I enjoyed Star Wars Battlefront when it first came out. I felt that it was the first game to really deliver on the experiences from the movies. You had the sights, sounds, and action, plus you were right in the middle of it. If there was one franchise that was ripe to jump on to the Battlefield 1942 formula, Star Wars was it. Now we have Star Wars Battlefront II in front of us, so let’s see if it’s improved as much as Battlefield 2 did.
You can really see the original in this game. Allot of the same gameplay is here, which isn’t really a bad thing. However, we’re going to deal with the bits that’ve changed. For one, and possibly the most obvious, are the addition of space battles. Featuring three stages from both the original and prequel trilogies, you can take to the stars in an array of crafts to decide the fate of the battle. You can play either assault or capture the flag in this mode. In assault, your job is basically to try and blow up your opponents lead cruiser. This usually involves landing in their docking bay and running through the corridors to blow up their shield generator. In a great decision, doing this will require more bombs then a player can carry at one time. Once that’s done you then proceed to shoot up target points on your opponent’s vessel to score points towards victory. Of course, each cruiser is lined with auto turrets that will try and off you, so it’s best to work as a team.
The second most obvious change is the inclusion of a Hero. Depending on which map you’re on and who you’re playing for, the Hero will be different. While there are all sorts of Heros such as Han Solo, Boba Fett and Princess Leia (?!?), the Jedi are obviously the most fun. As a Jedi Hero you can cut through most infantry with ease to pad your stats, help your team win, and of course extend your time lease as a Hero. Hero’s cannot be healed through any method other then killing other units. Who knew Luke was a vampire? Each Jedi has their own selection of two force powers. My favorite are Force Pull (for yanking victims close for killing), Force Choke (for killing them were they stand), and Force Push (for pushing them into a trap for, yes, more killing). Most Jedi also have a Lightsaber Toss option that takes some getting used to but will be a powerful ally of skilled players. Even the moves with their Lightsaber varies from Jedi to Jedi. I’ve noticed that Darth Maul is particularly deadly with the reach of his dual blade.
Another thing that has been changed are the classes. There are now six per faction. Each faction has a soldier, heavy weaponsman, marksman, and engineer. The last two are very unique to their faction and have to be earned during each match with a lower class. Some include the CIS Droideka, the Rebel Wookie Soldier and the Clone Commander. The vehicles are neat too, and many now include weak points such as the neck of the AT-AT walkers – and just in case you aren’t aware, the game will note this when you’re in position to do something about it. The engineers can now cut into a number of vehicles, which can be key in some levels.
A great feature now is the persistent stat tracking. You can track the medals you’ve earned, how many kills, deaths and points you have, and the totally superfluous but still really cool Kills per Death counter. Earning enough medals can even net you new weapons to play with. The game is also very customizable, so you can make a match that plays to the style that you want. My biggest gripe is that the AI doesn’t ever seem to use a Hero character during Instant Action matches.
Star Wars Battlefront II looks good, sounds good, and – whaddya know – plays good too. I’d recommend it to any Star Wars buff who wishes they were part of the movies.