The Force Unleashed II reviewed

By Cam Shea

Star Wars The Force Unleashed II

FOR Star Wars fans, 2008's The Force Unleashed was more than just a video game. It was an introduction to an important new character: Starkiller, Darth Vader's secret apprentice.

Set after Revenge of the Sith and before A New Hope, The Force Unleashed represented a crucial bridge between the two.

In it, Starkiller was given the task of hunting down the last of the Jedi, but ultimately turned his back on Vader and sacrificed himself to save the rebel alliance.

Despite his untimely demise the character returns for the sequel, thanks to the revelation that he's merely a clone of the original Starkiller. Is this true? And what has happened to Juno Eclipse, his love interest from the first game?

These are the primary questions of The Force Unleashed II, which will tell a more personal, character-driven story than the original.

Hunted by Vader and on a quest for the truth, action is still very much Starkiller's focus, however. His abilities have been increased and he now wields twin lightsabers, which means a brand new fighting style and faster combat.

His Force powers are more spectacular than ever, allowing him to do such things as freezing Tie Fighters in midflight then crushing them into balls of metal, or using the Jedi mind trick to turn his enemies into allies or send them leaping to their deaths.

Combat is designed to be flexible, so Starkiller can combine powers in a variety of ways. The lightning grenade, for example, allows him to force-grip an enemy, charge him with lightning and then throw him at other enemies for explosive results.

Using Starkiller's full suite of moves won't just be fun, but crucial to succeeding in combat. Imperial riot troops, for example, have staffs that can deflect lightsaber attacks, so Force powers will be a better option, and the Carbonite War Droid has a huge shield that players will need to force-grip while attacking from long range to avoid being frozen by its Carbonite gun.

Throw in spectacular graphics and effects, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II could be the sequel fans are clamouring for.

The game will be in stores on November 3, and will be at its most impressive on PS3 and Xbox 360.