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Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: Intel @ 2400 MHz    RAM: 999 MB    Hard Disk: 9999 MB    DVD-ROM    Graphics: 256 MB VRAM

Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition
July 14, 2010 | Franklin Pride

Click to enlarge

Star Destroyer Boss

Mac OS X: 10.5.8 | CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Dual-Core) | RAM: 2 GB | Hard Disk: 25 GB + 1 GB Swap File | Graphics: 256 MB, ATI X2600 or NVIDIA 8600

Over the years there have been many ports of console games to the PC and Macintosh. These ports faced many challenges, like variable hardware, interfaces not designed for a mouse, and key mappings that often made it extremely hard to play on a keyboard. Some ports overcame their challenges, but many more did not. The question is, does Aspyr Media and LucasArts's Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition rise to the occasion, or does it get bogged down in console to computer incompatibilities?

Sadly, it's more the latter than the former. One of the first things you'll notice when you start the game is that it has a series of side-scrolling or rotating menus. This makes it quite a bit more annoying to find the selection you're looking for, and it has no built-in technique for switching using the mouse. This is reflected throughout the game, as you're expected to use your mouse like an analog stick.

In addition, until you memorize the menu keys, you can easily find yourself stuck trying to figure out how to get details on powers you've selected, how to save the game, and how to use your various powers. The in-game aids are a little helpful, but they unfortunately don't reflect any changes you've made in the key-mapping. As a result, if you don't remember that you switched a power to a different key, you can easily find yourself desperately mashing a button just to fail at one of the many combos. This was particularly annoying when the force grab ability was switched from the right mouse button to a keyboard button, as you have to keep reminding yourself what the interface really means.

On the plus side, when you finally get used to the keys and interface (or if you have a gamepad), The Force Unleashed is pretty entertaining. One of the more entertaining sections of each Jedi release has always been your force powers. There's nothing quite like turning an enemy into a force lightning explosive, grabbing a stormtrooper, throwing him into the groups of waiting enemies, and then charging them all for a quick series of force pushes to finish them off. You really feel like you're a Jedi when a simple push can crush enemies to death through their armor.

Of course, this does tend to lead to a rather shallow difficulty curve. On normal, most people will find it extremely easy to spend the entire game blocking, jumping, and then just using force lightning to wipe out every enemy and boss in the game. On the occasions the boss uses force powers of their own, you just shrug them off when blocking. However, they almost always fall for force lightning and even allow you to do a minigame for extra damage if they use a force power at the same time. Some of the bosses throw additional enemies at you, but those just refill any health you've lost and die to lightning just as easily. The only real threats are the few enemy types that have shields against all force powers, as you have to use your lightsaber and get close enough for them to hit back. TFU isn't much harder on hard, either.

As a result, the length of The Force Unleashed is rather short. Even with the additional levels included as bonus content, the game won't give you more than a few days of casual play. You might get killed once or twice by the enemies with lightsaber-resistant armor or the ones immune to force powers, but the overall game can easily be completed with little time spent replaying an area.


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