Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
ESRB Rating: M, for Mature
Grade: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Vanquish is so overloaded with bullets, explosions, speed and electronic music that gamers will teeter between sensory overload and happy amusement.
But the story is filled with cliches, poor vocal work and plotting. Let’s just say an evil Russian is involved, he has nifty weapons and leave it at that.
Thankfully, players can pretty much ignore the story and instead focus on the tons of robot enemies that need dispatching.
The controls allow easy unleashing of bullets, while the two main combat moves (one allows characters to slide along the ground superfast; the other offers a slow-motion feel to pick off foes undeterred) give players just enough edge to not feel overwhelmed or outgunned.
Vanquish’s strengths are its frenetic pacing and nonstop action, but the game lacks multiplayer or online modes, so the brief campaign may only warrant a weekend rental.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PC
Genre: Action Publisher: LucasArts
ESRB Rating: T, for Teen
Grade: 2.5 stars
As a person fully willing to acknowledge his giddy excitement every time he hears John Williams’ Star Wars theme song, it pains me so to admit to being mildly bummed by The Force Unleashed II.
It’s not that it’s a bad game. In fact, it does just about everything really well. But it’s not terribly original. The story is decent and makes you care about Starkiller (whether it’s really him is something you’ll have to see through to the end to understand), but the action is more or less a retread of the first game.
Your light sabers and Force powers are just too much for typical Stormtroopers and the like, making the game mostly a cakewalk.
The battles seemingly take forever and are more about repetition and outlasting the opponent rather than skill and tactics. The game ends abruptly, leaving you to wonder where the rest of the action is.
The Force Unleashed II is fun while it lasts, but don’t expect to get the strong Star Wars iteration you hoped for. Gamers can only hope that everything is stored up for a whopper of a finale.
Follow Chris Campbell at twitter.com/campbler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.