Review by iceman505
"The best Star Wars game yet."
When news of Battlefront first broke many people were skeptical that Pandemic could pull this game off properly. Especially considering the sub-par Clone Wars game they made before, but, after they released the great Full Spectrum Warrior people's hopes were restored and hype began to slowly build for this game. It must be said this is the Star Wars game many have been waiting for since 1977. When first announced many liked the idea of a Battlefield 1942 type game set in the Star Wars universe, but at the same time were doubtful it could be pulled off. Pandemic proved all the doubters wrong and delivered a top notch experience.
Players can side with any one of the four major powers in the Star Wars universe. In the Clone Wars era They can fight to overthrow the Republic as the Coalition of Independent systems headed by Count Dooku, or fight as the Republic's Clone Troopers to prevent the fracturing of the Republic.
In the Classic Star Wars era, also known as The Galactic Civil War to more serious Star Wars fans it's all about the classic showdown between the Rebel Alliance, and The Empire. Each side has different soldier classes ranging from the average trooper which is the all around most balanced trooper, to classes that focus on specific skills, Snipers are the long-range assassins, Pilots repair and maintain turrets, and vehicles, and are the best option when inside a Vehicle, or Starfighter, The heavy assault trooper is armed with a rocket launcher and is the infantry solution to enemy vehicles. There are a couple other classes that kind of vary between the four factions. Overall though, all four sides are equally balanced enough to make it a fair fight for both sides. The only downside to the game is that you can not pit the Droid Army against the rebels, or the Empire against the Clone Troopers or Droids. It is Rebels vs. Empire, and Droids vs. Clone troopers.
The gameplay is just amazing, you dive right into the thick of massive, and heated ground battles. You can play as standard infantry, take control of an armored AT-ST, or even take to the sky in a Tie Fighter, or X-Wing. Most of the fun had is as the standard infantry trooper as it is the most balanced soldier. However, some players are master Snipers in almost any game and their skills will definitely shine through in Battlefront. The vehicle controls are a bit off, but once you are adjusted to them they can be mastered. The star fighters add an interesting variety to the battles, you can choose to fly the standard star fighter to obtain air superiority and shoot down down enemy fighters, and bombers, and making strafing runs on enemy positions. The bombers offer you the opportunity to make bombing runs on enemy infantry, and vehicles. In the hands of a skilled pilot star fighters can make the difference.
The single Player modes are rather limited in this game, which is a shame because what short modes you do get are extremely fun to play. There are some definite downsides to this game though. The soldier A.I. In this game is a bit on the weak side, you will often find them standing around doing nothing, or defending a position that doesn't need to be defended at all. While they are not to be found at areas that must be held against a constant assault. You can issue basic commands to your fellow soldiers such as ordering them to defend a position, or to back you up and follow you into combat, the problem is that if they even do listen to you they only follow you for a short time before breaking off on their own again. Your allies will get their share of kills, but to win the battles you will have to do most of the work it. Online multiplayer through Xbox LIVE is what this game is really designed for. You can take on skilled players from around the world to prove you have what it takes. The major thing the Xbox version has over the PS2 is the number of players per game online. You can play with quite a few more people online in a single game than on the PS2 version, The Xbox's online is clearly superior to that of Battlefront on PS2. Online is where you will really find out how good you are, a decent player can dominate offline, yet be completely caught off guard by the skill of human opponents. In short, this game is built around online play, if you are interested in Battlefront for strictly offline play this is nothing more than a good rental, as it will get old fast.
The graphics are pretty slick in this game, the soldiers and vehicles all look pretty realistic when compared to the movies, in High Def anyways. Sadly, while the graphics are pretty good, they could have been much better had Pandemic really tried to make use of the Xbox's extra horsepower that it has over the PS2. As it is though, the graphics are only slightly better than the PS2 version. The environments look fairly true to those seen in the movies, it almost feels like you are running and gunning through the Streets of Mos Eisely. It must also be stated that the water in some of the maps looks absolutely superb, a nice job overall on the graphics presentation. This would be considered pretty darn good on the PS2 so it's partially acceptable that they are the way they are. It must be said though that it would really have been nice to see this game use the full potential of the Xbox hardware. Sadly, most companies are lazy and just design the engine for the PS2 and then enhance it ever so slightly and then bring it to Xbox. It is a shame in a way.
The controls in this game are very intuitive, and straight-forward. Controls from the third-person view are excellent as you can roll away to the side to quickly get out of harm's way, or to avoid grenades. The controls are very easy to pick up. Controls in vehicles does leave a little to be desired, some vehicles like the Jedi Star fighter handle like a dream, others like the Republic tank, or the AT-ST are difficult to control at first, but are mastered with a little practice. Overall, the vehicles are a mix of good, and not so good controls, but the standard controls are excellent, save for maybe the zoom in mode on the snipers. It can be rather twitchy at times, and adjusting the sensitivity is almost a must. Once you find a comfortable setting they do get better, but they could also be much better than that.
This game is an absolute blast to be whether alone, or with friends, or even online. It's sadistically fun, and can become quite addictive. You'll find you can't get enough of this game if you are a real Star Wars fanatic. The thrill of crushing Rebel Scum as the Imperials, or fighting for freedom as the Rebels just can't be matched. You could even go as far as to say that this game is equal to Knights Of The Old Republic in terms of quality, and certainly much more fun. Whether Taking to the sky in a Jedi Star fighter and dominating the skies, mowing down Rebel Scum in an AT-ST, or fighting in the trenches as an average grunt this game will have you hooked for a very long time.
This game may get old after awhile without some buddies, or Xbox Live. The single player modes as mentioned before are rather shallow, but multiplayer really shines. With Xbox Live this game could very well last you for months and months. Trying to constantly improve yourself by taking on more skilled players online never gets old, because afterall everyone wants to be the best, and you'll spend many an hour trying to become the best.
Rent or Buy?
Well this all depends on you really, if you do not get bored easily then there is good chance the single player will keep you occupied for a month or two. Otherwise, without multiplayer this is a pretty weak title, if you plan on playing alone then is a definite rent. However, if you have alot of friends to play the game with, or have Xbox Live then this game is an essential game to add to your collection. In short, It is the best Live game to date.
This game overall has good graphics even though they could have been better, amazingly fun gameplay, and long lasting replay value for those with Xbox Live. There are downsides to the game like some shaky vehicle controls, and rather mundane single player elements, as well as the A.I. which leaves a bit to be desired. However, no game is perfect, and these hardly stop Star Wars: Battlefront from being the best Star Wars game to date.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/30/04
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