Star Wars Battlefront (old) Review

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Graphics: 8.0
Sound : 8.0
Gameplay : 8.0
Multiplayer : 8.0
Overall : 8.0
Review by Thomas Cap
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away... these words have influenced the lives of millions and millions, the number of products shipped under this license is legion, the amount of money involved can’t be put into words and yet there are still no signs that the hype will end anytime soon. Not countless but still impressive is the number of videogames under the Star Wars brand and today we will have a look at the latest one.

Star Wars: Battlefield?

Star Wars: Battlefront puts the same recipe to use that made the Battlefield series a success. 2 Teams replay famous battles using different characters and their special abilities, weapons and last but not least vehicles. This time round though the battles are the ones fought in the Star Wars movies and books and the weapons and vehicles are out of this world. You will fight with or against the Trade Federation over the planet of Naboo, you will be thrown right into the Clone Wars or you will choose sides in the Galactic Civil War.

The basics

Depending on the area you play in you can choose one of 4 factions: Rebel Alliance, Galactic Empire, Republic Clone Army and Separatist Battle droids. Each faction has a total of 5 units to choose from with four basic and one special, unique unit.

The basic units normally include a soldier, a pilot, a scout/sniper and always some kind of heavy weapons specialist.

The soldier normally wields a blaster and is the most general-purpose unit you have access to. The pilot is best at controlling one of the many vehicles and can repair them as well in the very unlikely case that you have a moment of leisure. The sniper... well he snipes and last but not least there is always the guy with the rocket launcher. He can’t throw many punches but the ones he does throw pack a heavy punch, making him the only unit that can put a dent in armoured vehicles.

The unique units are much stronger than the basic units but never invincible. The Trade federation of course leads the dreaded Droideka from Episode I into the battle. Very fast but defenceless when in their “wheel-mode”, they are very slow when on foot but can rely on their heavy blasters and their personal shield - a deadly combination in close quarters.

The Imperial army relies on their Dark Troopers (known not from the movies but the Dark Forces Games), heavily armoured troopers with a shotgun like blaster and a jetpack that allows them long-distance jumps.

Equipped with a, in my humble opinion, better jetpack are the special troopers of the Republic Clone Army. Their jetpacks allow them short-distance flights and even short hovering.

The rebels finally depend on their smugglers contacts for special support. An allied Wookie not only can take more hits than the rest of your rebel troopers but also carries a powerful bowcaster and can place timed bombs.

Not playable but often decisive for the outcome of a battle are heroes. While you can’t control them yourself e.g. Luke Skywalker (who’s player model isn’t really recognizable if it wasn’t for the light saber) or Darth Vader will sometimes join you on the battlefield and wreak havoc among your enemies. Those special characters seem invincible at first but still it is always you that decides the outcome of the battle.

Artificial Stupidity & Reinforcements

I admit I have seen worse but still, some of the bot behaviour I witnessed while playing Battlefront was really bad. Sometimes a bot would simply stand around and ignore the events happening around him and even upon being fired at still would need a second or two to “wake up”. In singleplayer mode this is made up for by the sheer number of bots but it is really frustrating when the bots on your side try really hard to get killed as fast as possible. That you can give commands to bots near you like “follow” or “get inside” while in a vehicle unfortunately doesn’t change things.

Why is that your problem? Because every side starts with a fixed number of reinforcements and every “spawn” decreases the number of reinforcements left and if the counter reaches zero... Game Over. Alternatively you can also try to control all of the maps control points (a.k.a. spawn points so your opponent can’t spawn anymore) but judging by experience this isn’t something that can be accomplished very often.

Vehicles

AT-ATs, AT-STs, X-Wings, Tie Fighters, snow speeders, speeder bikes, gunships – you name it and (most likely) it will be there. Controlling one of the 25 ground and air vehicles is the coolest feature Battlefront has to offer. Only the air vehicles are somehow limited because most of the maps are simply too small. Most of the time you are busy avoiding obstacles taking you and your ship out of the battle.

Sightseeing

While exploring the world of Star Wars: Battlefront you will have assignments on 10 different planets most of them from the movies. Hoth, Bespin, Genosis, Yavin 4, Endor, Tatooine, Naboo and on and on goes the list of locations Star Wars fans always dreamed of. While the number of available maps is limited the developers put much effort into bringing the classics environments to life.

Multiplayer

Up to 16 players on PS2, 24 on Xbox and up to 32 players on PC – talk about “epic” battles... While I couldn’t find any server that was even close to the 32 limit even a server with a little over 16 players was great fun. Playing with or against opponents that actually think from time to time was a BIG improvement over the single player campaign. I enjoyed every single minute of it and though those scummy rebels repelled the forces of the Emperor this time I can assure you that the Empire will crush them in the end, mwhahahah!

Conclusion

Multiplayer Team Battles in the Star Wars universe: awesome! - Bots AI: gruesome.

The singleplayer mode is a training mode for future multiplayer battles at most. But once you take it online and play team versus team the fun factor really kicks in. AT-ATs shaking the ground, Ties and X-Wings battling it out in the air and the sounds of explosions and blaster fire all around you, if you are a real Star Wars fan you don't stand a chance at putting this down.