Star Wars The Force Unleashed Ultimate Sith Edition (Xbox 360) Preview
Posted by Jon Seddon on 08.31.2009
Is the new edition of the fastest selling Star Wars game ever worth looking at?
Warning: This preview contains significant spoilers for those of you that haven't played through to the end of The Force Unleashed. If that's you, then go and do this now and come back as it is a very good game.
The Ultimate Sith Edition is a full retail release that contains the original game, the DLC costumes and the Jedi Temple DLC level. More interestingly, it also includes two completely new levels which extend the story and another set of new threads.
One of the levels, which I'll refer to as Tatooine is going to be released as DLC (as early as today). The other level, which I'll refer to as Hoth will be exclusive to the retail disc, which means you have a difficult choice to make if you have already downloaded the Jedi Temple. Do you download Tatooine, and then buy the Sith Edition or do you wait until the Sith Edition and then just buy that? For people fresh to the game, it should be an easy choice to make as from what was shown to me, the added levels just make a good game better. Regardless, expect to see a flood of the original game for sale second hand about now.
So here's the massive spoiler. The two new levels play out a "what if?" scenario which assumes your character, Starkiller killed Darth Vader at the end of the original game and has now supplanted him as The Emperor's stooge.
Unlike the Jedi Temple level, which played out as a bit of a filler side-quest on Starkiller's search for Jedi, the two new levels look like they change the plot of both A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. If that doesn't excite the true Star Wars fan then you're already lost.
The following contains some plot spoilers (although I'll try not avoid it where I can) for both the new missions, so skip to the last paragraph if you just want to know whether to get excited.
Tatooine begins above the planet with the Star Destroyer capturing the Leia's rebel ship and the escape pods heading to the surface. Here you make your entrance as you head to the surface and begin the hunt, although at this point it wasn't clear whether you were hunting Obi Wan or just the droids. Your search brings you into contact with first Jawas and then Sand People, allows for some spectacular use of your force powers and eventually leads you to Jabba's palace. Here you get to fight Jabba's pet rancor and then our demo ended. We were promised appearances from Boba Fett (Slave 1 lands at Jabba's palace as you approach) and an eventual battle with Obi Wan.
This level should be available by the time you read this for 800 Microsoft Points or the real money equivalent on the PlayStation Network.
The other level begins with the famous Hoth ground battle with a full recreation of AT-AT awesomeness. Once you see this, it's hard to not want to buy the Sith Edition. Again, you are on a mission to eradicate for The Emperor and you make your entrance from the belly of an AT-AT. It's worth saying that at this point Starkiller is beginning to look very much like Darth Vader in his black garb.
You initially have to gain entrance to Echo Base and you have no interest in waiting for the shield generator to be knocked out. Instead, you find an underground passage to take you there, but unfortunately it is full of unstable terrain and Hoth's Wampa creatures. Those are the big white creatures that were nearly the end for Luke Skywalker. Once past this tricky section, which took the developer 3 attempts to get through, entry to the base proper is obtained. Here you battle Rebel soldiers before bursting into a large room where the true scale of the battle raging outside can be seen. It looks fantastic by the way. Once through here you burst into another section where you confront by Luke Skywalker and the power button was hit and that was as much as we were allowed to see.
According to the developers, both of these levels are longer than the Jedi Temple and both seem full of outstanding set pieces and combat. It's not doing anything more mechanically than the first game, but some of the lighting looks a little better and we were promised that the controls have been tweaked slightly. As I didn't get to play through either level from start to finish, I don't know how much extra game play this represents. If you are a fan of the original release and haven't bought any of the DLC, it might be worth waiting for this Ultimate Sith Edition, which will probably be released in October. However, I do think it's very anti-fan for Lucasarts to not make the Hoth level available as DLC.