Star Wars Battlefront II
-Also on PS2, PSP, and PC
Another Star Wars game where AT-ATs blow stuff up on Hoth. Awesome!
Finally, I got my hands on a copy of Star Wars: Battlefront 2 after months of drooling at the thought of more super Star Wars battle action. It's easy to understand why I wanted to play this game so badly, the first Battlefront proved to be a fun foray into the Star Wars universe seen from the eyes of the common foot soldier. Sure, it wasnít anything like a real battlefield (at at least what my impressions of a real battlefield are gleaned from years of film and television depictions), but the tactics employed were fun enough to create an enjoyable blast-fest. This time around Battlefront II keeps almost everything the same with the mentality that if it isn't broke then donít fix it.
The most notable differences between the first game and this one are several additions to make it a more well rounded experience, like a better campaign mode. One of the biggest complaints about the first Battlefront was the short and rather lame single player campaign. Battlefront II has a much more robust adventure for a single player looking for some rebellion squashing action. It follows the adventures of the 501st clone trooper division from the end of Episode II up to the battle of Hoth. The story works well enough for the game and while Iím not really hot on expanded universe stuff, thereís some pretty cool missions and story elements to make it worth playing.
Once youíve tackled the adventures of the fighting 501st the other modes available include an expanded conquest mode that adds a little more strategy than the previous version. I have to say that when a friend of mine and I played through it co-op we had very little trouble destroying the computer controlled armies. The real challenge lies in trying to defeat other human players. To help ensure that the game doesnít grow stale as fast as the previous edition, there are expanded game modes that will offer plenty of laser blasting fun. Thereís a new capture the flag mode and even a native hunt mission on Naboo and Endor where one team must eliminate the native populations. Itís kind of neat, but I seriously like Ewoks. Go ahead and call me a fag, I donít care. Ewoks rock. There I'm out of the closet. I also think that the Gungans get an unfair rap because of Jar Jar Binks. Could you imagine if aliens judged our entire species on an individual like Martin Lawrence?
Multiplayer on Xbox Live is about the same as it was on the first game. While itís fun to play in a big game against other people, I found the action someone erratic. There isnít a ton of noticeable lag, but its still present in some games. I think Battlefront II is best played with other people in the same living area if possible. Since that usually doesnít happen, Live can be good for a decent fix.
One of my favorite additions to Battlefront II is the new use of heroes. Instead of having the computer control such characters like Luke Skywalker during the various battles, Battlefront II allows a player to gain control of the likes of Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Han Solo if certain conditions are met or at specific times during the fighting. The character controls are fairly simple and many of them are exactly like each other, but I still got a kick mowing down rebels as Darth Vader. In fact, this is the first Star Wars game that Iíve ever been able to do this so it was probably more fun than it otherwise would have been.
Another great improvement is the addition of space battles. Most of them consist of the same elements of either blowing away enemy ships from the outside our going in the inside and taking out some functions like the engines. Itís a vast improvement over the ship to ship combat in the first game. Still, Iíd have liked at least a couple of levels where you could have provided air support for your troops.
I have only a few problems with the game and the biggest would have to be the A.I. While It is improved over the first Battlefront, it still is pretty questionable at times. Still, considering how complex the soldiers behave it is a miracle that it functions as well as it does. At least Darth Vader doesnít run into a corner anymore like heíd sometimes do in the first game. Of course, now the only characters you have to worry about running into corners are your fellow foot soldiers. The other issue I have with this version of Battlefront is that it still feels a little unsubstantial. It feels like you are playing with toys, not soldiers in a war. Since the designers said that is exactly how the game is supposed to feel then I suppose I canít say that it's entirely a bad thing, it just makes me want to play a more realistic game as a storm trooper all the more so.
Overall Star Wars Battlefront II is a fun game. Itís not much different from the first except for some improvements to the graphics and the extra modes of play, but still itís a worthy purchase if you want some exciting large scale Star Wars action.