Review by Drunky

"After playing as a Stormtrooper, all I have to say is... damn Rebel punks."

Star Wars: Battlefront II is simply incredible. It certainly lives up to the hype, combining several things most gamers love; shooting, fighting and Jedi's.

Story: Battlefront II has two story modes. In the main mode you'll play as the 501st division which assists Lord Vader's rise to power (which is based extremely loosely upon the movies) as you stamp out any hint of rebellion among the universe. Along the way you'll see a few parts of the movies in the game, but for the most part the action is completely separate. So no Luke Skywalker or Hans Solo. You'll run a few practice missions as the Clone Troopers, before forming yourself into the elite squad of Stormtroopers known as Vader's Fist. Anyone who likes the Star Wars movies will definitely enjoy following the storyline through the eyes of the other side.

Gameplay: The three modes of gameplay are storyline, conquest, and of course, online. In the storyline mode you'll be able to fight both on land and in space as the Imperial forces. You'll be able to choose between a variety of troopers and commanders, each with their own weapon set and abilities. Throughout the game you'll even get the chance to play as Wookies, Yoda, Darth Vader, and other special heroes. In battle you will also have the ability to use your forces vehicle reinforcements, just like in the movies. Vehicles ranging from the Land Speeders to the AT-ATs. You'll also be able to command a huge variety of special aircraft in the space battles, each with their own weaponry. You can replay the same battles over and over again without it ever getting repetitive using different characters and strategies. Half the fun in the game is experimenting with the available options. The computers AI is rather well done, they react to your troop movements accordingly. If they see a group of you they'll just toss a grenade and run back, and if you hop into a vehicle to the frontlines you'll soon realize all their efforts are joined together to take you out. I cant say the same for your own forces AI, they tend to grenade whenever they can, even if you happen to be standing right there.

If you'd rather just get straight to the action, they have a mode just for that. You'll be able to choose your location and character and just jump right into the fray. In both modes the purpose of the game is to hunt down and eliminate all resistance. While you do this you'll be in control of command posts scattered around the level, these command posts allow you to switch characters and usually have healing and ammunition droids nearby.

A secondary mode of Battlefront II is Galactic Conquest, a little tug-of-war between the Imperial Forces and the Rebels over who controls the galaxy. This time however, you'll be in control of the Rebels. You'll start off with a small army of basic soldiers, and as you conque--I mean liberate the planets, you'll be given credits which you can use to purchase different classes of men and bonuses that will aid you in battle, such as more men, more ammo, more armor, etc. This mode is great fun to play, because you'll not only be the attacker, you'll also get attacked. Unfortunately, even though you can get bonuses, so can the Stormtroopers. The gameplay is exactly the same as the Instant Action mode but with a goal to free all the planets. This is great fun because it allows you to experiment even more and build up your own army.

The online mode is an awesome feature, it allows you to take the battle to real people. Unlike most other online Playstation 2 games out there, this one actually has an online user base! No more waiting around for a half hour to get a game going . Same game play as the other modes, but that doesn't compare to playing with real people. My only problem with the online gaming is that when you get too many people in one massive shootout, there is a huge lag problem. It becomes nearly impossible to actually shoot someone, so it sometimes degenerates into a grenade fight. That is not always a problem though, as you will be able to interact with other players and form your own strategies.

Graphics/Sound: The character models in the game are excellent, as if they were pulled out of the movie. You're able to tell who's who by their uniform and equipment, and their movements are fluid and smooth. However, the rag doll physics are nowhere near as good as other shooters out there, and all the death animations look the same. The environment looks dead on to their movie counterparts, from the lush jungles of Kashyyyk to the dreary swamp of Dagobah, but taking a closer look you see little to no detail, and there is little to no interactivity at all. The environment never changes no matter what you do. Having an AT-ST get blocked by a tiny tree just doesn't cut it, the game would have been more entertaining if you could have the AT-ST stomp or blast the little tree into kindling.

The sound effects in the game are what you'd expect from any Star Wars games. The sounds of the firing blaster guns and the “schwing” of the lightsabers sound as they would in the movies and every other game, which helps greatly in giving the gamer a sense of being in the battle.

Replayability: Even with all the game modes, the game play never changes. Kill and capture command posts, and if you're in space, just kill. It would have been nice to see additional challenges and objectives in the game, but instead you get the same battles. The saving point of the game is that while you only get the one type of game play, it was incredibly done. Variety of playable characters, weapons, vehicles and locations leave it open for hours of fun. The story mode itself is rather short, only a handful of missions long which would only take a few hours, and the Galactic Conquest also only takes a few hours. However you can replay each several times over before getting bored. If you have a network adapter then you can take the battles to the next level, playing with real people.

Recommendation: It doesn't matter if you rent or buy the game, just make sure you give yourself a chance to play it. Definitely one of my favorite Star Wars games. If you have a network adapter and love war games, buy it. Its incredibly entertaining even if you're not a fan of Star Wars. However, if you don't have a network adapter, just rent the game. It leaves more than enough time to play every type of mode and leaves more than enough time for replays.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/23/06

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