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Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds - Clone Campaigns Review
P233, 32MB RAM, 2MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: May 14, 02 (released)
|» All About Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds - Clone Campaigns on ActionTrip|
Who do you think is the ideal mentor, Count Dooku or Mace Windu? Well, that's precisely what you're about to find out while playing Star Wars Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns. Aside from the add-ons in terms of a whole bunch of brand new units and two new Clone War campaigns, nothing seems to have been changed in the game's essence.
What a nice little gathering.
Who said that the Jedi never get pissed?
In each of the new campaigns you're faced with a multitude of tough tasks that will be given out to you from your master. Beginning the game with much enthusiasm, I started to get really pissed because the game does not allow you to make a choice between the forces of the Confederacy and the Republic. In other words, you have to complete the entire Confederacy scenario before you can try out the Republic (which is totally opposite the first game where you could easily take your pick from a variety of campaigns). That annoyed the hell outta me, since I'm always keen on the idea of playing the good guy. Oh well, I swallowed my pride and joined the respectful Count Dooku and his "noble" cause. However, once I assume the responsible role of Sev'rance Tann, I soon became consumed with the idea of conquering the universe. BTW, Sev'rance Tann is a highly respected Confederacy General and a skillful Jedi Knight, whom you'll get to control in every mission assignment. In the Republic campaign, you get to control one Echuu Shen-Jon (from Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds), who will be put to the ultimate test while facing many perils and trying to maintain his composure in order to train his young padawan Stam Reath. Rather than completely relying on the movie plot the game offers a few interesting stories that supposedly took place behind the main battle scenes during the war on Geonosis.
In terms of gameplay, The Clone Campaigns expansion pack has stereotypical RTS features to offer players. So, yes, it all narrows down to the worn-out concept of collecting as much resources as you can and manufacturing as many troops and vehicles as possible. "But, is there anything that makes it good?" - You're all probably thinking. To tell you the truth, the epic feeling. It's always the feeling of those major Star Wars battles that I go crazy over. I'm afraid that, in order to enjoy such a great battle, you have to invest a lot of time and patience into making your mighty army. Advancing your units just takes too damn long. By the time you've completely advanced your civilization (up to four is the highest technology level) the mission goal will be over and there may not be time for a huge battle to take place. I think what I'm saying here is that I would've been happier with faster unit advancement and general population evolution. It seems stupid they were bragging about the increased populace (250 units) when you can hardly manage a hundred per scenario.
Granted, there are a few interesting ideas that can help you make a quicker profit. For example, in certain missions you can trade with the notorious Hutt Cartel, therefore gaining more resources and increasing your production rate. This can be considered as a nice innovation. Generally, the economy system is straightforward allowing you to establish effective resource manipulation in a few moves, which makes it easier for you to focus on the production of battle units.
The good thing about this add-on is that it brings a whole bunch of new structures, ground units, aircrafts, vehicles, and other cool Star Wars thingies. There are a few novelties that allow you to develop a better defense mechanism for your home base. Shield generators and power cores are now upgradeable, making it harder for enemy forces to infiltrate your command post.
This game gives you a chance to try 13 Clone Campaign missions, along with a special bonus scenario at the very end of the game (which, I intend to leave as a surprise, so you won't hear anything about it in this review). New worlds are uncovered such as the fiery planet Sarapin and the rocky surroundings of Geonosis. Some cool features were included on Sarapin, such as units falling into boiling lava if you're not careful. Another nice addition is that you get to enjoy battles in space and not just on land. Other than that, there's nothing out of the ordinary in this expansion pack.
Darth Maul look-alikes are assailing the Clone Army.
"Around the survivors and parameter create!"
As you'd expect from an expansion pack, the mission assignments are extremely challenging. You'll have to take in consideration that the AI was greatly improved over the previous game. Pathfinding also seemed to have improved along with the overall performance of friendly units.
In our previous review of the original Star Wars Battlegrounds, my esteemed colleague, Gareth, mentioned that the game has an outdated Age of Empires II graphics quality that's simply been refurbished with new artwork and sound effects. This is the complete truth mind you, as the developers have revealed the game was built upon the Age of Kings technology - well, it truly can't get more outdated than that. Sadly, when in comes to graphics, nothing was changed in the Clone Campaigns. Throughout all of the scenarios, missions, and battles I still found it hard to accept the fact that I'm playing a Star Wars game in the old isometric RTS style. Some of the units are so badly animated that it makes you wanna puke - they are lifeless and in some cases almost motionless. Fair enough, you shouldn't expect any particularly lifelike movement from droidekas, battle droids, or even clones. Still, it all looks pretty crappy to me.
As for the music and sound effects, players are treated to a first-class soundtrack along with some spectacular sound effects. And, when things start to heat up, you'll be hearing that familiar sound of blaster rifles, ion cannons, lightsabers, and many other well-known symbols of the Star Wars Universe.
Of course, if you get bored with the single-player mode there's always the multiplayer option, which is cool to try our with a lot of players, and the scenario editor has its innovations - mixing units of the Confederacy with those from Galactic Empire can be extremely fun.
It is obvious that Star Wars Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns has a unique spark thanks to the inventive mission concepts and plot. Through it all, I'm still a Star Wars wacko and there's always that extreme feeling I cannot resist when those blasters start firing. Overall, it seems to me that players who have had fun with the original game will surely appreciate the great number of additional units (200) and the fact that they can replay the old campaigns with new available upgrades. However, this is hardly enough to give this game a very good score.
Loads of Star Wars units to experiment with. Excellent plot. Nice sounds and music like in any SW game;
Those outdated visuals still ruin the experience for me. I think that they could have built in more missions.
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