Tag Archives: Video Games

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed; First Impressions…

In another post, I explained my relatively unique position of being Christian, female, and a gamer.  As such, I’ll periodically have video game reviews here at The Christian Scribbler.

Today, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, was…well, unleashed.  After work I went out and snagged a copy for the XBox 360, as I’ve been waiting for this one forever (I’m also a Star Wars nerd).  I don’t think anyone has to worry about spoilers, unless you don’t want to know anything about the game at all (then why are you reading this? 😉 )…I’m only on the second level.  This is truly a “first impressions” post.

So far, so good. The story is as advertised; you play Darth Vader’s secret apprentice.  The game starts with a bit of back story; and you get to play as Vader just for a bit.  After that, you, as the apprentice “Starkiller” are sent out to hunt rogue Jedi.

The gameplay takes a bit to catch onto, as I don’t really like to use my LB (left button) and RB (right button) as much as this game will call for; however, the game teaches you as you go, and also has an in-game tutorial you can pull up in the menu for your different force powers.

I can tell you right now that this really makes me miss Knights of the Old Republic (KoToR 1 and 2)…I prefer the gaming system in those RPG’s.  Unleashed is a lot more “linear” in that there are no dialogue trees as of yet; you are playing a linear storyline.  In my other post on games I brought up morality; in a game like Unleashed, you don’t really have a morality choice all the time…you are sent on a mission and are to complete that mission.  Also, you do not get to choose your dialogue, so far they are “forced” cut scenes with no input from the player…this may change later, I don’t know, you may get to choose missions and outcomes later too, don’t know that yet either.

The force powers are neat, but I have to be honest and say I don’t like having to do “combo” moves (button mashing) to do my force combo’s; it’s just not my preferred style of play.  I do like the force powers that are straight forward like force push, and force lightening.  One big gripe; what I call “cheap falls;” you can easily (and accidentally) fall off high spots and die…your guy may be bashing an enemy with a combo that you can’t break out of and walk right off the edge…

One of the side missions for every level is finding holocrons…and, yes, you have to search pretty meticulously to find them all.  They include force points, force powers (really the “spheres” you need to up your force powers), lightsaber crystals (Yes! you can change the color of your lightsaber, it starts as red, of course), etc…  That is actually a favorite addition thus far; certain crystals make your lightsaber blade react differently…for example I found a “compressed yellow” crystal that does change the color to yellow, and causes the blade to “ripple.”

You also get new outfits along the way…right now I suspiciously look very much like Raziel from Soul Reaver…hmmm…. Anywho, thus far I’m met two main traveling companions; a droid programmed to try to kill me like any good Sith’s robot companion (yes, you consider him a friend), and my new pilot.  Side note; you do indeed have to play as a male, no gender switching in this one.  I do understand; this is supposed to be like a “playable” movie, not a customizable RPG (did I mention that I miss KoToR?).

Also, you get to “visit” and hear about planets from other Star Wars games (like Battlefronts, and KoToR) ; some of the graphics look similar, though the “viewpoints” are different.

My opinion so far?  I like it…not a “love it” yet, but a “like it.”  I can tell I personally won’t want to play it in long stretches as the action is pretty non-stop.  Yes, the force powers are a lot stronger in this one, and are a main game point…the programmers definitely wanted you to use them a lot in fighting and in navigating the terrain.  Is it worth the money and the wait?  Can’t say yet…will keep you updated.  If anyone has any questions for me about the game, I’ll attempt an answer.

It is rated for “Teen;” thus far “violence” has been the main thing some may be concerned about…and as Vader’s apprentice you go after Empire soldiers and Rebels alike.

UPDATE: A more complete review by me can be found here: The Force Unleashed; Final Review.

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Filed under Of Interest, Reviews, Sacred Secular

Video Games and Morality…

Christian.  Female.  Gamer.  I have to be in the vast minority (anybody else out there?).  I’ve been interested in, and played video games before the wonderful old atari system came out; on old (Apple) computers of course.  So obviously I don’t think playing video games is wrong.  What I would like to discuss, just because I find it interesting, is what about morality within the context of the world of a game?

For example, in one of my favorite games of all time; Knights of the Old Republic, which is based in the Star Wars universe, you can choose what kind of Jedi you become.  Do you stay a good Jedi, or start embracing the teachings and/or action of the Sith (“evil” Jedi).  Of course if you choose the Sith side of things, you aren’t a very nice person in the least.  So (some of you must be wondering) why would you ever choose to play the villain of the piece?

Well, you see, that is interesting too.  To get the fully story in a game, you play both sides, as each decision often adds to the storyline, and fills in gaps.  So, it’s the programmers who are really the immoral ones! 😉  To get all the details that you buy and play the game for, you must play both storylines; good and bad.  Some people cannot do it.  They can’t force themselves to even be verbally mean to a group of bratty kids (in game)… let alone turn traitor and kill a member of your own party.  Others of us don’t really have much of a problem with it, although there are things I absolutely will not do even in video games.

It’s just a fascinating concept to me.  No one mistakes a video game’s world with the real world, but we do know that even “fantasy violence” can disturb people, leave an impression, and give people ideas.  Now, there are games that are built solely around violence, such as the Grand Theft Auto games; and I definitely stear clear of those; however, many people gloss over the fact that even if you play the good side, the good storyline, you still wind up (usually) killing people, or at least other living creatures.

So what does anyone out there think?  Does your morality impact how you play a video game, the choices you make within the game?  Or, can you shut off your real life morality in order to complete the game?  and if you can, should you? For me, it is changing.  With youtube so accessible, everyone puts the “bad” storylines up where you can see the ending without having to actually play as a bad character.  If I have a chance to fill in the details without actually playing through the game as a “bad” character, I’ll take that choice.

One of the latest games with a clear good/bad choice that I’ve played was BioShock.  Without spoiling anything, there is no possible way I could have played the character as evil/bad…so I did indeed go to youtube and watch the ending.  Cheating?  I don’t consider it so, since I did beat the game as a “good guy.”  Now, if you would like to comment, would you kindly refrain from game spoilers?

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Filed under Of Interest, Sacred Secular, Theology