Star Wars Battlefront
Developed by: Pandemic Studios
Published by: LucasArts
(Rated Teen for Fantasy Violence & Violence)
A long time ago in a galaxy that can only be seen when you go camping away from the city, I was a young kid who fantasized about the grand and overwhelmingly large universe that the Star Wars movies employed. The colorful creatures, the monstrous weapons, the gigantic constructs in space all were too much for a little teenager to help from imagining what it would be like to stand next to a TIE fighter.
-Or better yet blow one to smithereens. Then in one fateful article in a copy of Playstation magazine some long forgotten 2003 summer, mine among thousands of other nerdlings discovered their dreams would come true.
Star Wars Battlefront is a third (or first) person shooter that came out only two months before Half Life 2 for PC, Playstation 2 and classic flavor Xbox, based upon recreating interactive versions of Star Wars universe battles. Replete with unique weapons and vehicles for the four playable factions of the Republic Clone Army, CIS Droids, Empire forces and the Rebels, the player has the option of Single or Online Multiplayer with a lot of addicting fun in either. The game has been touted for its replayablity, as well as the game's ZERO engine ingenuity in making a dynamic and streamlined AI for NPC enemies and allies, due to the game needing to be able to calculate up to and more than 32 at a time. The game is not without its flaws, but in my personal opinion, they simply add to the charm (if not funniness) of the game.
Singleplayer has a Clone/Droid and Rebel/Empire Campaign, as well as Galactic Conquest and Instant action. Regardless of what game mode you play on, there are only 19 maps, and they're all control-point maps, which can initially decrease interest if oneself plays more
modern or varied shooter games. Each team has 150 reinforcements, spent on about 16 players per side (all bots except for the player themselves) to spawn from their original point and get to an enemy or neutral control point and capture it, or shoot enemies down. The game is won when the enemy's reinforcement count is depleted, or one team holds all of the control points on the map for 20 seconds. To accomplish this objective, all factions have five classes: the Standard, who has a main rifle of some sort, with a sidearm and explosive for dealing with vehicles or turrets, an Anti-Vehicle person with a Rocket Launcher and mines, an Engineer that can dispense health+ammo and can repair vehicles and turrets, a sniper who is entirely self-explanatory and a special class that is faction-unique (Jetpack optional). The game's classes are quite balanced, as are the vehicles (everything from being able to recreate the cable-tripping with the Rebel Hoth speeders against AT-ATs to Clone-Wars era Republic Gunships cutting Hailfire droids in half with green beams of pure energy). Galactic Conquest gives the option of conquering the galaxy one planet at a time. Each planet on which the enemy faction is defeated gives a planetary bonus, from Auto-healing to radar-jamming to a Jedi Hero to assist in the battle. Regardless how you play, the game is very addicting and can suck up a lot of time in the same way Team Fortress 2 will if you join a good server, except the average battle lasts between 6 and 10 minutes with no timer indicated, so it can stretch on without one noticing they've been repeatedly pushing back the Droids through the streets on Naboo for hours.
Multiplayer online is similar but different with the effect that players will not do what bots do, being as crazy and imaginative as they are, attacking from interesting angles and flanking you with an X-Wing when all you have is a pistol and thin wafer-mint concussion grenade. I recall getting in a clan some time ago on multiplayer, and retrospectively it's not a thing I encourage or endorse.
dot dot dot! ...
Let's just leave it at that. -Although it is a fun story. Ask me about it some time.
The things the game falls short in, are due to the fact that the concept of a game as large as it wants to be and the battles of the scope they try to emulate, make some tears at the seams when an idea's fabric is stretched as far as it is. Don't get me wrong, Battlefront is a great game. The faults lie in small breaks in the realism or depth of the game, such as the uncomplicated and very simple animations of the characters which aren't dynamic, or Jedi heroes that don't deflect shots, they simply absorb them like they're made of iron. Or phrik as the case may be.
Many of the levels are somewhat one-sided requiring reasonable amounts of skill to beat, which can annoy new players, and many of the vehicles are disappointing compared to how they're shown and described outside of the game, and I have a long list of nitpicks that wouldn't really add much to the judgment of the game apart from the fact that they're silly enough details to ensure most Youtube videos of the game are just entertaining enough.
The game was attempted to be amended for it's foibles with Star Wars Battlefront II in early 2006, adding the options of being able to play as Jedi or other famous Star Wars heroes, as well as engage in Space Battles, and more varied map types and objectives, but the attention seems mostly split and it comes down to personal preference which version of the game you prefer, due to both having strong points and weak points (SWBF2 commonly is attributed with bad level design). Either way, they're both fun, and the original is the one I prefer.
From being able to knock Mace Windu off a cliff on Bespin with a concussion grenade, to being rewarded with headshots on Ewoks and Gunguns alike, Battlefront is a game that gives enough interest and entertainment in Star Wars enough to make you love the Saga all over again, entirely forgetting Hayden Christensen exists. If you have a craving for Star Wars and don't plan on re-engaging your childhood fanboy while indulging in pure unadulterated fun, Battlefront is definitely an option.
[This review was not edited or amended by the criticisms given in the Review Wars.]