That’s right, nearly 14 years after its official release, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is being re-released on the Nintendo Switch. A long time ago in a gaming climate far far away, Disney had yet to purchase the Star Wars IP and LucasArts was still somewhat involved in the ongoing development and growth of its extended universe that existed at the time. One project within this plan for this form of aggressive expansion was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
The thought behind The Force Unleashed was that it would be the first in a series of games that would bridge the two movie trilogies. The plan was to immerse players in the story better than anything that had been done before. At the time it was an ambitious and possibly genius venture. It did win awards and get a sequel, though it wasn’t as welcomed or loved as its predecessor; that’s a story for another day.
Before we get into the nostalgic retouched release of this beloved game experience, I feel I must catch you up on which version of the game this is, seeing that originally there were at least eight different versions that were released during its hay-day. They all had distinct content and features, so much so that some versions were altogether different games.
The Force Unleashed port that we are getting here on the Nintendo Switch is an upscaled version from the original Nintendo: Wii which is mostly the same version from the Sony PS2 & PSP handheld systems, but there is the addition of motion controls and an exclusive PvP local multi-player mode. Which has come to be expected on many ports to the Nintendo Switch. This nostalgic trip was made possible by developer Aspyr and Lucasfilm Games partnering with Limited Run Games to release physical Standard, Premium and Master editions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the Nintendo Switch. Both the Premium and Master editions include a number of exclusive items for fans and collectors.
The Force Unleashed story is one you’ve heard of before, but never witnessed. You are playing as Gaylan Marick, otherwise known as Starkiller, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice who has been set out on a dangerous mission to hunt down and destroy the Jedi. The riveting untold story is set in the time between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
As the secret apprentice you are used as a tool for Darth Vader to eventually overthrow the Emperor. So you are sent on various missions to hunt down the remaining Jedi that are still hiding out across the galaxy and solidify Darth Vader’s position for when he is ready to truly follow the Rule of Two and take down the Emperor. It is unfortunate that the events that do take place here are officially non-canon and are considered “Legends” since Disney decided that it was too complicated.
The Force Unleashed gameplay does take a hack and slash approach with quick time events as finishing moves. Let’s talk about what the people really want; LIGHT SABER CONTROLS using the Nintendo Joy-Con motion controls. Motion is done via lightsaber attacks with your right hand by default, and force abilities on your left. Right handed slashes are tied to different movements (like a forward motion for a thrust), while left handed jerking triggers a force push, with the ability to use lightning and other force powers with triggers/buttons.
It’s a great compromise in terms of controller freedom, allowing motion and non-motion, leaving the gameplay experience up to you. Your light saber has a variety of combos that you can chain together while unlocking the knowledge of how to wield it throughout the game.
The Duel Mode, despite sharing many of the same shortcomings, is perhaps the best feature. There is plenty of fun to be had in playing as Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade, Qui-Gon Jinn, Vader, and many others, and it supports local multiplayer for family fun.
Some may complain that the game offers no incentives to check out the mode, and when they do, it doesn’t expand much beyond its initial concept. I say it shouldn’t have to. It’s lightsaber dueling, that in itself is the incentive. It’s a fourteen year old game, you know what you’re getting. If for some reason you were clueless about this perfect purchase for only $19.99. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed’s biggest draw is nostalgia with this Switch port. Many have good memories of the game from its original release in 2008.
Check out the key features being listed as selling points from the developer.
The Force Unleashed Key Features
- Play as Darth Vader’s secret apprentice and destroy all who stand in your way on your quest to serve Lord Vader.
- Unleash epic Force powers and lightsaber combos with optional Nintendo Switch Joy-Con motion controls.
- Battle your friends in local multiplayer Duel Mode to determine the galaxy’s most powerful Jedi, with 27 characters to choose from!
- Travel the Star Wars galaxy and defeat powerful Jedi Masters across a variety of iconic locations, including Cloud City, the Wookiee homeworld Kashyyyk, the floral planet Felucia, and the junk world of Raxus Prime.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was released on April 20th for the Nintendo Switch priced at only $19.99. What do you think about this new approach to a nostalgic romp through a galaxy far far away? Did you pick up your copy, Will you be picking up one; let us know over on our social media!