Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

Gifts for Geeks: Star Wars MP3 Alarm Clock Lamps

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

If you are wondering what to get your favorite geek, check out these Star Wars Alarm Clock Lamps. I first encountered these at Think Geek, where I was disappointed that Darth Vader was sold out. Fortunately there are alternatives. Amazon has Vader, a Stormtrooper, and Boba Fett. has them too, though they’re a little more expensive there.

So, what do you get for your (roughly) $50?

  • Lamp
  • LED Digital Alarm clock
  • Speaker output for MP3 players
  • Nodnik-style body

While I’d prefer a lower price-point, this is definitely on my Christmas list. If you have a Star Wars geek on your list, this should make a nice addition to their collection.

Review – Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Having recently finished my Platinum trophy for the Force Unleashed 2 on PS3 I thought I’d come back and give a more comprehensive review on the game. I reviewed the demo a while back (see review here), and the demo was fairly true to the game. The game is all about carnage, and it delivers. For those of you that are ready to start your holiday shopping, I’ll start with the bottom line: I really enjoyed this game and recommend it for your favorite Star Wars geek. That being said, let’s get into the finer details.

As in the demo, the game starts in Kamino at the cloning facility. Starkiller learns that he is a clone and suffers from flashbacks from his predecessor. After failing to kill a drone version of Juno, Vader opts to kill him off. Starkiller will have none of that, fries Vader with lightning and jumps out a window for a pretty spectacular free-fall scene. The game continues, bigger and better than the original. See the image below for one of the bosses.

The pros:

  • Great visuals
  • Smooth cutscene transitions
  • Ability to skip cutscenes (albeit after waiting for the next screen to load)
  • Destructible scenery
  • Requires better strategy than first game
  • Challenge modes to make up for short story
  • Less repetition for special kills
  • Easier holocron location

The cons:

  • Short story
  • Must view cut-scene for powers you already have on replay.
  • Limited story

In my opinion, there were more pros than cons. The first game got pretty repetitive with the rancors and droids, and the guided fatalities, for lack of a better word, got pretty old. The sequel continues this approach, but less often and with much easier opponents. You end up being far less frustrated.

The worst part of the game was the replay. I was at level three on all my powers and still had to wait for the cut-scene where I initially gained the power the first time through.

The fighting was improved this time around. You really needed to use more than one power to get through the game, as advertised. Some adversaries were Force-sensitive, so you had to use your lightsabers. Others could block your lightsabers and you had to use the Force. I liked the range of enemies fairly well. The destructible scenery was a nice bonus too. As you gather lightsaber crystals you can focus on the fighting style you’d like. One crystal offers increased disintegration possibilities, while another recovers Force power quickly. Having two lightsabers helps, as you can have one for destruction and one for health.

The transitions between levels were really smooth. The visuals and cinematics bring you into the story. I was fully immersed in the game as I played it. I wish the story explained a little more. Presumably the third installment will answer some of the new questions, if it is released. Early indications are that the third one may not happen.

The first downloadable content is on its way in December. For $1 you get to take on the Ewoks on the Endor moon. For those fans who consider the Ewoks to be as annoying as Jar Jar Binks, this will be a worthy addition to the game. You can take out all your pent-up aggression for their inclusion in Return of the Jedi nearly 30 years ago. The content looks pretty interesting, and for a buck it is a no-brainer for me. The DLC will be available for Xbox Live and PSN.

Overall, I think the game is worth it. The Platinum trophy was a little easier than I expected, but I still had a lot of fun getting there. This game is about having fun, and unleashing the Force in a grandiose way. There are challenges for those who want them, but it is easy for a beginner to pick up and enjoy. If you have a Star Wars fan on your Christmas list, this one should make a great gift.

Review: The Force Unleashed 2 Demo

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

The Force Unleashed 2 Demo is now available on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. I tested it out on my PS3 last night. The file was fairly large, and it took a while to download. It installed quickly though once the download was complete. I imagine there was a lot of demand for the demo that had something to do with the download time.

The demo begins with a scene between Starkiller and Darth Vader. Starkiller is revealed to be a clone, and has some memory flashes from the character you played in the first game. Vader explains that it is part of the cloning acceleration process and will go away. You then get to learn your basic controls in a combat simulation. You get a feel for Starkiller’s conflicting emotions, and Vader opts to try again with a new clone, terminating the clone you’ve just gotten to know. This leads to an escape sequence that gives you a better grasp of your new-found abilities.

Throughout the demo your character experiences game-stopping flashes with memories of his former self. I thought this was okay for an initial stage, but I hope it doesn’t continue throughout the game. It does help to move the demo along though.

New to the sequel are the Jedi Mind Trick, dual lightsabers, and Force Fury. The Jedi Mind Trick is a bit dark, so you may want to monitor or restrict younger children’s game time. Using the mind trick you can convince a Stormtrooper to jump through a window, or off a ledge to his doom. You can also convince him to attack his peers. The action is automatic depending on where your character is standing. If you are on a ledge, he’ll jump off. If you are by a window, he’ll jump through.

Another darker feature is the improved lightsaber. This one actually severs limbs, unlike every Star Wars game prior to this one. I expected to remove the arms off the Stormtroopers. I found out in short order that you can also remove their heads. I found this out with my 4 year old watching, so I don’t expect to be playing this before his bed-time again. This is definitely a grown-up version of Star Wars.

With your new force abilities, the battles get more intense in the sequel. You take on multiple AT-STs at once, using force lightning and force fury to destroy them. There are Stormtroopers who can block your lightsaber, requiring a creative use of force powers, whether with lightning or simply tossing them off a ledge.

The gameplay is pretty straightforward, and if you played the original, you can get back into the groove quickly. I enjoyed learning the new powers. This game has the potential to be even better than the first one, and that is saying a lot. The demo is really short, but you won’t have to wait long to buy the full game. It will be available October 26.

If you haven’t downloaded the demo yet, I’d recommend it. It was a pretty fun experience.