Star Wars Battlefront II
The original was the most selling Star Wars game ever and this maybe because it was available on multiple platforms. LucasArts tries to sell even more with this follow-up, and flavours it with a few novelties: space battles and playable Jedi!
I don’t have to hide the fact that this series has looked very closely at EA’s Battlefield franchise, and with good reason: the Star Wars universe is one series of conflicts on different locations and the comparison with Battelfield doesn’t end with gameplay; scoring, missions and weapon upgrades are virtually the same. So why buy it? hey, it’s Star Wars of course! (yes I know, I’m a fan, not that I run around in a Obi-Wannabe cape with plastic lightsaber like some geeks we all know)
By ending the saga (if you believe George Lucas there will be no more Star Wars movies… I don’t believe him! :p ) new possibilities opened up for telling the story from a different point of view, and this is what happens in the “Rise of the Empire” campagne. This single player mode tells the story of what happens during Revenge of the Sith through the eyes of a Clone Trooper of the 501st Legion. He tells you what happens and what his feelings on the matter are. For example: at the end of the “Liberation of Kashyyyk – the Wookiie home world – you hear him saying that they would later return as enemies… Once you conquer the Jedi – part of “Code 66” – you continue as a Stormtrooper under the command of the best known baddie in the world: Darth Vader. During these missions – and after gathering enough points – you get the offer to play as a Jedi – something that wasn’t available in the previous game as they were bots – and are a fun step away from the regular gunplay. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you’ve mastered the controls it is a lot of fun! Especially the Force Powers… smacking droids into the walls? Of Course!
Galactic Conquest is played during Episodes 4, 5 & 6 – where you get to battle as the Rebels against the Empire. I personally like to compare this mode with the boardgame Risk: it’s up to you to rule the universe! Move your armies on the Galactic Map and when you meet your oponent’s troops you start fighting, it’s that simple… These battles range from completely annihilating the opposing force to capture (and hold) as much command posts as you, and then some…
In every part of this game you get to play another new thing in this game: space battles. these range from completely destroying you opponent’s fleet to “CTF in Space”. You have several classes of ships at your disposal – going from bomber to fighter. I was happy that the manual clarified a few things on these ships as each is sort of specialised in what they can do – I really advice you to open the booklet before going of in batlle: it helps!.
Several types of multiplayer are included, as this type of game is really is the most fun against other people. You can play Head-to-Head or Co-op at home in splitscreen or through multiplayer over a LAN or the internet. The splitscreen games are basically the same as the single player campagnes and all co-op, with a difference in Galactic Conquest in which you can play against a friend. This gives the game added life because you can’t finish a conquest in a couple of hours…
My biggest worry was playing over the internet with my PS2 as I’ve heard the same horror stories you have. I must say I’ve hardly noticed any problems playing on dedicated servers! My favourites are the Space Levels Only servers, a lot more fun with the PS2. Gamespy was asked to provide server support, but you can start up your own as well. There’s even the possibility of starting your own dedicated PC server, but the manual doesn’t go into this: it just points you to the website where I couldn’t find any information on how to do this… Best thing about the Gamespy support is that you don’t need an Ident to play! You only need this Ident to keep track of your stats, in my opinion a better solution than forced Gamespy subscription…
At home, I wasn’t the only one waiting in anticipation for this game. My eight-year old son was just that bit more fanatic about it and it would be unfair not to have him say a few things on this game as he helped me test it. So without further delay: my son “Cubby” has the floor!
AlterEgo:Why were you looking forward to this game?
Cubby: I really loved the films and enjoyed Lego Star Wars a lot, so I wanted to play other Star Wars Games. When I saw the commercials for this game on TV – and I liked what I saw – I asked my mum and AlterEgo if they wanted to buy me this game. When I heard that Fragland was sending the game to us for reviewing I couldn’t wait for it to arrive (I had to put oil on the mailbox’ lock… – AE).
AlterEgo: What was the best thing about it?
Cubby: The fact that the others help you (bot AI in other words – AE) and fight with you. And you get to choose between different clones – especially the one that flies I liked. Jedi were fun to play with as well but not as much fun as Lego Star Wars.
AlterEgo: And what didn’t you like or would have wanted to be different?
Cubby: When you’re in the middle of a mission and have to stop you can’t save. You have to start over from the beginning of the mission. That I didn’t like. Subtitles, or the complete game in my language (Dutch – AE) would have been nice because I don’t understand enough english to get everything in the game
AlterEgo: You know this game is rated +12, what do you think about that?
Cubby: Huh? Let me get the box… (and some explenation by AlterEgo). Yes, ok, there’s violence in it, but it’s not that bad. Even in Lego Star Wars I could knock somebody’s head off… What you see in the game you can also see in the movies, but nobody worries about that. But I understand that some kids might not be ready for this.
AlterEgo: If you could choose what needs to be in the next Battlefront, what would that be?
Cubby: Except for a new save-systel, maybe some mission for Jedi only – like in Episode II where you have to free Obi-Wan, Padmé and Anakin, or the fight between Joda and Count Dooku. That would give the game more variation.
AlterEgo: Anything else you would like to say to our readers, or anybody else?
Cubby: About the game: just go out and buy it: it’s a lot of fun but hard! And thanks, Fragland, for the game!
And there you have it, out of the mouth of babes… I agree with most of what he said, especially the save-system bothered me: it’s quite frustrating to fail a mission at the very end and having to start all over. Another negative side of the game is the lack of Widescreen support, but that could be because it is a cross-platform game