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Star Wars: A force in sales, but ratings fizzle

LucasArts on Tuesday announced that its new Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 2/3 and Nintendo Wii/DS) has become the fastest-selling Star Wars video game of all time.

After less than a week on store shelves, the “teen”-rated adventure sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide – also making it the fastest-selling LucasArts game in the company’s 26-year history. These are “sell-through” numbers, purchased by consumers, out of the 4.3 million units of The Force Unleashed sent to retailers.

The record-setting sales show “the undiminished power of Star Wars and its popularity across all media types, including video games,” said Darrell Rodriguez, president of LucasArts, in a press statement. “We’re blown away by the response to the game.”

Interestingly, based on dozens of reviews pooled by metacritic.com at press time, the Xbox 360 version of The Force Unleashed averaged only a 7.2 out of 10 (the site works with weighted averages, giving some publications and critics more consideration than others). This isn’t a very good rating for such a hyped launch, especially considering that the average score submitted by 139 gamers was 6.4 out of 10. The Nintendo Wii version of the game netted an average of just 6.9 out of 10 among pro reviewers.

While critics acknowledge the game’s impressive eye candy (especially on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions) and interesting physics (whereby all objects in the game obey real-world laws, such as gravity), many believe players are kept on too tight a leash. 007 game arriving early

Speaking of movie-related video games, Activision confirmed this week its upcoming James Bond 007: Quantum of Solace game will be available Nov. 4, 10 days before the feature film of the same name is released.

Because they’re based on a similar storyline, consider this an early “spoiler warning” for those planning on seeing the flick in theatres. The game blends first-person shooting and third-person tactical combat, and borrows characters, locations and missions from both Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale, starring Daniel Craig as 007.

The “teen”-rated action game will be available for all popular platforms, including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2/3, PC and Nintendo Wii/DS.


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