First off, let me state for the record that I am a Mac Gamer. As pitiful as that may sound after all of the years of neglect and, some would say, downright abuse from my preferred computer platform, I can honestly say again I am again proud to be a Mac Gamer.
I spent many a late night even during the work week playing games for the Mac platform. My favorites were the Star Wars First Person Shooter games. Dark Forces (1995), Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (2002) and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (2003) held sway over my imagination as I was immersed in the Star Wars universe. I was Kyle Katarn!
Why the walk down memory lane? Just to illustrate how the latest Star Wars game, Star Wars® The Force Unleashed™: Ultimate Sith Edition came to my beloved Mac from GameAgent and how it makes me feel right now!
You settle into the role of Starkiller, Vader’s secret apprentice. Not even the Emperor knows about you. Not a particularly enviable position to be in should you actually meet the Emperor, but being Vader’s little experiment puts you in a very unique role; everyone is your enemy. Rebel scum and Imperial elite alike must both be eliminated with extreme prejudice. Essentially, everyone you see is out to kill you so it’s kill or be killed.
The controls start out as the usual basic WASD buttons in combination with the mouse to control your view of the character from a third person stance. These keys are customizable, of course, but not from within the game play. When the game first launches you have a chance to make your changes in an introductory settings screen. But after dismissing it, the in-game menus offered no clue as to what any of the keys were for let alone change any of them.
Another bummer is that the game is supposed to work with and Xbox 360 wired controller and it very clearly shows it as an option in the game menu but I was never able to make it work. I am pretty certain that could be my own fault for having messed around installing and uninstalling and reinstalling the free driver from tattiebogle.net. Alas, my experience was with what most PC gamers prefer, the keyboard and mouse.
As you progress through the game you unlock new Force combinations and tricks you can do with your simple armament of a Light Saber and the Force. There is also a training room available to test out and practice your new found skills before you take your show on the road to the far reaches of the galaxy. I highly recommend it.
The more complex enemies (bosses) are conquered with cinematic style combat triggered by specific key strokes or mouse clicks. As you battle the larger prey the game will prompt you to press a certain key or button by flashing it on the lower third of the screen. If you follow its lead you are rewarded with a flourish of Light Saber and Force powers executed by Starkiller that you only wish you could take advantage of in real life.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the game so far. The story is the most engaging of any Star Wars game I have played. There are some story twists in the game worthy of a novel. The characters in the game are as varied as a they would be in a little cantina on Tatooine. Scenery in the game is breathtaking and very detailed. Flying creatures, space junk, Coruscant traffic, flowing rivers of unknown liquids, there are a lot of background details for the eyes to feast on.
Ahh, the music. Flashback to Dark Forces and the weak, electronically synthesized accompaniment that a computer game circa 1995 could offer. Of course then I was thrilled by it but thinking back it was about as tinny as a soup can and string telephone call. One of the best parts of Force Unleashed is the music from the original movies. It makes the game play experience even that much more, shall I say, real?
Overall, I am overjoyed with this game it has reignited that old fire that burned when I was a bit more hairy on top. I look forward to playing this game again and again with the higher difficulty levels.
I am also excited about what may be a renaissance for Mac gamers. I have supported Mac gaming for over 20 years and Aspyr has been at the forefront of that market. I am glad to have them supplying Mac lovers with their gaming fix and look forward to many more. If I had to give it a rating I would give it 4 Stars and only because of the controller and save issues I had.