Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
Lucasarts has long been known for its ability to create high quality games but also its tendency to produce games that meet few levels of competence. Because of this, it's always difficult to guess which way the pendulum will swing as even highly anticipated games can turn out ugly. The pendulum was swinging the right way for Star Wars: Bounty Hunter however as the game turned out fairly solid. Although it has a few areas that could have used more attention, there are also a number of standout features that help to reduce their negative impact.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter picks up shortly after the Phantom Menace as Jango Fett is collecting bounties. Contacted by Count Dooku, he is challenged to eradicate a fallen Jedi whose cult is starting to annoy Darth Sidious. From there the story moves in normal Star Wars fashion and is one of the strong points of the game. The cut scenes associated with moving the story line forward are also skillfully done and could sell the game by itself.
The gameplay is more of a mixed bag with problems that can cause unnecessary frustration. For instance, Jango carries a significant amount of gear and weapons that are required to be quickly accessible. This however can prove quite challenging and frustrating as all his gear and weapons are rotated using a single button. What happens is if you happen to be using your visor and run into a number of enemies, you frantically scroll through your weapons and gear looking for a specific weapon, only to pass it and have to scroll through them again. The problem is reduced by holding down the button to scroll, which will freeze gameplay while you select the appropriate selection, but when enemies surprise you and start firing, inevitably you'll ended up trying to scroll to a preferred weapon getting blasted the whole time.
Another smaller issue is the AI. It seems like developers have been putting less time into creating a dynamic AI system and Bounty Hunter falls to the same fate. The enemies often make no effort to take cover when fired at and generally stand in one spot until captured or destroyed.
The rest of Star Wars: Bounty Hunter plays well with high sound quality and graphics that help fill the gaps in gameplay. Although not one the best games of the year, it still has a number of redeeming qualities and if you're a fan of either Star Wars or third person shooters, you won't be disappointed.
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The name Fett carries a mad amount of weight, and LucasArts knows this. Thats why its so baffling that its taken this long to get a game devoted entirely to the illest armor suit in the known universe. Star Wars: Bounty Hunter is the title in question, and while it doesnt star Boba Fett himself, you get to play as the next best thing: his old pa Jango. Ultimately, its all about the armor, so dont sweat it too much if youve got a hardcore Boba fetish. If youve seen Episode II then you know that old man Jango is capable of some pretty Fett-like things.
What youll be doing, exactly, is guiding jango through a series of Star Wars locales (of both newly-wrought and classic varieties) on missions revolving around blaster-heavy gameplay. Apart from his characteristic twin blaster pistols, Jango packs an assortment of space-age hardware including, but not limited to, a sniper rifle, a wrist-mounted flame thrower, a rocket launcher and, of course, his trusty Jedi-snaring whipcord. Youll use this last one to great effect when snagging live bounties enemies scattered throughout the levels who have prices on their heads. Collect enough of them and youll unlock all sorts of goodies, including alternate characters, bonus movies and bits of concept art. You can bring them in dead, too, of course. They just wont be worth as much.
The baddest bad guys dont talk much, says LucasArts associate producer Rachel Hardwick. And Jangos a great example of that. Most of the plotforwarding will be done via Fetts retainer Rozzata, a member of the same squat, winged species as Episode /s Watto. She may not be pretty, but shes definitely loyal, and she more than compensates for any verbal challenges jango may suffer.
Those looking to hotrod around space in Slave 1 the famous Fett-family craft will be a little dissappointed, however. We realty wanted to focus on creating environments that compel you to use your jetpack without making it a full-on flight game, says Hardwick, regarding the lack of Slave 1 action. To its credit, the games jetpack mechanics do a lot to hasten the pace up several notches. And, as lead tester Andy Alamano states, Youll be able to enjoy [Slave 1] in its parked form. Fair enough.
In any case, Bounty Hunters brand of run-and-blast gameplay seems like just the thing to do the Fett clan some justice. And who knows? There might be some Boba hidden in there, somewhere....