Review by Mechsaurian
"A huge improvement, and an exceptional game on its own"
The first Battlefront was what inspired me to buy an Xbox. I loved that game, but I always had a nagging feeling that this game was extremely close to being one of the best games I'd ever played, but didn't quite make it because of a few problems that felt that they could have been fixed. It seemed to lack polish. It was a fun game in general, however, and I was excited to learn that there would be a sequel. I must admit, I was really hyped about Battlefront 2, and I got it within a week of its release. I had a couple of friends over, so I was able to experience the multiplayer in the game as well. It was one of the best nights of my life. Does BF 2 live up to its predecessor? No. It surpasses it by a long shot.
Battlefront one had good graphics, if not great. Certainly good when compared to most Star Wars games. Some of the animations were a bit choppy and the Jedi looked a little bad, but they were good overall. I wasn't expecting much improvement in the graphics department, but they actually did manage to trick the graphics out quite a bit.
The animations in BF 2 are smooth and organic feeling, much better than the windup-toy animations from BF 1. The metal surfaces are extremely shiny, and the water has been improved. And in many levels, there is a dreamy screen filter somewhat like a less extreme version of the trails on a laptop screen. Overall, the graphics do a very good job of immersing you into the game, which is what they're supposed to do. Both normal soldiers and heroes look great with no exceptions, and the environmental textures have been made better as well.
You know the drill if you've ever played a console Star Wars game. Synthesized blaster sounds, the "ARGH" of guys dying, the hum of a lightsaber, etc. It's all good, except there's more of it now. The units talk amongst each other sometimes now, and specifically point it out when they notice a certain enemy unit. It's never annoying, and usually helpful as well. THe music is just as good as the first games, but it has more tracks, making it less repetetive.
I cannot describe what a joy this game is to play. Playing as a normal grunt, a hero, piloting a vehicle, and just about anything else in this game is amazingly fun to do. Many of the balance issues from BF 1 have been resolved, like making Super Battle Droids less cheap, and making certain old maps less rigged for one side or another. Speaking of maps, there are quite a few more this time around, most of them new. All of them are great. There isn't a single map in BF 2 I don't like. The first game had some lame maps that almost felt like they were in there as filler, such as Bespin Platforms and Yavin Arena. All of the maps in BF 2 are totally different from each other, and there are many indoor levels as well, and some levels that have indoor and outdoor areas. Good stuff.
You may have heard me talk about heroes. In short: You can be them. If you're on a real roll, you are given the option of abandoning your grunt for a hero from the movies, all of which are fun to play as and satisfying to kill as a normal trooper. There is some strategy to being them, as after amassing some upgrades normal troops can be just as good, or even better in certain circumstances.
And upgrades: when you kill a ton of guys using a certain weapon, you get an upgraded version of that weapon. Just killing a ton of guys in general gives you helpful generic bonuses like health regeneration and increased damage. With some troops you can have five upgrades at a time, making you a one-man army. But dying or changing your class at a command post removes these bonuses, giving you incentive not to die and to stick with your current class.
The gameplay is phenominal. It never, ever gets boring. The entire game is balanced quite well yet is imbalanced enough for interesting strategies to develop. The single player mode and Instant Action modes are great for parties or just for having some fun, whilst Galactic Conquest is a great way to occupy a day.
This is one of the areas where the original Battlefront fell short. The Historical Campaign was really crummy, with basically a bunch of Instant Action maps with briefing screens and sometimes different units. Battlefront 2 has an objective driven single player campaign that is extremely fun, and has great cutscenes that help explain certain facets of the Star Wars storyline that weren't given in the movies, such as the transition between Clone Troopers and Stormtroopers. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just leave it at this: it's good.
Lasting Appeal: 9
This game has a ton of maps, several different game modes, a single player campaign, a enough options to tinker with that two battles on the same Instant Action map can be a lot different. This game never ceases to amuse, and the first hour spent playing it will be one of the best of your life. It's a blast.
Rent or Buy: Buy.
There's no reason to rent this game. You'll lose five bucks and suffer from Battlefront Withdrawal for a week. Just buy it, I can almost guarantee you will have fun with it.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/14/05
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