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  1. #1
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    Star Wars Battlefront 2

    Here's IGN's review of battlefront II: http://psp.ign.com/articles/663/663353p5.html

    Star Wars Battlefront II
    A galaxy of warfare in the palm of your hand.
    by Juan Castro


    November 1, 2005 -

    In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

    It sounded like the coolest idea ever. Still, Lucasarts delivered on its promise. It let you play as either the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire in a series of epic, multiplayer confrontations spanning famous Star War locales. The game, of course, was the original Star Wars Battlefront. By all accounts it was a particularly huge game. And it wasn't just its scope or attention to detail, either, it was the fact the whole shebang was multiplayer and online ready.

    It's one of those videogames where a portable iteration sounds, to be frank, impossible to develop. At least a portable iteration that's entirely faithful to the multi-platform original. But this is exactly what Lucasarts has tried to do with Star Wars Battlefront II on the PSP. It's a port of the console and PC versions of Battlefront II and tries so very hard to keep up with its older, prettier and stronger brethren. And while it does an admirable job at trying, it fails in a few key areas.


    The Galactic Lowdown

    And it's probably not in the areas you're thinking, either. Developers didn't screw the PSP audience by nixing the number of units you can play. They didn't remove the Jedi as a playable class or limit the number of vehicles and starships you can pilot. In fact, they kept most of the game intact. It's pretty much all there. Where its siblings whip Battlefront II on PSP is in visual detail, framerate and the way it controls. Obviously, the game was going to take a severe hit on the visuals, so that was expected. But unfortunately much of the experience feels a little clunky. Also, there's no Infrastructure mode, so while the console versions support more than a dozen players online, PSP owners get stuck with only four other players over a local connection. Multiplayer mode is still fun of course, but it could have been that much cooler.

    Most of the other problems come from the fact there's no second analog stick. As such, Battlefront II controls like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Coded Arms, two first-person shooters. Both these games mapped aiming controls to the face buttons (up, down, left, right) while character movement was handled through the thumbstick. Battlefront II follows the same basic idea; it even lets you play the game in first-person. But this is an adequate control scheme at best and never really feels intuitive or natural.

    Battlefront II lets you choose between three control schemes, though, including Basic, Advanced and Retro. Basic is perhaps best for those accustomed to PSP first-person shooter controls, but those looking for a more PC-like slant should definitely go for Retro, which lets you use the thumbstick to "free-look" and the face buttons control movement. This is by far the best way to control the game and lets you aim with far greater accuracy. And yes, Battlefront II offers aim-assist, auto-aim and sticky reticule options for those who want it, but it'd be nice not to need those options at all.

    Is that a Universe in your Pocket?

    One thing Battlefront II is, is robust. The singleplayer campaign braches into three main modes including Galactic Conquest, Instant Action and Challenges. The first two modes mirror their console counterparts in terms of size and complexity. The third mode, called Challenges, is exclusive to the PSP and so there's no real base for comparison. But it's fun and very well suited to gaming on the go. As for the multiplayer modes, including Conquest, Capture the Flag and Assassin, they're all fun and pretty much the same (in terms of the detail and options) as Conquest and Assassin in single-player. About the only mode that's not in single-player is Capture the Flag, and that's as enjoyable as it ever was.


    Multiplayer in Battlefront II PSP feels similar to playing on the console versions, even if the experience feels limited due to technological constraints. Still, you get to play all multiplayer modes on any map you want and choose from every unit in the game. The only mode that's not available in multiplayer is Galactic Conquest. Apart from that, it's all game. If all four players want to play as Jedi, they can, and they can do it on whichever map they want. In short, every vehicle, unit, weapon and map from the single-player portion of the game makes it into multiplayer. Connection between PSPs is slick and easy, and the interface to host (or join) a game is polished.


    Plus, there's been little sacrifice in terms of map complexity. You'll still battle among crumbling ruins, murky swamps and lush forests. Dagobah still looks like a swamp planet and Tatooine still looks like a desert planet. There's been a few modifications to make the game run better, sure, but the maps are largely unchanged apart from texture resolution, environmental detail and the like. As such, there's still plenty of room for strategic attacks, planning and everything that made the first game so fun. Plus, there are a lot of them. You'll visit maps on Mos Eisley, Yavin 4, Polis Massa, Hoth, Endor and pretty much every Star Wars locations you'd want to spend a little time on.

    And then there are the units themselves. Again, no real sacrifices here. You'll charge down the battlefield as Rebel smugglers, marksmen, soldiers and more. On the Imperial side, you'll cut through Rebel defenses as storm troopers, shock troopers and imperial officers. Since Battlefront II spans several eras in the Star Wars universe, you'll also get to play as clone troopers from the Republic and a variety of droids from the separatist army, too. And just like the console version, every unit has a number of weapons available to him. The Imperial soldier, for instance, carries a laser blaster as his primary weapon, but he also carries thermal detonators and a laser pistol. Each unit also claims a defensive roll and a jump ability.

    Once you've fiddled around with control options and found what works best for you, you'll notice these units are balanced and well rounded. At first though, it doesn't seem that way due to the controls. For instance, there's no way someone would choose a Rebel smuggler (shotgun) as opposed to a Rebel soldier (machinegun) simply because the soldier's weapon is far more forgiving than the smuggler's weapon. You can miss a bunch of times with a fast-firing, quick-reload weapon, but with a slow-firing weapon you're as good as dead if you keep missing.


    As for the hero class, they're a mixed bag of cool and sorta cool. Of course, all the Jedi are cool. That's just how it goes. A lightsaber is a fast, efficient tool on the battlefield and so everyone who has one (Darth Maul, Darth Vader, Yoda, General Grievous, etc) is pretty badass. Plus, Jedi get equally impressive support abilities, too. Instead of pistols and thermal detonators, Jedi get powers such as force push, force choke and force lightning. These admittedly groovy abilities are best used sparingly, as spraying someone with lightning or standing still to force choke someone will make you an easy target. Force choke is perhaps the best ability, though, as you can push someone down and then quickly move in with a lightsaber to finish the job. Still, playing as Jedi is pretty cool as usual.


    Gold Leader, this is Red Leader

    The coolest untis, however, and one of the all-new aspects in Battlefront II, are starships. Depending on the era, you can fly X-wings, Y-wings, A-wings on the Rebel side, or Tie Fighters and Tie Bombers on the Imperial side. During the Clone War era, you can pilot Droid Strikefighters and CIS Strike Bombers on the side of the Separatists, or a series of clone starships on the side of the federation. There's definitely plenty to choose from, and the variety is pretty nice. Fortunately, each craft handles differently in combat so choosing the right one depending on what you want to do actually matters. After all, you wouldn't attack a capital ship flying an A-wing or other light craft, would you? Didn't think so.

    Just like ground units, each starship has a primary and secondary attack. Only in starships (like some ground vehicles) a bunch of players can climb aboard and hitch a ride into an enemy hangar bay. When it comes to dedicated personal transports, they actually act as spawn points when docked inside an enemy capital ship. So if you want to take that approach, as opposed to just blowing up the capital ship, you can. Also, certain starships have several "seats" you can switch between. One player will fly, for example, while two others take control of turrets.

    Still, there are a few complaints when it comes to space battles. To start, there are only three maps, so space battles get repetitive rather quickly. Placement of capital ships and frigates is always the same on these maps, of course, so once you find the one strategy that works, that's it. Also, they simply don't look or control as well as on the console versions. Like ground missions, the chuggy framerate and lack of visual flair doesn't help the game any.


    Rule the Galaxy

    You'll use the above-mentioned units and vehicles in three single player modes and, of course, in multiplayer. Since these modes have been discussed in previous articles on Battlefront II, here's a brief summary. Galactic Conquest mode features four campaigns. Each has you playing as the Rebels, Imperials, CIS or the Republic. In each campaign, the goal is to take over the galaxy by winning planet-based and space-based battles. You start each campaign with one fleet, and it's up to you to maneuver that fleet (represented on a 3D map by one capital ship) to enemy held territories. You receive credits for every space battle you win and every planet you conquer. You then use these credits to unlock unit types for use in battle (you only start with one type) and to purchase bonuses like extra armor, or extra damage modifiers for your units.


    Galactic Conquest is the most in-depth mode in singleplayer. It's very rewarding building fleets and purchasing units so you can descend upon planets and take them over. The only real complaints are, like the space battles, Galactic Conquest gets somewhat repetitive. The object in planet-based battles is always capturing enemy-held points, and while the maps are different, things still feel somewhat tiresome after you've conquered a few. Also, at certain times an enemy fleet will intercept your fleet en route to a planet, in which case you need to engage them in space combat. This too, gets old too quickly.

    No Consoles Allowed

    Challenges splits into three different mini-game "style" skirmishes. The first, called Imperial enforcer, has you play a solder of the galactic empire and it's your job to visit different planets (Kashyyyk, Naboo, Dabobah) and exterminate the local population. In Naboo, you'll need to blast Gungans, for instance, while Wookie's are the order of the day when on Kashyyyk. Imperial enforcer has a number of missions available and they grow more difficult as you progress.

    At first, you'll only need to whack 15 or so targets in 2:00 minutes to proceed. But then it turns into 35+ targets with a less-forgiving time limit. Stressful yet fun, folks. You also need to contend with the indigenous technology of each race, which keeps things fresh and engaging. Finally, you can also unlock a "Hero" class unit once you've accumulated enough points (by killing Ewoks, for example) such as Bobba Fett to speed up the killing. You can only use these heroes for a short period of time, however, so it's best you do the necessary killing fast while using the Hero's superior weapons and abilities.


    The second PSP exclusive mode, Rogue Assassin, plays similarly to Imperial Enforcer in that you visit locations hell-bent on killing very specific things. Only in Rogue Assasin, you only need to kill a handful of targets, not several dozen. Here, you play as a clone trooper for hire, and it seems everyone wants your services. The Empire hires you to kill deserting officers, the Alliance hires you to kill Empirial loyalists and the Trade Federation hires you to kill, well, whoever. Like Imperial enforcer, Rogue Assassin gets harder for every job completed. At first there's only one target protected by a few allies, but then it grows to three targets protected by even more allies and then it's six targets with a whole army protecting them. Again, a very fun mode well suited to quick gaming sessions.

    The last mode, and perhaps the most difficult (and therefore rewarding) is Rebel Raider. Here, you play as a rebel smuggler and it's your job to locate and steal specific items on a map. Of course, all of these items are located well inside enemy territory, so you'll need to weave through enemy formations, structures and barriers to find what you're looking for, and then take it to a designated dropoff point somewhere in the map. What makes this mode a little more difficult than the others is the unit type you play as. Instead of playing a regular soldier with a fast-firing laser blaster (easy to aim) you play as a smuggler with a shotgun type weapon (not so easy to aim). It's hard to shoot people at a distance and difficult to blast anything you haven't locked on to already.

    Closing Comments
    Battlefront II on PSP mirrors its console brethren in terms of complexity and scope but can’t keep up in performance. So while every vehicle, unit and weapon is at your disposal, you’ll need to contend with an unstable framerate and lackluster visuals while you take over the galaxy. Still, the game feels very polished in areas, especially the interface and quality of the soundtrack and sound effects. So even though it’s fun and definitely worthwhile, it just feels as though Battlefront II asks too much of the PSP.
    IGN's Ratings for Star Wars Battlefront II (PSP)
    Rating Description
    out of 10 click here for ratings guide
    8.0 Presentation
    Slick menus and the entire console experience shrunk to handheld form.
    7.0 Graphics
    Nice variety in terrain and units, but it lacks oomph.
    8.0 Sound
    Impressive score and sound effects. Sounds like Star Wars.
    7.5 Gameplay
    Just as complex and varied as the console version. Challenge modes add a nice mobile-friendly touch.
    8.0 Lasting Appeal
    Multiplayer modes will let fans of the game play for a good long while.
    7.8
    Good OVERALL
    (out of 10 / not an average)
    9.1 Reader Average

  2. #2
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    It is funny how none of the parts got over nine and the score is 9.1

  3. #3
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    No, the average reader score is 9.1 . They gave it a 7.8/10.

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