Star Wars: Battlefront II
|a game by||Pandemic Studio|
|Platforms:||XBox, PC, Playstation 2|
|User Rating:||9.0/10 - 2 votes|
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|See also:||All Star Wars Games, Split Screen Games|
Best-selling star wars game ever. That's Battlefront. Actually, that's the power of marketing, hype and a licence that guarantees cash rewards for anyone lucky enough to wield it Honestly. People buy Star Wars toothbrushes for god's sake. It's a veritable goldmine.
Which wouldn't be so bad if the games were actually deserving of their successes. But they're not None of them. KOTOR aside, and maybe Republic Commando, there hasn't been a good Star Wars game since Dark Forces. Even those that look quite good at first very rapidly outstay their welcome once the novelty wears off. Battlefront included. And this sequel is no less unremarkable. Bland, devoid of character, asinine gameplay mechanics, clumsy implementation and, at the time of writing, number one in the charts with a bullet. Justice? Not a factor in the games business, matey.
Big Name Stars
Battlefront II is pretty much everything we saw first time round, but with Episode III levels and some space bits. Oh, and controllable heroes. As in Luke, Vader, Yoda, Leia, Boba Fett, Ewan McGregor and that blue bird with the long head tentacles. Kia-Ora or Urn-Bongo or something. Basically, it's all well and good until you get a situation that has Darth Vader being 'killed' by a lowly rebel trooper with a pistol and then it ruins the whole thing.
The basics otherwise remain the same. Take a pinch of Battlefield2, dress it up with lightsabers and stormtroopers and then shoot your way through 20 minutes or so of vague interpretations of events in the movie.
Developer Pandemic has made an attempt to boost the criminally pointless single-player, offline game from the first Battlefront. This time you get a campaign 'story' mode played from the perspective of a clone trooper, interspersed with clips from the film and FMV from modified in-game footage. It charts the path of the Republic's manipulation at the hands of Captain Craggyface (or the Emperor as he prefers to be called), the slaughter of the Jedi - actually quite a fun level that one, storming the Jedi temple on Coruscant and shooting anyone with a glo-stick in the face - and the rise of the Empire.
The Galactic Conquest mode returns, k slightly revamped, offering a simplistic, A turn-based strategy overgame, broken up by actual shooty-blast missions. Or you can just wade into any map at will, with a garrison of bots by your side and blow the living crap out of everything that opposes your choice of flag colour.
All these single-player modes provide some basic fun at first, but it quickly pales when you realise the bots are as thick as a . blast door and there's no real ability to issue meaningful orders to anyone. Making every level an atmosphere-breaking mess of random gunfire, laughably bad bot action and incongruous implementation of Star Wars themes and characters. It does score bonus points for including a 'Hunt The Ewok' game though. How that slipped past LucasCensors, we don't know. But it's a small oasis of pleasure in an otherwise dull gaming desert.
Of course, mostly the Battlefront series has been conceived as an online game, a Star Wars-y rival to the Battlefield series busy imploding under its own weight of misplaced optimism and shoddy customer support over at EA. Unfortunately, Battlefront IHs no more fun online than it is off. The new space sections should have been a scream, but instead completely fail to conjure any of the scale, thrills or drama of the films. Battles take place in limited arenas, with capital ships frighteningly underwhelming for all their supposed power. Dogfights are confusing and lacking direction, and the age-old problem of the fastest-loading players nicking all the ships is only acerbated here as you only get four at a time, you have to wait ages for new ones to respawn and can't go anywhere in the meantime.
Things aren't much better on the ground either. Vehicles are so lacking in impact that they might as well not be there. True, you can find servers with some impressive player numbers and most of the maps are well designed and remain faithful to the Star Wars origins (at least the interior maps do - the Death Star and Leia's starting ship from Episode IV, the Tantive IV - some of the exterior maps are just confusing and lacking in excitement), but the overall experience is less 'Star Wars combat online' and more like a fairly decent mod for Battlefield. Personally, I'd stick with the toothbrushes for now, as this use of the Star Wars licence just leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.