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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a mixed bag in a lot of ways. One the positive side, you felt like the strongest Sith Lord in history. Manipulating the force was easy, its power greater in your hands than anything you ever saw in the movies. There’s also the terrific voice acting by the entire cast, especially Starkiller model Sam Witwer. Oh, and it’s canon. Real timeline stuff. Fanboy awesome. Finally the concept was fantastic and the story had so much potential. On the downside, pretty much everything else. Upgrades were uninteresting, Enemy AI was somewhat disappointing, and so much character development was left to a single DLC that barely did the job. But it also stands as having one of the Great Moments in Gaming.
Warning! Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Spoilers will follow. If you haven’t played this game yet, this will ruin the entire game. If you have, enjoy!
Killers always start out so cute!
The Force Unleashed begins with Darth Vader on the Wookie planet Kashyyyk, continuing his Jedi Purge of the remaining Order members. Upon slaying another, a young boy appears and Vader rescues him from a Stormtrooper execution. Vader then trains him in Sith teachings to adulthood, all in service of one day eliminating the Emperor. Starkiller is sent to eliminate three Jedi Masters with Imperial pilot Juno Eclipse as tests of his power, and is then betrayed by Vader to Emperor Palpatine and thrown out into space. He is revived later to find this was a ploy by Vader, who wanted his discovered apprentice to move unnoticed, and form an alliance of rebels (hint, hint) to ultimately destroy the leader of the Empire.
That stain will be impossible to get out.
Starkiller frees Juno and their ship, finds Rahm Kota, Starkiller’s first Jedi target alive, blinded and unaware of who he’s dealing with. Kota leads Starkiller to saving Princess Leia Organa and Bail Organa, meanwhile developing mostly subtle attraction to his pilot and holding back his Dark Side tendencies. He gathers the rebel group, along with Mon Mothma and an alliance is discussed to bring down the Emperor. However, Vader screws Starkiller over, arrests the leaders, and tells Starkiller he is only a pawn, destroying any rebellion was the plan all along, and throws him off a cliff. Starkiller survives his fall and sets out to stop the execution of the rebellion leaders. That guy need a non-homicidal hobby.
Betrayal begets a helmet whooping.
After walking through a mostly completed Death Star (additional fanboy squee) you find Darth Vader, your two-time betrayer and former Master, and you begin a fight to the death with the infamous Dark Lord of the Sith. After multiple rounds, fantastic quick-time animations, knocking off his helmet and rag dolling him through glass, he is finally defeated. As you prepare to strike him down, the Emperor encourages you to finish the job. Kota, a prisoner alongside the Rebel leaders, breaks away and steals the Emperor’s lightsaber, receiving a healthy dose of Force Lightning for his troubles. Between taking his revenge to kill Vader and helping Kota by taking on Palpatine, the former Sith Apprentice (canonically) goes to save his teacher in the ways of the Jedi.
Even the picture gives me chills.
When he defeats the Emperor, Palpatine tells him it was his destiny to kill the Imperial leader. Starkiller ignites his lightsaber to finish the job, but after arguing Palpatine is better off dead, Kota convinces him that if he did in anger, as he was about to do, he’d end up right back where he started. Starkiller deactivates his weapon and tells Kota to get the rebels off the ship. Palpatine takes the opportunity to send Force Lightning at Kota again, but Starkiller intercepts. A weakened Darth Vader and a platoon of Stormtroopers approach, Starkiller screams for Kota to protect the Senators and run. Starkiller and Palpatine’s struggle is ignored as the Imperials fail to capture the Rebels. Starkiller inches closer to the Emperor, and as he reaches his enemy, he lets out a scream so chilling and filled with emotion, watching it always sends chills up my spine. The resulting explosion encompasses all the Imperial forces as Kota looks back, taking a moment to express the loss that has just occurred. As the Rebels escape, a seemingly unharmed Palpatine walks up to Starkiller’s body, a battle-scarred Vader stares down and speaks. “He is dead.”
THAT’S where it comes from!
Vader and Palpatine discuss how the death will only strengthen “this alliance [they] have unwittingly created” and Vader is ordered to hunt them down relentlessly, lest it be their undoing. Meanwhile, the former prisoners are even more inspired than the Sith Lords feared, and Bail Organa declares the birth of a “Rebel Alliance” (AH! HE SAID IT!) and even take Starkiller’s family crest as the symbol of their hope in Starkiller’s honor. Kota talks with Juno, revealing he knew all along Starkiller was the one who almost killed him, and Juno asks why he would help his enemy. Kota says among Starkiller’s dark thought, there was “one bright spot, one beautiful thing he held onto, even at the end.” She asks what it was and he says it was her. The camera pans up toward the stars, the screen circle-disolves to black, and John Williams’ unmistakable Main Theme kicks in for the credits.
“…even at the end.”
This scene makes up for anything bad about the game. It gives us a painfully relatable martyr, a poweful voice actor going beyond the exceptional, and an explanation for the founding of the Rebellion and the reasons for the Empire for hunting them down so viciously. It also gave us a fitting send off for a true hero with a redemption story that may outshine that of Darth Revan from Knights of the Old Republic. That’s a hell of an accomplishment.
What did you think of this Great Moment in Gaming? Let us know in the Comment section below!