Did you have fun slicing that Stormtrooper in half? Well, that's kind of the entire game.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II for Wii, from Mushroom Men developer Red Fly Studio, is a game that tries hard to make good use of the Wii's technology, but falls short in the end. No matter what pointer and motion controls are added to make the game more interesting, Force Unleashed II never amounts to anything more than a run-of-the-mill beat-'em-up with some rough, dated graphics.
The game is arguably story-driven, but the sequel's tale is poorly told and uninteresting. You control the original game's hero, Starkiller…or maybe you're just controlling his clone. I'm not really sure. The fact that the story is so flat makes certain parts of the game, namely the pointless action-free level on Dagobah, terrible.
The controls are smartly designed and work. Basic combat does not involve shaking the controller around, as you jump and attack and with B and A buttons respectively. Motions and pointing are generally used for your force powers, which are fun and easy to use. You've got a whole array of powers to use, with lightning, repulse, and rage being three of my personal favorites. You build up experience as you defeat enemies, and that experience is used to upgrade your force powers. It offers a decent amount of customization, allowing you to tailor your hero's powers to your play style.
Outside of rare puzzles and platforming segments, the entire game is made up of fights with nameless enemies of limited variety that can withstand multiple lightsaber hits to the face. The combat is fun at first, but once you find your preferred style of Stormtrooper execution, it all becomes routine. Some of the enemy varieties change it up, but usually these over-powered foes just highlight some of the game's other lowlights, namely the camera. You can center it with a tap of the C button, and alter it with the + and – buttons, but the lack of a lock-on feature makes bosses and bigger enemies a complete and total chore to fight.
Force Unleashed II also fails by relegating the game's coolest segments to quick-time events. I don't want to move the Wii Remote to the left, then the right, and finally shake the Wii Remote and Nunchuk with vigor. I want to figure out how to use that giant pillar to take down those two AT-STs! The game takes you out of the landmark moments of the game, making the inevitable return to mediocre brawling even more disappointing.
The game does have one giant bright spot, though. The Super Smash Bros.-esque multiplayer is tons of fun despite its limitations. It's unfortunate that you can't play with computer opponents, but if you can manage to get three or four friends together to play, it's a blast. The eight characters are balanced well enough, and the six stages are filled with creative layouts and fun hazards. A full-fledged version of this multiplayer would be a great counterpart to Nintendo's iconic series.
Outside of the excellent multiplayer, there is still some fun to be had in Force Unleashed II. For all the issues I have with it, I enjoyed the basic force-fueled gameplay. It just doesn't have enough longevity to hold up over an entire five-hour game. If you're a Star Wars fan who can overlook the game's lengthy list of problems, this might be worth checking out. Outside of that, it's only worth getting for the stellar multiplayer.