By JediXMan 12 Comments
Star Wars: Battlefront
Ah, Battlefront. Now before I get into the review, I just want to say that this review will be about three games, namely: Battlefront, Battlefront II, and Renegade Squadron. I haven’t played Elite Squadron, so I can’t comment.
The first part will be brief: You are a random trooper fighting battles that take place during the movies. In other words, 90% non-canon BS.
No, Battlefront isn’t Shakespeare. It’s purely an action shooter and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Since, as I said, so much of it is obvious bull, I won’t nitpick with continuity. You’ll mostly get your fun from single player Conquest mode or Instant Action. You’ll also have fun with split-screen and online multiplayer. And as far as gameplay goes, Battlefront is fun. I loved driving the many different tanks, flying into the air and raining fire on ground troopers, etc. It was awesome to perform a halo jump with people while I flew the gunship and they dropped down onto an enemy base. One issue I always had was how slow my character ran, but that was somewhat forgivable. What wasn’t forgivable, however, was how weak the “hero” unit really was. In Conquest mode, you could have a Jedi fight by your side. But the hero is essentially useless. Slow, doesn’t go where it should, and just gets in the way. While yes, he is mostly invincible to guns and explosives, he does have weaknesses. He can be run over by speeder bikes, if you land on him with a fighter, or use an explosive to knock him off the platform into the abyss below.
This one actually has an interesting story, and therefore I will nitpick. Yes, again, you are a random trooper (or a single trooper who really knows how to get around by being on Felucia, Mygeeto, Kashyyyk, and Utapau at the same time) fighting in battles toward the end of the Clone Wars. You are a part of the 501 Legion, fighting the Separatists wherever you find them. Finally, you have to fight the Jedi in the temple, killing padawans and Knights with Anakin at your lead. After the Clone Wars, you become a Stormtrooper, fighting in the battle of Kamino against your rebellious brothers, assassinating the traitorous queen of Naboo and her Jedi allies, destroying a remaining droid factory from the Clone Wars, and even attacking the rebels on Yavin IV after the destruction of the Death Star.
Now remember when I said I liked clones to have some personality? That’s still true, but you’re to assume this guy is a normal soldier, not an ARC, Commander, or Commando. So it kind of bothers me that this guy has such personality as to make his own journal (we are to assume this game is a journal telling the stories of the 501from the clone’s perspective). It really bothers me that the clones almost seemed to know Order 66 was going to happen, saying they couldn’t “look them in the eye.” Why couldn’t you look them in the eye? I don’t really see the problem. What inclination did they get that they were meant to kill the Jedi, when that order was really an emergency procedure that they knew could be activated, but didn’t know if it really would be. There are a lot of orders and not all of them were executed. There’s even an order to kill or arrest the Chancellor. So why they would know Order 66 was coming, I have no idea. It just doesn’t make sense. That aside, I did like the Imperial campaign a bit, which shows how the Empire started using recruits and DNA from other sources, not just one strand and not from a single cloner (which was expanded on in the Republic Commando novel series)
What also bothers me is that Battle of Kamino, where the Kaminoans rebel and use their own clones against the Empire. Now that’s not the bad part; the bad part is Boba Fett being in that battle. It just doesn’t feel right. Boba’s too young here. That and, in the end, it states that he went off to Tatooine to go after “a Smuggler.” Assuming it’s Han (which we all know it was), then why in the world did it take him so long to find Han? Really? That makes no sense. The battle here is 12 BBY. That’s a 12 year gap between then and Episode IV. And Fett didn’t work for the Empire at that point, so there’s another plot hole.
There’s also the idea of the “prison break” on the Death Star. A “prison break?” On a SECRET WEAPON?! There was even a Jedi on the Death Star! That’s too close, right there. That’s not right, not right.
Now for gameplay: Hey, look at that! A run button! Now it’s going to be perfect! Just perf…
YOU TOOK AWAY MY SHIPS?! HOW DARE YOU! I loved flying starships in land battles. That was great! But now we get space battles. I guess that’s okay. The dogfighting is more fun but… I don’t know. It just has no depth. All you do is bombard the enemy capital ship into submission, which gets really old really fast.
Conquest is more fun and more strategic. One planet at a time, I conquer the galaxy with my fleet. I buy upgrades and powerups, like the… hero ability. Oh crap, not the dreaded hero ab…
Wow. You improved the hero ability! Way to go! Now you can actually control the hero, be it a Jedi, Sith, or someone else (namely: Jango, Boba, Han, Chewbacca). They can run, chop up enemies, jump – all that good stuff! Unfortunately, they lose their value in multiplayer, especially Jedi and Sith. They are limited to close range mostly, and decent players know how to keep their distance. While more fun to be a Jedi or a Sith, I found myself doing better as Boba or Jango fett. It basically meant I was a more durable, more powerful trooper with a Jetpack. But instead of getting health from health droids or dropped bacta tanks, you get just a little health for every person you kill; you also steadily lose health over time. Which was fine when I was a Sith, but when I was a Jedi I felt like I was utilizing some odd version of Force Drain, giving me an eerie feeling of bloodlust unbefitting a Jedi.
And finally, Renegade Squadron:
This time, you are a part of Renegade Squadron. RS is a group of mercenaries and smugglers hired by the Rebellion to fight the Empire, doing some “black ops” work or something like that. Eventually, you’re sent down to Korriban (…. Just wait) to attract the Emperor and “distract” him from Endor… uh-huh. Now I intentionally left one plot element out; just give me a minute.
Okay, let be address the obvious: DISTRACT EMPEROR PALPATINE??! Really?! Oh come now. First, stupid, because let’s ask ourselves: Where was Palpatine during the Battle of Endor? Oh right, he was on the Death Star… okay. No idea what the point in that was, then. Or why Palpatine would PERSONALLY go after a small group of commandos. Right.
Second, let’s examine how they do this thing: they lure him into a tomb and cause a cave in, trapping him. And we’re led to believe that it works! HE IS EMPEROR PALPATINE! The man eats fleets for breakfast and he’s supposed to be hindered by rocks?! Come on! And he’s on Korriban! One of the darkest planets in the galaxy! If there were a place where Palpatine’s power would be heightened, it would be there!
Alright, whatever. Truthfully, I haven’t played the game in a long time, since my PSP was and is still not working. Considering I haven’t played any of the other games I’ve reviewed in just as long a time if not longer (*cough* Jedi Starfighter *cough*), it is possible I might not be remembering this event very clearly; although, since I remember being pissed when I saw this at the time, chances are I am remembering correctly, and that scares me.
A smaller, but still valid complaint: the mission where I must save Admiral Ackbar from Imperial custody rubbed me the wrong way. I have a general problem with movie characters being treated in this way. It just doesn’t add up. But it’s not too big a deal, I guess.
I have to add something important, though: this game has ties to the New Republic era! Nice touch. It’s told in flashback from the perspective of the leader and founder of Renegade Squadron, who is being interviewed by New Jedi Order chronicler, Tionne Solusar! I always rather liked the character, and to see her in other games is nice. I always like characters from the books branching out. I would love it if LucasArts did this more often – as long as they don’t screw up, which is, unfortunately, likely.
As for gameplay: this was actually quite fun. It was one of the few games that actually had decent controls on the PSP. Battlefront II on the PSP was an absolute disaster, but this game seemed to get it right. Unlike the first two games where you pick classes, however, this time you make a custom trooper with your own choice of armor, weaponry, and appearance. This was fine when I played as a Rebel, Imperial, or clone, but it felt a little weird when I was a Separatist droid. Oh well.
Still, Renegade Squadron was fun. I’ll give it that.
All in all, the Battlefront series is a lot of fun with very enjoyable multiplayer. Just don’t come if you’re interested in story. Just come for the gameplay.