Review by Majin Jekku

Reviewed: 11/07/05

Not Too Long Ago, On a PS2 Not Too Far Away...

This is the sequel to one of the greatest Star Wars games of all time. With me being an owner of that game, this sequel was something I absolutely had to pick up on launch day. I was going to be at the mall to pick up the movie so why not just kill two birds with one stone?

So, in my review of this game. I think I will pretty much end up comparing it to Star Wars: Battlefront. I'll probably sort of compare other games with this game, too. But, yeah... Here we go!

Story
To those of you who are interested in the story oriented single player gaming, there is a "story mode". It is called "Rise of the Empire". I have not completed it, but it describes the 501st Legion, an elite division of clones commissioned by Chancellor Palpatine.

The training mission starts you on Geonosis, where the Clone Wars began. It basically shows you what sort of stuff you might be doing in "Rise of the Empire".

In "Rise of the Empire", you fight in the Clone Wars with different Jedi as your leaders. Each stage sort of opens up with a clip from the movie and then you start the battle up. After you win, this FMV starts and you hear the voice work of Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett/Clone Troopers) describe different things. I don't want to spoil you. But, it is kind of cool to hear about what the Clones were thinking during the War.

Morrison really does an excellent job. But, I guess "Rise of the Empire" goes through both trilogies. Any Star Wars fan that loves more side story should really play it. I kinda enjoy it.

Other than that, you "create" your own story in multiplayer... just like the first one. You want the Rebellion to win?! Then you must win!! Ah, yes. Moving on!

Gameplay
Okay, first let me go over some basic information about this game.

There are several different units to choose from in each faction. There are always four troops to choose from at the start: your standard soldier, your vanguard, your sniper and the engineer. Every faction has these same four to choose from they just look different and they have different titles.

Anyway, there are always two units that you must unlock by gaining points. You gain points by capturing the command posts or killing your enemy.

These troops always differ from faction to faction. The Rebellion has the Wookie Warrior and the Bothan Spy. The Empire has the Imperial Officer and the Dark Trooper. The Republic has the Clone Commander and the Jet Trooper and the CIS has the Magnaguard and the Destroyer Droid.

Every faction has two classes that are only playable in space battles: the pilot and the marine. The pilot help repair damaged craft or sets down timed bombs and the marine is for hangar assault or hangar defense with his rocket launcher and assault rifle.

And, finally every faction has a "hero" that can fight for them. Heroes for the Rebellion would be someone like Luke Skywalker or Han Solo. The Empire has Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. The Republic can use General Kenobi or Mace Windu. And, the CIS has Count Dooku or General Grievous.

There are more hero characters to choose from. It all depends on the stage you are playing on.

Depending on what option you chose, determines who plays as the hero. You can set it for the best player to be the hero, the worst or a random player. You should also realize that the heroes in this game are not nearly as powerful as they were in the last game. However, they still are pretty tough. They can easily wipe out an enemy group but just a few good shots will do them in.

Maps usually have some kind of vehicle in them. Engineers are best suited for piloting the vehicles since they automatically repair it while sitting inside. There are some new vehicles and a lot of the old ones make a come back. But, you have your scout vehicles, medium assault vehicles, heavy assault vehicles, heay assault transports, starfighters, scout fighters, bombers and attack transport flyers.

The vehicles are not nearly as powerful as they were in the first game. Which I guess is kind of a good thing if you are the one fighting against a vehicle.

Every vehicle (or almost every) has a critical hit point somewhere. For example, the AT-AT walker has a critical hit point located on the neck. It makes it easier when a vanguard or a turret is trying to fight off a vehicle.

A lot of the vehicles seem to have blasters and heavy blasters. The AT-AT, for example, can fire the medium blasters until the cannons are overheated and then it can fire it's heavy blasters every few seconds... sort of like the first game I guess.

That pretty much covers the ground battles. What about space combat?

You spawn in your hangar and you have a choice on whether or not you want to go into the back room and take control of a turret or jump into a fighter and destroy enemy fighters/attack the enemy command ship.

The space battles aren't nearly as intense as the ones say in... Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. I guess they maybe are. But they aren't as flashy looking. That isn't to say that they aren't fun. They are kinda fun.

You have your standard blaster cannons and then nearly every craft has some kind of misslie or torpedo. And, yeah...

The bombers are pretty much for bombarding the enemy command ship because the bombs do a lot of damage compared to other weapons.

Each vehicle or unit also has a stamina meter. It decreases when you hold down the specified button to run faster or roll. Vehicles have a boost that can be used and space vehicles have the ability to do some crazy maneuvers to avoid missiles and such.

I'll touch on space battles again soon! Keep reading!!

All of the different modes play like the first game in a sense. Depending on what mode you're playing for the stage you are on, the objectives will differ. Let me cover the single player:

Single Player
In the single player mode, "Rise of the Empire", you play through different stages. There are certain objectives for every stage other than just capturing the command posts or destroying all the enemies reinforcements. You might have to run and collect something or fend off enemies for a certain amount of time. Sure, it sounds simple but I think mostly everyone can agree that it is better than just trying to capture command posts.

The objectives are pretty clear so there isn't much confusion. Your commander describes what he wants you to do. And, they try to make the objectives have a significance to Star Wars and it's universe. (minor spoiler)For example, Chancellor Palpatine wants this technology for a super laser or something in like the first stage (end minor spoiler)

Going back to the gameplay, the well known Galactic Conquest has changed in this game. Basically your objective is to take over the galaxy! Choose your faction and then fight for the control of the galaxy. However, there is sort of a galaxy map that you move your fleet on. And, you start with some planets that your faction owns and a fleet

You move your fleet from planet to planet, conquering it... taking it from your opposing faction and getting the bonus which could be something like Energy Boosts or enchanced blasters. You also get moolah for the victories and you can buy more fleets to occupy the map. Moolah also goes to different types of units and auto-turrets and other stuff.

When two fleets land on the same space on the map, the fleets duke it out. and your objective is to destroy the enemy fleet by hitting key targets around the ship or destroying parts of it inside. I'll touch more on space battles later.

If a fleet runs to a space on the map with just a planet... well... a ground battle takes place. It's pretty much simply the Galactic Conquest from Star Wars: Battlefront. It is fun and can be challenging at times.

Instant Action still exists in this game. Basically you choose what planet you want to battle on, what mode you want to play in. You can choose from Conquest, Capture the Flag, or Hunt. If you don't want to battle on the ground then choose a map with the word "Space" in front of the title. And then you choose whether you want Capture the Flag or Assault.

After you figure out all your settings you duke it out on the battlefront. And then go to the next map you chose. This is just a nice mode for practicing or even just exploring the map while fighting. Or you know... just to have fun. Most newbies might that don't have online play or that don't want to go online just yet should probably play the training mission and then watch the tutorial on space battles. Then go into Instant Action for some real hands-on experience.

The splitscreen in this game lets you play Instant Action, Campaign Mode, or Galactic Conquest either against eachother or cooperatively. I have yet to play splitscreen because my friends and I just play online.

You wanna hear about online play?

Let me first describe the modes of play I've mentioned above.

Conquest Mode
This is the basic game of Battlefront. You fight off your enemies and attempt to take all of the command posts until your enemies reinforcement number goes to zero. During the battle, you run over to a command post, represented by a strange piece of technology that acts as a spawn point. White is a neutral command post, red is an enemy command post. And blue is your command post!

So, it always goes from Red to White to Blue. The more allies you have with you when you arrive at an enemy or neutral command post, the faster you will capture the command post.

Capture the Flag (Version 1)
To score a point, the player must take his/her team's flag to the enemy base.

Capture the Flag (Version 2)
This involves the player rushing to the enemy base and taking their flag and returning it to his/her own team's base.

Capture the flag can be played either on ground in certain stages or in certain space maps. You can only capture the flag with a vehicle on the stages in space.

Hunt Mode
This is kind of interesting. It involves two teams. One team tries to hunt the other within a certain time limit. The game ends when the hunted team is destroyed. The hunted team can win by surviving the time limit. This also introduces playable creatures into Battlefront. For example: Jawas vs. Tusken Raiders in Mos Eisley or the Rebellion vs. Wampas on Hoth.

Assault Mode
This is where you gain victory by gaining points. You gain points by destroying certain objects on the map or enemy units. Once the max number of points is reached for a faction, that faction is victorious!

The only time the space transport is available is during assault mode matches. This is also the only time you can land in the enemy hangar and destroy more than just their auto-turret defenses.

The other doors (locked in Capture the Flag) are now accessible and you can take down the shields and other key targets by firing heavy weapons, dropping timed bombs or throwing grenades.

Online Multiplayer
Compared to the first one, this game doesn't lag nearly as much. Most of the gamers seem to have a microphone this time. Not everyone talks but it is kind of nice to know that someone is there.

Also, you can check the leader board which displays all the screen names and their rank in the game. I currently rank somewhere in the 1600s out of like over 2000 people. Not too bad, I guess.

Team killers have not become an issue yet. Thank goodness!

The gameplay overall is much more fast-paced. It is kind of shocking when you first pick up the game and play it but you grow used to it. It's all good, I guess. Anyway, I think I've covered enough of the game play. I don't think I missed anything.

Graphics
The graphics in this game are amazing. The Death Star and Mygeeto are nice examples of the beauty of this game. However, some textures seems to shake a lot (mainly in online multiplayer). Mos Eisley doesn't look as good as it did in the first game, but that's just my opinion. And, the worst looking level is Felucia. I sorta like it but there is way too much fog and it just isn't a pretty level.

Anyway, you get around that stuff. They are just graphics. I'm not too picky usually. But, the way the lighting is used is kinda neat. I loved seeing the room I was in fade into a blue tint because of the command post I captured. It was a great feeling.

While the graphics of the game are nothing jaw dropping, they still are pretty amazing.

Controls
The game plays just like the first one when it comes to controls. I could take up probably a whole page describing the controls. But, they fit the game nicely. You can dash or boost by pressing down either R3 or L3, the button changes depending on if you are on foot, piloting a vehicle or a star fighter.

If you are running, you can roll by pressing the circle button. This also makes you duck if you're standing still. Sadly, there is no proning in this game. Eh, oh well.

And, instead of reloading with the square button, you just press down on the pad. Square acts as tracking option. It helps you keep your enemy in sight when you need to.

All of the vehicles handle pretty well. The only thing I sort don't like about flying the star fighters is that rolling the craft while trying to boost. Kinda takes me by suprise every time someone is after me... I press up on the right control stick to boost and then I sort of tilt it to the left or right as my thumb moves the left stick either left or right.

I'll get used to it though.

Sound & Music
This game contains all the sounds you hear in the movies. They are all very welcoming sounds. If you've played any Star Wars game, you should just expect these standard sounds and like the rest of them... this game delievers pretty well.

The music of John Williams is mixed into the game. And, it was nice in the first game... but the music in this game just is mixed so much better. I get really pumped when the music goes from sort of calm all into action. The choice of music was excellent. Props to the person who pulled it all together.

Rent or Purchase
If you're a Star Wars fan, I would definitely pick this up. There isn't ang reason not to pick up the game. It realyl is what you have been waiting for since the release of Star Wars: Battlefront. If you're not a fan and you are just sort of playing this for the muiltiplayer experience or whatever, I would rent it first.

Final Words
When I first picked up the game, it felt really different. Battles seemed more fast paced and some parts of the game were chaotic more so than epic. Of all the things I didn't like in the game, I've grown used to it and moved on. I like the changes. However, it isn't perfect... it glitches every once in awhile and they did leave a lot of the levels everyone loved in the first game out. But, like I said... I just moved on. I really enjoy picking up this game and just playing for a couple hours or so. I think it is something any Star Wars gamer


Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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