to be remembered as a hero. Forget that!

The true MVP of this plot was definitely Poe. So much so that I can safely say that he is easily the best character in the whole film. He is always the one making the right decisions. It may have been risky to take down the Destroyer, but he saved a lot of lives in the process as it would have meant trouble for the other planets. It’s the other pilots who should have done a better job of steering and not dying so easily. Poe’s plan is much sturdier than the commander’s as it is at least a plan that has a chance of saving everyone else. Just giving up is the worst possible call to make in any situation. I’m also glad that Poe has a lot of loyal allies by his side since it shows that the crew can think for themselves. Getting sucker blasted by Leia was annoying, but not something I would blame on Poe. It’s just another reason not to like Leia. Hopefully Poe gets another big role in the next film since his character is really going strong now.

This plot was probably in the middle of the 3 for me. It wasn’t as slow paced as the other two, but at the same time it did stall the most. When you think about it, that whole plot is basically just the main ship running and the enemies blasting at it. It’s stuck for so long that it almost feels like they’re using stock footage at times. There’s one moment in particular where the camera keeps cycling between the 3 plots and it lands on this one twice where I saw 2 ships getting blown up each time. They were probably different ships, but it really looked like the same scene.

Next up is the weakest plot in the film. It belongs to Finn and his new partner, a fan of the pros. You can tell that she’s going to be annoying from her first scene as she gives Finn a sob story and is way too in awe of him. I’ve never liked the hero worship trope in fiction or the fact that it’s a real thing in life. (Shoutout to the Smash community) While her backstory is tragic and all, you have to wonder why she is in the film. Her romance with Finn is awful at best and while she makes the right call in stopping him during a critical moment, it’s also just super annoying. I was annoyed with her the entire time and that probably hurt the plot as a whole. Finn wasn’t much better though. He was seriously going to just run away. I was waiting for the twist or for him to explain that he wasn’t actually doing that…but he was seriously going to just up and run away. You can immediately see the contrast between him and Poe. Both agreed that the commander couldn’t lead her way out of a barn, but Poe decided to stay and do something about it while Finn decided to run away. Case Closed.

Finn’s just not a fun guy. Even when they go to the casino and hundreds of lives are hanging in the balance..he stops to enjoy the atmosphere and the games? You’ve got to be kidding me! It’s hard to even root for him against Captain Phasma since she always gets the shaft in these films. Why is she not able to beat Finn in a one on one fight? She’s also not experienced enough to know that turning your back to the enemy and having slower reflexes than a turtle is a bad combination. I can’t say I’m really a fan of Phasma either, but I’m convinced that the writers just don’t like her. She is intentionally treated as a joke. Finn is unintentionally treated as a joke and there’s a big difference between those two. The former can be good writing while the latter is tragic. Finn is maybe slightly better here than in the first film…maybe. In some ways you can say that he has regressed as a character.

If it’s not obvious why this plot is the weakest, it’s because there are no good character here. They break out a quirky locksmith guy, but as he’s drunk the whole time it’s not like he’s going to be much of an improvement to the cast right? He doesn’t appear for very long anyway and I have to question just how weak the imperial defenses are if some guy in jail can pick them. Shouldn’t they keep upgrading their tech at this point? The plot is easily the least relevant to the film as well and probably could have been cut with nothing actually changing. As it’s the backup plan it could have easily been wrapped up a lot sooner or just been left to the way side and the Rey plot could have changed a bit to accomodate it.

Of course, that’s the big plot. We’re finally up to Rey and her adventures with one of the worst developed characters in history the biggest traitor since Benedict Arnold the mass murderer through negligence Luke Skywalker. I can’t begin to tell you how much I can’t stand this character. It’s hard to hear the guy talk since Luke is so obnoxious. Luke is not only a traitor and mass murderer, but in general a very egotistical, arrogant guy who can’t back up any of his tough talk. He went from being a standard main character for 3 films to someone who has turned his back on the heroes and doesn’t mind if they’re all slaughtered. I’m still puzzled as to who on Earth thought it would be a good idea for him to be such a heel here. The trailer set off all of my warning bells back in the day and the film solidified them. They may as well have turned him into a Sith Lord considering what happened here. When he first rebukes Rey and tells her that what she said was wrong you want to slap him since it was a valid answer. Luke’s answer is the one that’s hogwash as he tries to tell her that the Force is just energy everywhere and all that. It’s his catchphrase as well so you’ll hear him say it again, but he’s annoying (and wrong I’d say) both times. Rey didn’t say anything that really contradicted him and lifting things is basically the Force’s greatest strength. The Force wouldn’t be nearly as good without telekinesis since you could be shot from behind without it or lose in a fight. Controlling weak minds is okay and all but it only works on the weak. You need to keep your barriers up at all times or you’re through.

What they did to Luke is just plain insulting to the original trilogy. His character has been completely warped and I can see why fans would want to pretend that this film just never happened. I still say it’s depressing that after Episode VI where we finally beat the Dark Order and the Republic got to be in control, that everything was thrown back into the status quo off screen. It’s just hard to picture and also makes the first three films entirely pointless. Take them away and now nothing has changed. I went into that a lot with Episode VII so no need to tread old ground.

Rey is still a solid main character. I liked her a lot in the last episode as she was a pretty selfless hero who wrecked Kylo Ren and used the Force pretty well. She’s a slightly weaker character here as she lets Luke and Kylo take control quite a lot. I’d like to see her ordering them around or at least holding her own a little more. Perhaps in the next film though as she is steadily growing stronger. She is still a great character regardless and I’d put her as the second best named character. She may believe in Kylo Ren’s chance at turning over a new leaf too much but that’s not something I can fault her for.

I still can’t take Kylo Ren seriously. When your first scene is getting mocked by the main villain and throwing a temper tantrum in an elevator, you’re just not the kind of villain who is ever going to command respect. His conversations with Rey also don’t help the mystique angle as he just seems like someone who is being led around by forces he cannot comprehend. Kylo Ren can fight of course, but I’d still say that Rey should be able to beat him and so he shouldn’t be much of a threat to any of the higher fighters. The Red Agents should have obliterated him.

I’ve always liked the Red Guards. Those guys have awesome designs and have been a big part of the Star Wars background for a long time. How they didn’t defeat Rey and Kylo I’ll never know. I can understand Rey beating them, but Kylo? He should have gotten wrecked the instant the fight started and yet they acted as if he may be a little stronger than Rey now. I dunno about that, but I was really satisfied wit the fight scene. It’s easily the highlight of the movie. I’ve been waiting for a modern day Lightsaber fight for so long. It’s not quite as solid as the fights from the prequels yet, but we’re getting there. I imagine it’ll take time to get the choreography quite up to that level, but by the next film they should have it down. While Star Wars may not revolve around the Lightsabers, I think it should. That’s why I’ve always been a fan of the franchise and that’s why I like the prequel era so much. The Jedi vs Sith wars were a blast and nowadays you only really get to see that in the video games. If this is any indication of what will happen in Episode IX, then I’m all set for that.

Emperor Snook is pretty disappointing though. He doesn’t get to fight and is heavily nerfed so Kylo won’t look too bad. The character had a lot of potential so it was rather disappointing to see him go out this way. He has to lose at some point so I wouldn’t mind a Rey and Kylo team up against him, but at least some kind of fight. He’s a Sith Lord! The guy should be crazy strong. At least he has some hype though. The only other villain left is Hux and he’s effectively comic relief. The film did a good job of making him look part monkey to an extent though, bravo!

This plot was the best thanks to the fight scene. The Luke and Rey scenes were fairly dull though and the characters didn’t really do anything for a while. She’d ask him some questions, he’d ignore her. Rinse and repeat for roughly an hour. Rey did go into a cave, but nothing actually happened there so it was basically filler. Luke spent the whole subplot embarrassing himself as well so the longer it went on the worse it got for him. Even the flashback with Kylo makes him look terrible. He looks painfully weak and I’ll never be able to take him seriously again since this was allegedly Luke at his prime. Luke should blame himself for what happened since it really was his fault, at least when you look at the scene that’s the impression I got. He should have done a much better job of leading. Luke gets so bad that even the Sith complement him on making their job easier. I almost thought his final scenes had some plot hax, but the film handled it well so I have no complaints there.

The plots all merge by the end so for Episode IX we should finally have the full cast assembled. It’ll be nice to see the characters think up a battle plan as a team for a change. That being said, the war seems like it’s pretty much over. There basically aren’t enough people still alive to form a resistance since everyone was murdered so they’re going to need to just rely on Rey. She can take on an army on her own so the others should just sit tight and try to learn how to be Jedi in the meantime. Otherwise, it’s hard to see how they will really be able to contribute, but with the timeskip maybe the rest of the planets will send more cannon fodder to the heroes to beef up their ranks. You can’t help but feel bad for those guys, but they knew what they were signing up for.

So where does this rank in the Star Wars films? Well, I’d consider Episode IV, VII, III, and Rogue One to be the 4 strongest by far and in that order. Next up I’d place this one followed up Episode V, VI, and I. Episode II is all the way below and I doubt/hope a Star Wars film never reaches that low again. So at 5th place out of 9 that’s not bad at all. I fully expect the next Star Wars film to beat this one, but I guess we’ll see what effect bringing back the old writer will have. I do wonder just how much the writers like to mess with the script and what the last writer did to their benefit. After all, only the writers and executives are likely going to know how the film was “supposed” to go so we can only speculate. Whatever happens, I just want a lot of action so deliver that without falling into any landmines and I should be good. Pull another Luke Skywalker twist and that will just be sad.

I think it’s safe to say that big Star Wars fans will appreciate this title a lot more than a typical action fan. There are likely a ton of cameos and references thrown for these guys. I picked up on some, but for others I have no idea. As the plot doesn’t move too much, you’re supposed to get hyped over each character and what they’re doing. Since I didn’t like half of the characters I was supposed to like it didn’t work as well on me as it was supposed to. That shouldn’t be a big problem if you’re super into the franchise. After all, it’s not like I gave most of the films positive scores. That being said, if you’re especially a big fan of the original trilogy then there’s the chance that the opposite will be true and you’ll see this one as insulting its legacy. The only way to find out is to watch the film.

While the camera work is good for scenes like the Red Room where it’s very atmospheric, I’m not sure about the directing for the characters. It may not be the director, but I’m not sure who’s in charge of this. All of the characters seem to be out of breath all the time. It’s borderline distracting and this was an issue in Episode VII as well. Just think back to the first trailer for that one where the cliffhanger every time was Finn really out of breath trying to get up. (Always thought that was a weak scene btw) That happens here to basically everyone. It’s like the director tells them to all go for a job right before filming each scene. I just don’t get it and it’s a problem that I only really notice for Star Wars. The film also really overdoes the close ups on each character. We don’t need to see their faces in such intense detail to understand that the scene is intense. A standard far shot will suffice.

The movie uses a lot of the classic themes from the old films. They still sound as good as they ever did, but the movie still seems to be relying on nostalgia here as opposed to coming up with new tracks. I can’t recall any new tracks that were memorable or epic during the scenes. I only remember the iconic themes that play during the movie. Still, they’re enough for me to consider the film to have a pretty solid soundtrack. The visuals are pretty nice as well. The space fights are epic and the lightsabers are solid as well. Now all we need is a city like New York and we’ll really be all set!

The writing is quite solid. Ignoring the talking animals and robots who use grunts to say nothing while sounding deep, the humans all seem pretty good. There’s not a lot of random language at all and in general I don’t remember characters swearing. It probably happens, but certainly not all that frequently if so and it makes the film a lot more peaceful to watch. It definitely helps the characters as well. There’s no real animal violence here either although Chewy was a pretty bad character in this film for actually cooking an animal off screen. Considering what planet he is on, it came off as really insensitive. He’s not as bad as Groot, but he definitely had no real role in this story. Yoda’s cameo is a lot more satisfying with his fans and I’d say he looked good. Anyone who zaps something Luke’s a fan of is okay in my book and it was just a really great thing of him to do in general. If Yoda can look like this in the future, he may become more tolerable.

One pattern you’ll quickly notice in this film is that the rebellious characters are the best ones. Poe defies orders to quickly take command and it’s a great scene. Rey impulsively decides to head for the main villain’s base against Luke’s command (ha!) and while the plan doesn’t go well at first, I can agree with the notion. She’s confident in her abilities and certainly wasted no time in arriving there. It’s amazing how quickly she got there honestly and I was glad to see someone was taking charge. It’s similar to when Luke defied Yoda to go save his friends. It’s always the right option and always a blast to see even if it rarely goes too well for the hero.

I think the real issue that hurts this film a lot is the fact that it has virtually no replay value. It’s the kind of film that you really wouldn’t want to see twice because there isn’t really a reason to. There are a couple of big scenes where a character almost dies but doesn’t. I suppose it’s dramatic if you think they are going to die but since you would know better the 2nd time around it loses the impact. You could say the same for many films, but this one in particular really builds up the scene to the death as it drags on for a while to get maximum effect. Since you know these scenes are red herrings the next time, you’ll just want them to get on with it. It’s a really long film that feels like a long film. In the same way that some mysteries are hurt by watching them twice while others keep the replay value, this is just one of those action films that works best as a 1 time experience. It’s a natural consequence of upping the drama but maybe you can make an argument that the enhancement to the film the first time around is worth it. Not sure I’d argue that, but it’s there.

Overall, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a good film. It’s hampered by its long run time and fairly weak cast, but still has enough strengths to carry it over the hill. Poe and Rey are two solid heroes and that’s enough to help keep the film going. The fight scene we get with Rey vs the Red Guards is pretty fun and hopefully we’ll get more action in the next film. Now that certain characters shouldn’t be appearing anymore, the cast should get a lot stronger for the next film. Since it is also the end of the trilogy I’m expecting a lot more action. We got 1 Lightsaber fight and maybe 2 space fights. I’d like to see us double that number in the sequel, especially the lightsaber fight. I want an extended Force battle where Rey has to use her full arsenal. Anyway, I’d recommend the film to any action fan but if you’re a Star Wars fan then it goes without saying that you need to watch this one.

Overall 6/10


Star Wars The Force Unleashed II Stats and Records

Stats Time (Not much tho)

Trophies 21/51
12/14 Lightsabers

Star Wars The Force Unleashed II Review

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

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Stats and Records

Stats time! The Play time should actually be higher, but apparently the game auto saves don’t actually count as saves and as such don’t count play time. When I go through the game again for the trophies, I’ll have to remember to save manually.

Play Time 4h 36m

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Review

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 The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes Stats and Records

Stats time!

21/50 Trophies
Droids Destroyed as Jedi 1315
Droids Destroyed as Clone 669
Falls 112
Challenges 3
Deaths 141
Destroyed Battle Droids 1270
Destroyed Super Battle Droids 363
Destroyed Destroyer Droid 48
Destroyed Spider Droid 68
Destroyed Crab Droid 36
Destroyed Chameleon Droid 85
Destroyed Sabotage Droid 76
Destroyed Magna Guard 28
Destroyed Vulture Guard 5
Destroyed Octuptarra Droid 4
Jumps 1848
Droid Jumps 85
Actor Jumps 4
Boost Jumps 17
Melee Attacks 1370
Rounds Fired 4768
Grenades 83
Rockets 41
Force Points 152160
Run Distance 46495
Hover Distance 551

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes Review

It’s time for another title set in the Clone Wars. Republic Heroes may be the first Star Wars game that I’ve played on the PS3, but it ended up being the weakest installment in this saga. I don’t know why, but it just couldn’t hang with the others. I blame it on the game’s poor gameplay mechanics and lackluster plot. It’s still a solid game that will last you for a reasonable amount of time, but I was expecting a little more since we are now in the modern era.

The game has you split up into several groups. It appears that Count Dooku is up to something again and he sends Ventress off to cause some havoc. Cad and Kul are also fighting over a weapon of mass destruction. I don’t think we ever actually learn what it does to be honest. Well, Anakin and Ahsoka go to check things out while Obi Wan and a Jedi master I’m not familiar with head to a space station. Two other Jedi Mastered investigate the canyons and along the way the Clone soldiers do their best to help out as well. The heroes have spread themselves rather thin, but they’re always ready for danger. Hopefully they are prepared!

Here’s why the plot sags behind the others…there are no hype moments. The original Wii game was a blast because of the stellar soundtrack and the tough talk between all of the characters. It worked really well as a result. The DS game worked because of the fun gameplay and I really enjoyed the Shadow sisters as villains. The problem with this game is that none of the villains are particularly interesting. They don’t feel like threats either. Cad is a guy with a gun…so he shouldn’t last long. Kul is a robot who has a lot of weapons, but it seems like it’d be an easy matter for the Jedi to swing him around. That just leaves Ventress and Dooku but since they lose in all of the games I don’t think we’re meant to take them too seriously anymore. The banter between the characters can still be pretty fun and the characters aren’t bad, but the plot could use a little work.

The gameplay is 3D hack and slash. You have to fight your way through large armies of droids as you try to keep your wits about you. There is a lot of variety as you will play as both Jedi and Clones as well as ride hovercraft and large robots. You can also jump onto any enemy to control it and force others to try and oppose it. You can use your Force abilities or go in close for the lightsaber. The Force is incredibly overpowered here so the game got that part down pat. To make up for this, it doesn’t give you all that much money so if you want to buy a lot of stuff in the shop you should stick to close quarters combat. I was able to buy everything anyway at the end and I used a lot of The Force so money isn’t a huge issue. Even if you don’t have enough by the end you can probably just replay a level and you’ll be good to go.

It’s fun to mow down legions of enemies with your blade. The game can feel like a mini beat em up at times due to this. That’s also why the Force waves are fun as you can send about 6-10 enemies flying with a single hit. Unfortunately the gameplay can also be a weakness. The title uses an odd auto jump system where your character will lock on to an object and try to land in a controlled arc when you jump. The problem is that the character can’t decide what to do right away so a lot of times he unlocks right as you jump and you plunge to your death. You always have to wait a second before jumping to make sure that you don’t flal. It feels rather odd and it’s a weird part of the game. I had a ton of deaths that way.

Fortunately, there are no real deaths here. Each character has infinite lives and even if both die at the same time, you’re still fine. I am playing on the first difficulty though so maybe that changes later. I wasn’t about to start the campaign on hard after all. It’s pretty useful I admit even if it maybe does make the game a little too easy. I did die over 140 times according to the stats though so I probably got sloppy thanks to it as well. The game just doesn’t explain things too well at times like how to defeat the large droids. That kind of messed me up at times and those bosses would take ages. Just remember to jump on the enemy when in doubt since it automatically destroys most of them.

The main campaign has around 35-40 levels and each of them is about 5-10 minutes long. That will last you for a good amount of time and getting all of the PS3 trophies will add in some replay value as well. There are a lot of collectibles to grab so keep a sharp eye while in the levels. The more that you grab now, the less that you’ll have to worry about in the future right? I grabbed as many as I could, but I believe that I may still be missing around 30 or so.

I wouldn’t say that the graphics are all that good. They look like a Wii game rather than a PS3 one. They haven’t really aged well I’ll admit. It’s not like they’re awful or anything though, they’re still good enough. The blasters and attacks look good at any rate. The soundtrack is rather limited. It uses a lot of the same themes from the other two games. Surprisingly, the only good theme in the game was the end credits tune. That one was surprisingly amazing so I’m a little sad that they saved it for the credits. It should have been used for the actual game if you ask me.

I’ll give the game credit for handling the Force well though. This game probably had the best application of it from all the games that I’ve played so far. It was actually very useful the whole time and didn’t feel like a tacked on feature. There were also no artificial moments made to make the game longer. Every level was direct and to the point. I can definitely appreciate the game’s honesty there. I’ll take a 6 hour game with no repeating levels than a 30 hour one where it is just the same level over and over again.

Overall, Star Wars Republic Heroes is a good game. It could have easily been a great game if the gameplay was smoother and the story was more interesting, but it tripped up there. There’s no way I’d die 140+ times if the gameplay had been smooth. It feels a bit like a cash in at times, but you can tell that some effort was still put into the game. It at least feels like a real game and the levels go by fairly quick. The developers certainly had a bunch of ideas as the game introduces new features even near the end of the game. It’s interesting to see a tutorial message pop up when you’re in the final act. It may not have all worked and they should have used some more time to refine the actual platforming element of the game, but it’s a nice package overall. I’d recommend getting it. It’s not the best Star Wars game on the market, but it’ll introduce you to all of the core concepts.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Jedi Alliance Stats and Records

Stats time!

Level Stats

Sedawan 2/10 Medals
Rodia 3/10 Medals
Coruscant 4/10 Medals
Rodia 3/10 Medals
Christophsis 4/10 Medals
Dathomir 2/10 Medals
Christophsis 3/10 Medals
Dathomir 2/10 Medals
Devastation 3/10 Medals

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Jedi Alliance Review

After a long break, it’s finally time to take a look at the next Star Wars game. This title keeps us in the Clone Wars which is the best era in the Star Wars mythos. I know what you’re thinking…how can the prequels have the best timeline? I’ve thought about that myself and it all boils down to the fact that it felt more like a cool Sci-Fi franchise back then. There were a ton of Sith and Jedi fighting it out along with a bunch of other factions who could use light sabers. In Episode IV and beyond, there aren’t really Jedi or Sith anymore so we don’t get a bunch of fights. There are less variables and pieces on the board. That’s why I like this part of the series. Starting from when Anakin became a Jedi to when Darth Vader was in his early days. That’s the best period in the series even if it wasn’t handled too well in the movies.

The Nightsisters have stolen important cargo from the Jedi. It’s a power source that uses the Force and they are going to put it in a weapon that can destroy entire worlds. The Jedi council decides to do something about it so they send in Anakin and Obi Wan. Moreover, they bring in a few other Jedi to assist them when they learn that Count Dooku and other Sith members are involved. It’s a decently large cast and each of the 3 main villains are a serious threat. The leader of the Nightsisters ends up being the most formidable threat as she decides to blow up the planet on her own. Dooku gets some hype since he stays standing after her attack, but he did run off rather quickly.

The game’s cutscenes are a little cheesy when the narrator explains what’s happening. I could have done without him so be honest since he has absolutely no enthusiasm for the game. The actual cutscenes were pretty good though. It’s impressive that the game had voice acting and it helped make the story feel more real. I also thought the actual plot was a lot of fun. Whether these Nightsisters are created for the game or exist in the comics/TV show as well, they were great antagonists. Their designs were really cool and they got a lot of solid lines. Their leader is probably one of my favorite Star Wars villains. I guess I’d put her 4th behind Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Jango Fett. It’ll be hard to defeat those 3. She gained my respect when even Anakin and Mace didn’t want to risk a confrontation with her.

The graphics aren’t amazing, but few DS games are. To this day, Mario 64 DS, One of the Kingdom Heart titles, or Ghost Trick probably leads in this category. Still, it looks reasonable and the game excels during the actual combat. The sword swings are handled pretty well when you engage opponents and the level designs aren’t bad either. This title shines even more with the soundtrack. It has some recycled themes from the other Star Wars Clone Wars games, but also some original one. The cool rock theme that plays when you infiltrate the Nightsister base is really good and gave the level an epic feel. It was my favorite level for that reason and it certainly one of the most hype moments in a Star Wars game.

What hurts the game a bit is the gameplay. The actual platforming can be a little boring since the characters move very slowly. Imagine walking in a Mario game without being allowed to run. That’s their max walking speed in this game and you can’t go any faster. This makes going from place to place a little tedious or at least more than it should have been. There are little minigames that you play to deactivate computers and such like connecting the symbols and connect the circles. They were all right. I don’t think the game needed them, but they were short enough to not really get in the way.

The actual combat is all right although it’s a little repetitive. You keep tapping the screen to hit your opponent and you tap high or low depending where you want to hit. The computer will block everything 100% of the time so you just have to swing until he/she gets tired. Then you actually land some damage and repeat the process. It makes for a fun visual with the constant attacks and I found it to be reasonably enjoyable. It’s just very limited. You have Force abilities but don’t actually use them in combat except for certain bosses who are impervious to any other attack. That was a bit of a missed opportunity since I love wielding the light sabers.

I should mention that you always control the characters through the touch screen. I prefer moving with the control pad myself. This only becomes a problem during the quick time events. Yes, the game actually has a bunch of quick time events which is extremely impressive. I can’t think of any other game that implemented them. Unfortunately, the screen doesn’t always work well. I think this was more on my console than the game as the screen is likely pretty bruised by now. Still, having to repeat an entire section a bunch of times because of that can be a little annoying.

There is some very mild replay value here but not much. You can replay the levels to earn medals, but I don’t really know how you even get the medals. They’re related to challenges in the level I suppose like defeating a certain amount of enemies or something. I can’t say that I’m too interested in trying that. The game’s story was of a reasonable length though. It’ll last you a few good hours and the price is low so it’s not a bad buy.

Overall, The game was pretty fun. It was ahead of its time in some ways, but that also meant that the gameplay styles could be a little rusty like the Quick Time Events. The sword clashing was interesting and while it may not have been the best, it was fun for a while. The game likely benefits from not being too long or the repetition could have begun to really show. I’d definitely recommend buying this Star Wars game. It has likely flown under the radar compared to the more popular titles, but it can hold its own with the solid story it presents and the fun soundtrack that accompanies it. It’s a well made game.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Lost Stars

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