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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

LucasArts

 

Developer

Pandemic Studios

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2004

 

 

- Vehicles! Vehicles! Vehicles!

- Large scale battles

- Online play is fun if you can find the right game

- Star Wars fans will really enjoy this game

- Character class system

 

 

- Online setup is a mess

- Single player modes all play out the same way

- Rewards in single player donít affect the gameplay too much

- Unbalanced AI

 

 

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Star Wars: Battlefront

Score: 7.8 / 10

 

Over the past year or so I havenít found myself playing any other game online besides SOCOM II. But then no other game has come close to matching SOCOMís great gameplay. Other than SOCOM, PS2 owners have not really had a great alternative in the action genre. Star Wars: Battlefront (SWB) hopes to change that, by incorporating a lot of basic elements from stand-out games like Battlefield 1942 and placing them into the Star Wars universe. The developers at Pandemic developed SWB with online gamers in mind. The game doesnít feature an engrossing or detailed storyline as the game is centered on large scale battles combining on-foot and vehicular action.

star wars battlefront review          star wars battlefront review

 

The gameís single player modes are played with a large number of AI controlled allies and enemies fighting alongside and against you. The solo mode is comprised of two basic modes of play: Galactic Conquest and Historical Campaign. Both modes basically play out the same way.

 

In Galactic Conquest you can pick different factions to play with the basic objective to travel the galaxy and capture a series of planets. Each planet is comprised of two maps, so victory must be achieved on both maps in order to take over the planet. There are also a series of rewards that can be won by capturing certain planets. Some rewards include fighting alongside a Jedi or increasing the accuracy of your soldiers. The reward system turns out to be pretty useless as they have a minimal effect on the outcome of the battles. Galactic Conquest is pretty short and doesnít take more than a couple of hours to beat. The Historical Campaign is quite similar to Galactic Conquest. The mode consists of a series of linear maps that must be beaten, one after the other.

 

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Both single player modes are enjoyable the first few times through, but then youíll realize that you can take the game online. The battles in the single player mode are reminiscent of what you would face online, but with more satisfaction. The unbalanced AI limits the challenge of the game in solo mode. On occasion youíll see the AI do some pretty smart things like get into vehicles or defend their bases while controlling a turret. On other occasions the AI wonít react quickly enough when they are being shot at or other times they wonít run from grenades.

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Rather than having every on-screen character look the same, there is actually a class system. Depending on what side you choose to fight as, you have the option of choosing between five character classes. Each class has their distinct advantages and disadvantages. Each character class does share one similarity, which is that they can all pilot vehicles.

 

star wars battlefront review          star wars battlefront review

 

The vehicles are probably the best part of SWB. There are over thirty vehicles in the game. Each map has its own set of vehicles which are best suited for that environment, so donít expect to find all thirty vehicles on one map. The controls on the vehicles take some time getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, youíll be owning a lot of people in no time. Youíll also find that a lot of the vehicles allow multiple people to ride in them. You may have one person driving the vehicle, while the other person uses the gun turret. There is a real sense of teamwork that is required when youíre using the vehicles.

 

The biggest thing SWB has going for it is its online mode. SWB allows up to sixteen players to go head-to-head. The biggest downer though is that you can only play with sixteen players if you have a dedicated server. Normally you can only host a game with a maximum of four human opponents with twelve of the spots being filled up by AI controlled players. There still are quite a few dedicated servers so you shouldnít have too much trouble finding a server with sixteen players.

 

There are a number of nagging issues I have with the online mode. First and foremost there are no basic features like friend lists or clan support. Most online games today at a bare minimum provide these options in their online components, so itís disappointing to see a game like SWB not have these basic options. The online play itself is a blast, but there are some games where the lag is downright bad. It really just depends whether or not you can find a server with a low ping.

 

Star Wars fans will surely enjoy Star Wars: Battlefront the most. Youíll get to relive the greatest battles from the Star Wars universe with all your favorite characters. SWB is a solid entry into the online console action genre. If you can look past the game's shortcomings, then youíll find a lot fun to be had with this title.

 

- Siddharth Masand

(October 30, 2004)

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