Sunday, December 8, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 161 - Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

The first Star Wars: The Force Unleashed game was janky and flawed but still fun enough overall that most people liked it a lot. The Force Unleashed 2 came out a couple years later and looked better, played better, and was overall better, but it got hammered in reviews because of reasons. To this day I still don't really understand why people decided back then, and still claim to this day, that The Force Unleashed 2 sucks. It's fine, though. In fact, it's probably a top 5 best Star Wars game ever. Keep reading for more and to watch gameplay.

Here's something weird - I can't find my Force Unleashed II review. I know I played it and I'm 99% certain I reviewed it, but it is nowhere to be found. I can't remember what I even said about it. I can find my Force Unleashed 1 review - I liked it but it was flawed - but TFU2 is just gone. I distinctly remember liking it a lot, though, and being surprised when every other reviewer was tripping over themselves to dump all over it. *Fake Edit - Maybe I didn't review it. Apparently I bought it off Amazon 3 months after it released. I have no memory of this. My points all still stand, though.

It isn't as if The Force Unleashed 2 was great or anything. TFU1 was also clunky and shallow, too. The appeal of the games was the unparalelled freedom they gave you to just go out and do Jedi stuff. Complaints about TFU2 was that it was too short and too shallow and the story was worse than the first game. The gameplay was better, though, and I loved it. It was genuinely fun and highly polished. And it didn't have a stupid level where you pulled a Star Destroyer out of orbit with terrible controls. Yet, it scored significantly lower than TFU1 across the board and one numbnuts even gave it a 1/10. I mean, holy crap. If that review had come across my desk as editor it wouldn't have been published. 

That brings me to something I want to talk about regarding reviews. The nice thing about the Internet is that it gives just about anyone the freedom to share their thoughts with the world. Sometimes they attract an audience and become successful (and sometimes no one gives a crap about them at all ... like the site you're currently on). Back when GameRankings was a thing, basically any successful site (that their editor didn't have a personal grudge against ...) could get listed on the rankings. Unfortunately, most of those sites were absolute bottom-tier garbage that never had an original thought.

You see, a lot of small to mid-range gaming websites from, say, 2000 until 2014 or so were mostly playing pretend. They were either crap reviewers who didn't know what they were doing, or they were afraid to post their real opinions, so they waited until a consensus formed and then copied that. They waited for GameSpot or IGN to post something and then basically copied the score and the tone of the review. Seriously, go look. Games where "big" sites posted reviews first tended to dictate the tone for the rest of them. 

This doesn't happen as much anymore as it used to, thankfully. Back in the day big sites got review copies weeks in advance but smaller sites got them launch week or later. Crappy reviewers would see the big boy reviews and go "Well, I guess that's what I need to say too" and pump out a pointless garbage review. Now that games are digital and review codes show up fairly early for almost everyone, there are less copycat reviews and more actual opinions. That's why scores and general opinions these days usually cover a much wider range rather than being homogenous like they were back in the day. The shitty reviewers are still shitty, but at least they're using their own opinions these days.