Review by AWing Pilot
"Finally a good online Star Wars game? Nope."
Star Wars: Battlefront from Pandemic Studios for the Microsoft Xbox.
Finally massive battles and vehicular combat had arrived for the Star Wars universe in the form of Star Wars Battlefront. Featuring an single player, off-line multi-player for up to two players and a fully capable on-line mode supporting up to 24 players on a single server. Sounds great huh? Not exactly. Let's review.
The graphics in Battlefront are good. Everything looks like its counterpart in the movies and other related games. Character models are spot on with the exception of Luke Skywalker and the vehicles are faithfully reproduced. There are a lot of good lighting and particle effects. All of this comes at a price in the form of brutal frame rate issues. For a game that claims to feature massive online battles and is primarily a on-line aimed game this is unacceptable. Nothing here that you haven't seen before though combined with the frame rate issues come out to a slightly above average score in the graphics department.
The sound in Battlefront is spot on perfect. From the laser bolts whizzing by your head, grenades going off all around you, the hum of a lightsaber as Lord Vader runs by or the cling-clank of an AT-AT, the sound here is perfect and complemented beautifully by stirring music from John Williams. The music here is some of the best orchestral work that has ever graced a film and it's all here for your enjoyment. I may be a huge fan of Williams but the sound/music here is the absolute best part of Battlefront or must Star Wars games.
Off-line: Battlefront features three off-line modes. Historical Campaign has you playing through the battles in the chronological order they appeared in the films. Both Prequel era and Original Trilogy era are here. As you progress the missions you unlock bonus items like art work and movie clips. Galactic Conquest on the other hand is more strategy orientate. It is played by the player and computer both taking turns attacking each other on certain planets and in certain situations. Win and you can continue attacking, lose and it's the computers turn. As you win planets it unlocks bonus abilities that can be used. Very cool so I won't spoil them for you. The last mode is Instant action and it's just that: instant action. You pick two teams and a location and start the fighting. All this and a split-screen mode for two players in death-match or co-op is included.
On-line: Let's face it. This is what you really want and I'm sad to say that this game does not come through for us. Online features only one game-type: death-match for up to 24 players on any of the single player maps. Where are the game types we are used to expecting in a on-line shooter? This is a huge mistake on Pandemics part especially in a game that is aimed on-line. Of course all of this is forgivable as long as the part that is here is done well right? Well again Battlefront fails. This came features an unbearable amount of lag even on the best of cable connections. I have yet to play a game with out lag that affects the game and this was in small player games of 8 to 10. This sadly brings the score down combines with the lackluster on-line mode leaves us with another average score.
(Note: A patch is in the works that will supposedly fix the lag and add game types and maps. If this patch significantly changes my out look I will update review.)
The controls on foot are very good and have a Halo-like feel to them which was very smart on the developer's part. Again things aren't perfect in Battlefront though. The controls for the air vehicles aren't implemented very well. It is just to hard to slow down and properly fly your craft. Combined with small maps and it all adds up to a frustrating experience.
Battlefront had a lot to live up to since being announced and unfortunately it has failed. There is nothing here that would warrant a purchase especially at full price. The lag and arguable bad controls just don't add up to a good gaming experience. Good for a weekend rental but only the most hard-core of Star Wars fans should think about purchasing this game.
Overall Score: 6/10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 01/24/05
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