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You Don't Know Jack (2011) [PC]





Good game, but definitely something is missing.

7.0

Great
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Mixed reactions"

Summary

I really enjoyed playing this game because, let's face it, there is little more fun than throwing storm troopers off of high platforms. The graphics look amazing with the dual lightsaber effects, and chopping people up couldn't be more fun. Also, the levels are so destructable, that you can tell something bad went through a room once you are done with it.

However, my complaints are these: the characters are disappointing, the cut scenes don't really tell much of a story, the boss battles are lacking compared to the first (you fight no other Jedi except Darth Vader in the end), and the game is too short. The main problem with the characters is that Starkiller seems like a lost, angsty teenager, Juno... doesn't exist, and Darth Vader says the same things every time you see him ("The only true power is through the Dark Side"... blah blah blah; get a new line). I also thought the game was a little too easy. Dying really doesn't matter because you start right back where you left off, with bad guys already having the damage done to them that was done in your previous life. The game is definitely fun to play, but not amazing. I would say 7-7.5 out of 10 is just about right.




The best Force Unleashed game on any console.

8.0

Superb
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Solid"

Summary

It's been quite a Force Unleashed year for me. After working through the buggy PC port of the original game, I picked up and reviewed the Wii version of The Force Unleashed (developed by Krome Studios) a few weeks ago. Over the holiday break, I've had a chance to play most of the Xbox 360 versions of both that game and its sequel and ended up receiving the Wii version of TFU II as a Christmas gift. Is it possible to have too much Starkiller? (According to the final levels of II, the answer is definitely yes.)

Once again the Wii version is a completely different game from its HD relatives, but this time it was developed exclusively for the platform (as there are no PS2 or PSP versions of the sequel). LucasArts tackled the 360/PS3 platforms (as before) while the Wii variation was made by Red Fly Studio (who also handled the Wii version of Ghostbusters: The Video Game). The HD version of The Force Unleashed 2 has not been warmly received by critics, and it's not exactly hard to see why. Despite some very attractive art direction, the game was too repetitive, shallow and short (clocking in at less than five hours for me), with overlong boss battles and a story that disappointed many Star Wars fans. The Wii edition, however, is a whole different beast.

The plot of The Force Unleashed II is a bit strange. I wasn't the biggest fan of the original's story, but it undeniably served a purpose in the greater Star Wars mythos. The second game's narrative, however, feels like it exists merely to justify the sequel's existence. Instead of following in the footsteps of popular sci-fi sequels like The Empire Strikes Back or Aliens, the story seems to be mimicking Alien Resurrection (why would anyone want to emulate that film?). The Wii version's plot is slightly expanded over LucasArts's version, which makes sense because the Wii game is about two hours longer. A good example of this is the Dagobah mission, which is made up of thirty seconds of running and a cutscene in the HD editions. On the Wii, you'll experience extra cutscenes, play some unique jumping puzzles, battle visions of Vader's armies and so on. Not every level is expanded to this extent, but all are at least a little lengthier than in the other versions, and none are worse off for it.

One of the aspects of this game that will most quickly jump out at those who played Krome's Wii title is that Red Fly has completely done away with motion-controlled lightsaber swings. Instead, mashing the A button (or the B trigger, depending on which options you select) executes a quick lightsaber attack, while motion control is mostly used to pull off Force powers or special attacks. At first it may seem like this control scheme isn't taking full advantage of the Wii, but the over-the-top spinning moves that Starkiller now uses wouldn't have correlated well with Wiimote waggling at all. By keeping the motion controls for more Force-driven moves, it makes those attacks seem all the more unique and powerful. Additionally, waving your hand in the air for eight hours admittedly got a little tiring in the first game; the second is much more couch-potato friendly.

Other changes include the addition of regenerative health (which certainly encourages a more aggressive play style) and (with the exception of a misfired platforming section about a quarter way into the game) a much-improved camera. The latter element is especially welcome, as the sloppy camera in the first game was a far greater obstacle than any of the enemies were. Manually rotating the camera is now accomplished with the + and – buttons, which is much more comfortable than using the D-pad (like you had to in the 2008 title). Character movement is also considerably more fluid; while running around in the first game felt somewhat clunky, piloting Starkiller could hardly be easier in the second. In fact, it might be too easy - the game will actually help you along to make sure attacks that would normally be near-misses still connect. If enemies are grouped together, you can plow right through them without touching the analog stick, just letting the game pull you from enemy to enemy. Successive kills will fill up your Combo Meter, which will temporarily allow you to unleash devastating attacks (whose strength varies based on how full the meter is). Combat is simple and repetitive but also very satisfying, with some well-paced boss battles thrown in for good measure. It would have been nice to see a bit more variety in the enemy types, though - not counting the bosses, there are only twelve different kinds of enemies, with most of the game focusing on either stormtroopers or mechanical spiders (the latter feel more like they came from Stargate than Star Wars).

In the original Force Unleashed, Force powers came in two flavors: pretty-but-useless and game-breakingly powerful. The second game cuts out most of the useless powers, leaving ten Force abilities for you to discover and upgrade. The overpowered Maelstrom attack is gone, although a new power you'll get near the end of the game is almost as strong. Referred to as Force Rage, this power is essentially a temporary one-hit-kills ability with bullet time thrown in for good measure, allowing you to leap up to even the strongest Imperial walker and obliterate it in one swing. As cheap as this sounds, it can become very useful in the final level, where you might find yourself surrounded by half a dozen zombie-Sith all slashing at you all at the same time. A new ability called Force Sight allows you to solve some of the game's puzzles and deflecting shots back at the enemy is as simple as turning the remote on its side. Even better, the Wii remote can now be used to pick up and manipulate specific objects with Force Grip, eliminating the targeting problem that plagued the previous game. Force Push, on the other hand, is not as fun as before, mostly due to the fact that the Red Fly's physics engine isn't quite as robust as in Krome's effort. In my review of the original, I mentioned that I preferred constant Force Pushes to lightsaber combat, but that's certainly not true of the newer game.

Quick time events also return, although they've been totally reworked (which is a good thing, given that some of the original's QTEs were borderline broken). These sequences now involve either shaking the Wiimote and the nunchuck vigorously (which is almost impossible to fail) or swinging the remote in the designated direction. In many sequences, missing one prompt is not immediately lethal; you'll have a chance to make up for it with the next one. The end result is that the QTEs are now as fun as they are visually polished, adding some nice variety to game. To further encourage replays, levels are littered with hidden Holocrons that unlock concept art (as in the first game) and there are also unlockable GoldenEye-style cheats (like invincibility and infinite Force). It also helps that you can actually replay levels individually this time (why Krome left that feature out of the first Wii game is still a complete mystery to me).

Graphically, The Force Unleashed II is a huge improvement over its inconsistent Wii predecessor. The first game featured some extremely glitchy in-game cutscenes and really ugly outdoor levels. In contrast, the second title uses a combination of exaggerated, expressive pre-rendered cinematics and polished in-game cutscenes, making for a much more theatrical experience. Levels are more detailed than before and get ripped apart in convincing ways (especially for an early boss fight). Characters can also be dismembered now, providing an impressive visual touch to Starkiller's flashy lightsaber flurries. That said, the frame rate can sometimes take a hit in the middle of Starkiller's more damaging moves - this doesn't impact gameplay at all, but it can dampen the visual effect a bit.

As with the first game, the Wii was the only home console to receive a multiplayer component. While the original's multiplayer was a two-player fighter not unlike the Soul Calibur series, II packs a Super Smash Bros.-like four player experience, allowing players to battle each other on a two-dimensional plane. It's nowhere near as deep as the 2008 game's multiplayer, but it controls a lot better, so your mileage may vary on which experience is preferable.

All in all, Red Fly Studio's version of The Force Unleashed II is a significant improvement over the original game on the Wii platform and an even bigger improvement on the other versions of the sequel. While not without its faults (particularly in the narrative and length departments), it's likely the best non-Lego Star Wars game (of the ones that I've played) since around 2006. At the very least, it's nice to have another recent Star Wars game that has earned the cliché that is guaranteed to thrown at any good Star Wars product.

The Force is strong with this one.

+ Awesome stormtrooper-dismembering action
+ Good boss battles
+ Vastly improved controls and camera
+ Longer, more satisfying than the HD versions
+ Unlockable cheats, costumes and multiplayer add to replay value
- Still too short
- Story feels thrown-together
- Physics engine is less impressive than before

Reviewed on 1/22/2011




You don't need to be strong in the Force to see that this game is more fun than even the Boonta Eve podraces!!

10

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"All it's cracked up to be"

Summary

The Force Unleashed II picks up about a year after the events of the first game, I know this because I've also read the books. J After Starkiller's death at the end of the first game he eventually awakens in a pit on Kamino, once again in the clutches of Darth Vader and continuing his apprenticeship to the Dark Lord. Starkiller has no idea how he got there, for he thought himself dead! However, Vader informs him that he is a clone, grown thanks to the original Starkiller's leftover genetic material. But Starkiller's clone, if that is indeed the truth, is having flashbacks of the original's memories. When Vader attempts to have Starkiller destroy a Proxy droid bearing the likeness of his love, Juno Eclipse, he can't take anymore and pulls off a daring escape, fleeing Kamino by stealing Vader's own TIE Advanced starfighter! Starkiller then scours the galaxy in search of Juno and the Rebel fleet, picking up General Rahm Kota along the way. But with events being greatly manipulated by the man in black, he soon finds himself heading home to Kamino to once again face his destiny . . .

As per the usual we'll start at the main menu, from which you have four options. The first option is "Continue". Once you have started The Force Unleashed II and have a game already in progress, this is where you go to resume your game, picking up at the last uncompleted level.

The second option from the main menu is called "Story Mode", and there are a number of things you can do from here. When you first fire up The Force Unleashed II, this is the option you choose to begin a new game. Also, when you've already got a game in progress, this is where you go to replay previously completed levels. These are the two main functions of this option but there are more things you can do when you choose Story Mode, specifically there are eight sub options that will come up when you select it. The first sub option is called "Play Game". This will take you to the beginning of the last uncompleted level of your trek through the game, basically acting in the same capacity as the first option from the main menu I described in the paragraph above.

The second sub option is called "Gallery". As you work your way through the game you will unlock game concept art, the Gallery is where you go to view this art. The third sub option is "Costumes". As you work your way through the game you will also unlock additional costumes for Starkiller. By selecting this sub option you can view and then equip these different outfits. "Lightsabers" is the fourth sub option, and you've got two of them. By selecting this sub option you can view each saber and swap in and out the various different colour and power crystals you've found throughout the course of the game.

The fifth sub option is "Options". Here you can alter many of the game's settings, including adjusting the master, dialogue, effects and music volumes, adjusting the brightness, toggling subtitles and the rumble feature on/off, as well as performing an A/B button swap. Sixth is the "Difficulty" sub option, where you can choose between the four difficulty levels in the game. These difficulty levels include easy, normal, hard and unleashed (unleashed is locked at first). Next is the "Replay Level" sub option, and like I mentioned a couple of paragraphs above, this is where you go to replay previously completed levels. When you highlight a level it will show you which items you've collected already, and which items you've yet to find. The last sub option is "Cheats". There are four cheats you can enable in this game which give you powers like invulnerability, unlimited Force energy, etc. In order to unlock these cheats you have to perform certain tasks, like collecting all holocrons in the game, or fully upgrading all of your Force powers. By highlighting a locked cheat it will tell you just what task you need to perform in order to unlock it.

Back at the main menu the third option is called "Multiplayer". As you work your way through Story Mode you will notice that every once in a while you'll unlock a character or an arena for Multiplayer mode. Basically Multiplayer mode is like a street fighting option, for up to four players. When you select this option you will first be asked to choose your character. Don't read this sentence if you want to be surprised at what the character unlocks are! The available characters include Starkiller, Darth Vader, Asajj Ventress, Maris Brood, Rahm Kota, Boba Fett, a Terror Trooper and Proxy. After selecting your character you will then select the arena for battle. There are six of them in total including Mustafar Industrial Complex, Jabba's Sail Barge, Death Star Beam Tunnel, Kamino Outpost, Tarko-se Casino and Salvation Hangar. Certain arenas will have environmental obstacles that can cause you damage, at this point you will also be able to toggle that option on/off. Once you get in to the action each player has three lives, once you lose your lives you are out of the competition and the last man (woman, droid, whatever) standing wins. Powerups including Bacta Tanks and Force Energy Tanks will spawn at random throughout the course of the action.

The fourth and final option from the main menu is "Credits". Go here to view a list of the wonderful bastards who have given us yet another fantastic Star Wars video game!

Once you get in to the game itself you will find yourself wreaking Force driven havoc throughout 18 fun filled levels. Most of the levels are between a medium to semi-long length, although there are a couple of really short ones near the end, which is kind of odd. You get to visit about four different locales in this game including a lot on Kamino, a fair amount aboard Juno's ship "The Salvation", a few on Cato Neimoidia, and one lone level on Dagobah . . . where a funny little green creature we all know and love makes a brief appearance! J The premise of the game is pretty simple, advance to the end of each level, taking out everybody in your path while utilizing the plethora of Force powers available at your fingertips. There are sometimes side objectives you need to accomplish along the way, but for the most part the game is pretty straightforward. There are some things you need to look out for though. In each level there can be any combination of Holocrons, Bacta Tanks, Force Energy Tanks, Lightsaber Colour Crystals, and Lightsaber Power Crystals to find. Holocrons gain you XP points as well as unlock the game concept art I mentioned earlier. Bacta Tanks increase the total length of your health bar, while Force Energy Tanks increase the total length of your Force energy bar. Lightsaber Colour Crystals are used to change the colour of your blades, whereas Lightsaber Power Crystals when equipped to your lightsabers offer unique powerup abilities.

On the game screen there are three things you need to monitor. In the upper left corner there are two bars. The red bar is your health bar, when this runs out completely you are dead and must restart your game at the last save point. Bacta Tanks increase the overall length of this bar, but the health inside of it actually regenerates by itself over time. Below the red health bar is a blue bar, which is your Force energy bar. This bar decreases slightly each time you utilize a Force power. When it completely runs out you can't use any Force powers until it refills at least a little bit. Force Energy Tanks increase the overall length of this bar, but the energy inside of it regenerates by itself over time just like the health bar does. Moving on, in the upper right corner of the screen you will find your combo meter. When you perform attacks on your enemies and destroy them you earn XP points. As you perform consecutive attacks on your enemies this combo meter will fill and increase in rank (I believe the ranks are Padawan, Knight, Master and Unleashed). The higher your combo meter gets the more XP points you'll earn with each hit. Earning maximum XP points is very important as these are the points you trade in in order to upgrade your Force powers.

When you are in the midst of the game you will most likely utilize the pause menu frequently. When this menu comes up you have six options, the first of which is . . . "Options". This is exactly the same as the Options feature I described from the main menu, in the fifth paragraph of this review. The second option is "Cheats", once again the exact same as the Cheats option I mentioned earlier. The third option is called "Help". When you bring it up there are a number of subject categories you can select from that will offer you aid if you are having trouble. These categories range from info on your Force powers, to how your combo meter works, to how to work the camera controls. And beyond!

The fourth option on the pause menu is "Customize". Here you can do two things. First, you can purchase "Force Upgrades". All of your Force powers (including Force Lightning, Saber Throw, Force Grab, Force Push, Force Repulse, Mind Trick, Force Rage, Force Sight and Force Dash . . . I may have missed one or two but I think I pretty much got them all) can be upgraded up to a level four. Here is where you go to spend your XP points and do just that. The other thing you can customize are your "Lightsabers". This works in exactly the same way as the Lightsabers option I described from the main menu. You go here to equip both colour and power crystals to each of your individual lightsabers. In total there are 8 different colour crystals and 12 different power crystals.

Next on the pause menu we come to the "Level Info" option. Here you will find the name of the level you are currently playing, as well as what items you have and haven't yet found in that level. The sixth and final option is "Quit". If you're stuck or if you've just plain had enough, go here to exit the game.

The controls in this game do take a lot of getting used to, not because they are laid out poorly or anything, but just because there or so many different controls to learn! You move Starkiller around with the control stick. Simply move the nunchuk forward to perform the Force Push power. As for the C button, when you hold it down you will grab on to an object or a person with the Force. Still holding the button down, then point the Wii remote at the screen and move the cursor around to move or throw said object/person. The Z button is used for a couple of things. First, hold it down and then shake the nunchuk to perform your Force Lightning power. Otherwise, hold down the Z button and move the Wii remote up and down, which will make Starkiller perform his Saber Throw power. The A button is used to initiate your lightsaber attacks, while the B button is used to jump (press again in mid-air to double jump). The +/- buttons are used to rotate the camera 360 degrees around Starkiller. As for the control pad on the Wii remote, Up is used to engage your Force Sight power, Right is used to engage your Force Rage power, Down is used to engage your Force Dash power, and Left is used to engage your Mind Trick power. Turn the Wii remote on it's side to block blaster bolts with your lightsabers, and simply move the Wii remote up and down to make Starkiller perform a unique lightsaber combat move. This is a really good move to use, and what's even better is that as your combo meter increases in rank, the type and power of this unique combat move will increase along with it! Nasty. In order to perform your Force Repulse power you need to hold down the Z button, then hold down the A button and wait for it to charge a bit. To unleash Force Repulse then just shake both the nunchuk and the Wii remote at the same time. At certain points in the game there will be cutscenes where you are still somewhat in control and have to perform a larger task, such as taking on Darth Vader in combat or moving a large ship with the Force. In these situations you simply have to react to the on screen prompts and swing the Wii remote in a certain direction or shake both the nunchuk and the Wii remote at the same time.

As for this game's presentation, it is quite fantastic! The graphics aren't totally top drawer, but they are very, very good, the next step down. The environments are rich and colourful, but best of all the look of this game is so consistent with the rest of the Star Wars material out there for that time frame, this game slips seamlessly in with the rest of the ongoing Star Wars saga. Of course the sound is great as well, as normally befits a Star Wars game. The controls, although complicated at times, are diverse and respond perfectly. With the rotatable camera angle the vision in this game is near perfect. Everything about this game looks, sounds and feels amazing!

There is only one con to this game, and that is the fact it is too short. 18 levels is a decent total, but a small handful more would really have gone a long way. But outside of this one small issue the rest of what I have to say all falls in to the pro category!! What I really liked about this game was it's tremendous presentation as a whole, as I just discussed. There is a fair amount of unlockable material, what with the concept art and the upgradable Force powers/lightsabers. I also like that they put in an alternative game mode, with the Multiplayer thing. What really stands this game in great stead in my books however, is the fun factor involved, some games just have it. The Force Unleashed II is just so much fun and so easy to play, it's astounding! I always look forward to playing all of my games, some games more than others of course, this is one of those games that I just couldn't get enough of and kept having to cut myself off of at 1 in the morning . . .

In terms of tips and tricks, like I said the game is pretty straightforward. The only thing I can suggest is to upgrade your Force Sight power sooner rather than later, that way you can use it to find all of the hidden items the first time through, so that you won't have to go back and revisit a level if you don't want to. Also, experiment with your Force powers early on and find out what you like. Some of them you'll use often, and some barely at all. Upgrading the ones you use all the time first and foremost will make things a lot easier on you as the game progresses.

Overall The Force Unleashed II is a very strong game. It has garnered average scores wherever I've looked, most likely stemming from the fact that it is a shorter game. But in my experience the most important and telling aspect of a game is it's fun factor . . . and this game has fun in spades!! Length be damned, this game is awesome, one that anybody should love to add to their collection. Unless you're a Star Wars hater. If you're a Star Wars hater, f$%k off. Star Wars rules!!!




The game was pretty good but was somewhat disappointing and too short.

6.0

Fair
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Too short"

Summary

The game was pretty good but was somewhat disappionting and too short. It seems like the effort put into making it could have been better. The graphics were worst than the first,while in my opinion, its a SEQUEL and should be better. It took me 3 hrs and around 30 minutes to complete the game! Also, it was very easy too, the boss fight at the end was easy and dragged on for so long. The enemy variety could be a bit more diverse too. One of the good things though is that you can go back to any level throughout the game without having to play the whole story line again. That is the only improvement that I can think of, comparing it to the first Force Unleashed. The different button controls from the first I didnt like. For example, Sith Lightning used to be the C button but now was changed to Z. Overall, it tried to change too much from the first and was too easy, too short. Star Wars The Force Unleashed 2 could of been better.




You Don't Know Jack is snarky, funny, and a blast to play with a second player.

8.0

Superb
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Great multiplayer"

Summary

The Good: Hilarious, pop culture fusion is great, tons of questions, cute animated videos

The Bad: Crass humor may offend some, only two players, no game pad support, no online play, feels very bare bones

Trivia games can be very poorly made in video game form because they need more than just a button to press. You need unique ideas that game shows on TV can't do, but video games can. These can be stuff the FCC won't allow TV to air, extra modes, and extras like unlockable characters, or things of this nature. YDKJ doesn't really have any of those, but it is snarky, and funny enough not to need it. It also has 75 eposides with 10 questions each (do the math!).

The game's character is all about trivia that is fused with pop culture in a smart and unique way. Questions range from history, science, english lit and the usual categories, but it's all random. Each question's name even has a unique twist on word play and often the questions are laugh out loud funny and ridiculous. The games host voices everything and even some questions have little stories thrown in between. If you get a question right or wrong there's some funny smart remark to what you chose and its either insulting or funny depending on how you view the world. The game doesn't curse much or anything, but this game isn't for little kids. Before each round you are shown the "Wrong Answer of the Game" which gives you $4,000 if you find the clue they say that relates to an answer somewhere in the round. If you get it you unlock an extra that's a 3D model of what the clue was.

There are three rounds in each episode and four questions in each round. The second round doubles the score (in form of unusable cash) and the third round is a Jack Attack. The second round also consists of a Dis or Dat round which has two subjects and you must match the word that comes up to either or. A Jack Attack is just like a Dis or Dat, but it's just one subject and they are worth the most out of the whole episode. Mash buttons and you'll drop your score quickly. If you have two players you can "screw" the person by pressing a button and they will have 5 seconds to answer the question. If they get it right you get screwed instead, so it's a fun twist to get back at the other person.

That's really all there is to the game play, and it's pretty bare bones. The visuals are as well, but each question opening has a cute little video to it, but they repeat constantly and it can get old fast. While you can also skip instructions some can only be skipped almost near the end so this grates on your nerves during long play times. YDKJ has a lot of problems by the fact that it's so bare bones. I would love to see more animated videos, be able to use the cash I earned to unlock stuff, and be able to include more than one player. There is also no gamepad support so players have to huddle around the keyboard.

The only real game play problem is that the questions can be hidden inside the pop culture reference so deeply it'll take more than 20 seconds some times to figure it out. Some questions had me sitting there thinking and thinking what the questions actually is until I just guessed. Despite that one flaw I'd also love to see online multiplayer, but alas we get a ton of content instead. Despite these flaws Jack is a great game to play with someone else or during sleep overs, but not very fun by yourself.

7.0

Great
7.1
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