Review by Sir Garland

"Fun for a couple of days."

Let me say first that I'm not a huge fan or acidic critic of Star Wars games. Some are good, some are bad, and some are in-between. This game falls into the latter category.

Sound - 7/10

Good voice acting, but the music is mostly stuff from the movies that you've heard hundreds of times before. Not too shabby but nothing special either.

Graphics - 8/10

Not only are the graphics pretty good looking, everything in the game looks basically like the equivalent from the movies. This is pretty handy if you've watched the movies or played, say, SW battlefront - you have a pretty good idea of what everything can do just by looking at it. Mon Calamari cruisers and the "hero" cruiser, Admiral Ackbar's Home One, look especially cool in my opinion. My only real complaint here is that basically every empire ship that isn't a fighter or bomber looks exactly the same. They're all that lovable cheese wedge shape, whish is sort of annoying when you would really like to be able to identify imperial ships with just a glance.

Gameplay (Galaxy) - 3

Here's how it works - You construct buildings and units on your planet, and when a group of your units encounters a group of enemy units, you enter a tactical battle, either a space battle or a ground battle. I've broken this up into seperate sections because the quality of these three areas is not even close to even. In the Galaxy mode, gameplay is pretty basic and uninspired. There are some differences depending on which side you play, and it seems to me that the rebels have a pretty major advantage here - they don't even need to destroy an enemy fleet to capture an Imperial planet. There are three main types of buildings - unit production buildings, mines (which increase income), and defensive structures (which give you a ridiculous advantage when attacked, like the ability to keep three or four of the enemy's capitol class ships paralyzed for an entire battle). This mode takes place in real time, but... it shouldn't. I really don't understand why it was done this way. It makes the whole thing feel rushed, and you can't just sit back and take time to plan your grand strategy. But that's okay, because the enemy AI certainly won't have a good strategy either. The AI here is really, really primitive. I won a game of Galactic Conquest (you fight a bunch of battles to take over planets one by one, using the Galaxy, Space, and Ground modes) on the hardest difficulty on the second day I played the game. That just shouldn't happen.

Gameplay (Space) - 8

Pretty solid here. You've got... what? Fighters, bombers, and scouts making up the "small" class of ships, a bunch of assorted ships with different roles making up the "medium" class of ships, and a couple of ships which count as "large". Fighters are great against small ships, bombers are decent against medium ships and great against large ships, and scouts are pretty good against small ships but are good for, you guessed it, scouting. Most medium ships are good against small ships and terrible against large ships and are medium range, but there are a few exceptions. For example, take the Rebel Alliance's Marauder Missile Cruiser - Slow and lightly armored, but with great range. This is basically the space equivalent of artillery. The Empire has Victory class Star Destroyers armed with ion cannons, which drop enemy shields really quickly. Overall, it's pretty well balanced and you have plenty of options.

Gameplay (Ground) - 1

Ugh. This almost makes me wonder if this was originally intended to be a space battle game and they just threw this in at the last second. The gameplay here is simply a mess and there are too many problems to list individually, but they combine to make this a slow and painful experience. The theory is the same as the space battles - you've got some different units, your enemy has some different units. Kill you enemy by attacking with units that are effective against his and don't let him attack with units that are effective against yours. However, the gameplay is so weird and unbalanced here that there are only a few really effective strategies, usually ones that don't make any sense. Here are some "features" of the ground combat system that should have been fixed before the release -

Infantry - they can take 20 or so giant AT-AT laser blasts before dying. I guess this is supposed to represent the evasive ability of infantry, but... bleh. Infantry cost almost nothing to recruit and are more durable than basically anything else in the game. They don't do great damage, but with the amount of health they have they could do no damage at all and STILL be overpowered. The supposed counter to infantry are vehicles that can run them over, but rocket troopers will still do well against these sorts of vehicles and eat any other vehicle alive. Well, except for one vehicle...

Speeders - Rebel vehicles that can fly. Big deal, you say. Well, considering that the Empire has, I think, ONE unit that can actually attack Speeders, it is a big deal. These things are even more overpowered than infantry, especially against the AI. In all my time playing this game, not once have I seen the Empire actually build their anti-aircraft unit. End result - speeders are completely invincible. Go go game balance!

Final Score - 6/10

The good thing is that you can just do the space battles and ignore everything else... well, sort of. You could do space skirmishes, I guess, but both Campaign and Galactic conquest have the two inferior modes of play as well as space battles. This game might keep you occupied for a few days, but it's not so fun when you figure out how to completely destroy the AI on the hardest difficulty in a couple of days.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 02/22/06

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