|Star Wars Battlefront II|
|Developer: Pandemic Studios
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-24 (net play)
After a string of frankly pretty naff Star Wars games we breathed a sigh of relief when the first Battlefront hit consoles last year. Okay, it was far from perfect but you finally got the chance to fight throughout the Star Wars universe on a large scale, AT-ATs and all! This year Battlefront returns and itís brought the Imperial NavyÖ
For those of you who bought the original Battlefront you wonít find that much new here; most of the maps are either the same or slightly tweaked, with a couple of new venues from Episode III (notably Coruscant and Mustafar). Nearly all the soldier types, weapons and animations are the same too, the major differences being the inclusion of Jedi as playable characters and space battles (yes, with big ships and lasers and all that stuff).
The much larger and better thought-out addition to BF2 is the chance to fly all of the spacecraft youíve seen in the SW films, from Y-wings to Clone Transports. You spawn in the hangar of your cruiser and have a choice of ships from the nimble fighters to bombers and transports. The aim is to disable the enemy battleship, which can be done in a few ways. You can take down the shields and strategically destroy key sections of the ship (bridge, engines etc) by bombing them or you can board the ship itself and blow it up from inside! This choice does let you play better as a team and doesnít force you to fly about if you donít fancy it.
The handling of the ships is a bit twitchy and at first youíll find it hard to even see enemy fighters, let alone dogfight with them! It does get a bit easier but for reasons Iíll go into later itís best to go for the objectives rather than take on the ships yourself.
Rise of the Empire is a new mode and follows a unit of Clone troopers (called the 501st) from the first skirmish on Geonosis to the establishment of the Empire. You fight on every planet you see in the SW world (including the rebel base on an Asteroid you see for five seconds in Episode III!) and to vary the action you are set several objectives for each battle. This usually means taking a certain command post (or holding it), or fetching a canister of something from somewhere, but they arenít really all that different to what youíd naturally do so seem a little pointless.
Nevertheless, the main game is still a lot of fun and the nostalgia factor of being able to do all those epic scenes from the movies, things you wanted to do as a kid (like take down the legs of an AT-AT, or storm the Death Star) does smooth over a lot of the cracks.
The only real niggle about this game is about the AI of your teammates - they just donít know what theyíre doing! The key to winning games like BF2 is to take the spawn points simultaneously and hold them. Your allies just seem to be more preoccupied with sitting back and relaxing at the furthest back base youíve got, stealing all the vehicles and going for joyrides or just dying. No-one takes spawn points unless youíre there to help them but if you spend time capturing bases then your teammates just get killed by the enemy troops. Help them and all the spawn points you captured are promptly nicked back by the enemyÖ you see where Iím going with this? Itís strange that your guys donít do anything to help you (like work as a team or shoot at people) yet the opposition AI can co-ordinate attacks, take bases and ambush people; I want to defect!
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is a fun game with some cool new modes but the frustrating AI and all-but unplayable online mode make this a hard game to recommend to anyone but the fans of Star Wars games, whoíll understand (and forgive) its flaws.
- Space combat
- Amazing sound
- Galactic Conquest mode.
- Annoying friendly AI
- Dodgy online mode