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Star Wars Battlefront 2 Review
developer: Pandemic Studios
PIII 1500, 256MB RAM, 4.3GB HDD, 64MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Nov 01, 05 (released)
|» All About Star Wars Battlefront 2 on ActionTrip|
All these years have gone by and nothing's changed. I still love those damn Star Wars movies and I always will. When George Lucas and ILM treated us to the closing chapter in the Star Wars saga (Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith) I was absolutely thrilled with the movie and was equally excited about the Star Wars games to come. My anticipation was fueled by a firm belief that they'll actually start making decent games. After all, both Star Wars KOTOR titles turned out splendidly, which also goes for the last two titles in the Jedi Knight series. The trouble is though, that LucasArts seems to have become one of the biggest franchise-grinding companies in the gaming industry (yep, they're right up there with EA).
Ah, finally! Now who wants to get sliced in two?
Good shot Red 2!
Another painful truth about LucasArts is that they usually rush to meet movie theater releases and then they push development teams to meet that deadline. The company's recent flop, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, just goes to prove how bad things can get. The game wasn't a disaster, but it sure as hell didn't live up to the movie as well as the tremendous hype that preceded it - Nick Gillard's involvement might've brought a few refreshing touches to combat and lightsaber choreography, but that's about as far as the game went in terms of innovation.
Even with all these blunders, I somehow feel there's always room for improvement. As I said, I'm a bona fide Star Wars geek, which is why I had high hopes for Star Wars Battlefront II.
The first thing I expected from the sequel was to head out into space in my Jedi Fighter or ARC-170 Fighter (which is sort of like the early version of the X-Wing). And wouldn't you know it, my first online session was an epic space battle between the Republic and Trade Federation fleets. My heart leapt with joy as soon as I left the hangar and began kicking Trade Federation butt. I was hooked on the game. Being part of a large-scale space battle between two huge fleets was an awesome experience, especially if you're a Star Wars fan playing online with your friends. The coolest part is that you can maneuver your fighters straight into huge enemy cruisers and then continue on foot to sabotage the interior of the spacecraft. Your ultimate goal is to destroy the mother ship of the opposing team, and once you and your teammates start working together, it can result in a satisfying victory. The thrill, however, did not last long. As soon as more players joined the match, the server exhibited heavy lag, which in turn made this part of the game... let's just say, "less than enjoyable." So, I'd recommend playing on less crowded servers.
Next to exciting space battles, I also expected to witness overall gameplay improvements, given the extra content and additional features. Each of the four factions received an extra class and a few new weapons to boot. Unfortunately, these additions aren't enough to hold the attention of your average gamer, so I definitely cannot see any particular advantages in that department. I guess you could say the same about the visual improvements. Pandemic pushed the quality of graphics up a notch to make for some decent explosions, in addition to good lighting effects. Extra effort was poured into the creation of certain maps to make players feel they're actually fighting on planets in the gigantic Star Wars universe. Sadly, all these new elements simply fail to put Star Wars Battlefront II in line with other major titles that still dominate the multiplayer gaming scene.
As far as the audio goes, LucasArts managed to raise the bar a bit, by adding a few new tracks straight out of Episode III to the standard mix of high-quality Star Wars tunes. The latest work of award-winning composer John Williams is featured in the game, and, as always, it plays a key role in creating that special atmosphere you crave for in anything Star Wars. You could say that was one of the main things that kept me playing.
Getting back to the game itself, another welcomed addition was incorporated - you finally get to play as a one of the many chief Jedi characters from the movies, like Mace Windu, Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan, Darth Vader and others. Other non-Jedi characters were also brought into action, like Han and Leia (but, from what I've seen, nobody wanted to get into their skin). There's a rather cool concept behind the inclusion of Jedi in a multiplayer game. The concept basically allows any schmuck to use Force powers and become a skillful lightsaber-wielding warrior. Of course, you'll first have to make an effort to beat other players to it. If your stats are higher than anyone else's, you will get a chance to play as a Jedi. On top of that, you have to rely on your skills as a player to survive against swarms of opposing payers that will be there to gun you down. It's a challenge, no doubt. Nonetheless, being a Jedi may not be the experience you were hoping for, especially when you see characters like Yoda getting blown away by a rocket-launcher.
Ah, crap, I really thought those Jedi would bring a cool twist to the series. The truth is that during online matches with a large number of teammates at your side, you'll rarely get your chance to be a Jedi, and even if you do, it could all be over in a flash of a blaster rifle. Things slightly improve if you're playing on a moderately-sized map, with up to 16 players (but ideally around 8). The effort of one player in the role of Jedi can easily turn the tide of battle. Adjusting the server settings, you can allow the player with the lowest score to use the Jedi bonus. Of course, that would be a waste of Jedi, wouldn't it?
Thrilling space battles, new planets and vehicles, you get to control leading SW characters, goodies from Episode III;
Ultimately doesn't live up to expectations, Jedi are somewhat of a disappointment, lag issues on crowded servers.