Reviewed: November 16, 2005
Released: November 1, 2005
The epic struggle of good versus evil in the Star Wars universe is once again revisited in Star Wars Battlefront II the second edition to the Lucas Arts popular action game Battlefront. The fans complained and Lucas Arts tried to listen but some will be disappointed in the results. The premise of big battles on a wide variety of planets, ships and in space is there but the game still lacks a compelling story line of its own or even decent in-game cutscenes. The addition of playable Jedi heroes and better space fighting capabilities makes this game only slightly better than it's predecessor.
Star Wars Battlefront II has four distinct game play sections using the entire Star Wars universe as your backdrop. Using the first games campaign mode and conquest type game as a starter they added a new section called Instant Action where you choose the planet or section of space and the type of game you play.
The one feature that gamers wanted was to play as their favorite Jedi in on line multiplayer free for all fights and now they can. The multiplayer is there with the addition of a couple of programs to help both in getting on line and in game functions like chatting and finding your friends to play on line with. Battlefront II plays very well but other games in the Star Wars saga have had better story lines and a more cohesive package.
Star Wars Battlefront II combines both first person shooter with space simulation combat and a strategy type game called Galactic Conquest for Star Wars fans. One thing that struck me from the start with this game is the feel that it was different games that they had packaged together. The game has three distinct game sections, Campaign, Galactic Conquest and Instant Action with the multiplayer being a different part of the Instant Action game.
Unlike many of the other Star Wars games I have played Battlefront II really doesn't make much sense other than all out war with the characters of the Star Wars universe. There are definite goals you are given along the way but they don't really follow much of a logical path. But who says fun has to be logical.
In all the single player campaign sections and the instant action skirmishes you are given goals but they follow the lines of either assault, defend or capture the flag. Many times in the single player campaign it will be a combination of two or all of these at some time in each section. The AI in the campaign section is okay but not really that good.
Most of the missions are hard due to the amount of characters fighting, not how good they are. Many of the scenes are really a matter of just finding the right way of going about things with the available characters or using the scenery and landscape to your advantage to get the goals accomplished.
They have also added the use of Hero characters, some with Jedi powers to help in your fighting. These are unlocked in the single player missions and some of the multiplayer games when certain conditions in the game are met. The character unlocked is the one appropriate to the scene you are fighting in, for instance Yoda is available in one scene fighting with the Wookies.
The single player campaign follows the 501st Clone Army of the beginning of the Star Wars saga but some of the missions are not really relevant to the story. A clone narrates the story for you but there is just not much of a story here other than the saga of Star Wars. The game just elaborates on the movies' premise and starts you into each game section.
In the games single player sections it allows you to skip the space fighting and go directly to the ground parts. A gameplay feature unique for the space fighting is where you can land your ship in an enemies landing bay and destroy their ship from the inside using your pilot or marines. While there are some defenders inside the ship the bigger fight is getting to the ships landing bay.
Then you have the Galactic Conquest game from the first Battlefront that has been improved upon. In this turn based game you are trying to control the galaxy by taking over planets and fleets of the computer controlled opposition one at a time. Some of these planets are key to controlling areas of the galaxy and give you special weapons and abilities when conquered.
You pick the section of the Star Wars saga to play from and during your turn you first recruit troops then move your units to better positions in an overview of the galaxy. Then your fleets and troops attack or defend against the computer which you play out in first person perspective. You win the game when you have defeated all the fleets and taken over all the planets of the galaxy.
The Instant Action is where you can jump right into a fight much like the multiplayer games only against the AI of your computer. In all the Instant Action games you have the choice of which side your fighting, the planet or area of space your fighting in and what game type from the conquest, hunt, assault and the two capture the flag games.
In some of the games you have a variety of space and ground based vehicles that you can use. Some of these are rather annoying to use in some of the maps as they are larger or faster vehicles and the map is too small to be using them. For the space fighting scenes it is nice to use a joystick but you can use a mouse adequately.
The games controls are pretty basic with a variety of weapons depending on which character you choose. There are basically six different characters available all with a particular specialty no matter which unit you fight for. Two of the characters will be locked in each scene until you have earned enough points in the scene to unlock them.
The game seems to make use of the same location sensitive points for the AI from the first Battlefront game. You can actually roam around the map and be ignored by the enemies if you are not actually within a certain area near your goals. The enemies will stay near your goal and ignore you until you come near them. Other than a couple of glitches that I saw the game runs very well with good frame rates even during some of the intense combat scenes.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 has some of the best graphics in a video game. There are some worlds that are really strange but that is what the Star Wars universe is all about. They do a really good job with semi transparent glass and force fields. The striking colors of the lasers and other weapons make a really colorful and well made game. The graphics hold together pretty well except an occasional glitch where you can see through walls when your up close or missing objects for whatever reason.
The in-game cutscenes are pretty poor using compressed video of gameplay graphics. They have created the scenes and then blurred them for whatever reason and it makes the scenes a poor replacement for a compelling story. The maps are well textured and you have plenty of control over the settings for your computer. Grass and water is nicely modeled but some of the scenes with rain and lightning storms are well done with no apparent loss of frame rate.
The sound is one of the great things just like the movies were. With some of the original Star Wars sound scores from John Williams, Battlefront II has some great music along with the usual sound effects and character voices. The in game sound effects are quite good and blend with the score of the game well.
The music goes along with the theme of the game and can help you along with the frantic pace. It adds a great deal toward making the game a total package and a very good game.
Battlefront II is worth the price as a total package with all three sections of the single player combined with the online play. The single player section of the game is pretty good but with an average AI that does not always make good decisions in both the single player campaign and the Galactic Conquest game. The multiplayer games are basically the same as the single player with the big exception of the many people your playing against on line.
Star Wars Battlefront II comes with two programs to make your gaming easier and more enjoyable in multiplayer. Gamespy has added their online Gamespy Arcade to make it easier for you to join from one of the many on line games on their servers. Using one of their four game ladders you can play with up to 64 people in either space or on ships and planets in either conquest, hunt, assault or capture the flag with one or two flags. You can also keep track of your rankings on the leaderboards there.
Battlefront II also has a gaming program called Xfire that tracks games and people you pick as your friends and allows you to join them on a variety of servers with many different games. This is another way for you to join in the on line games that are going on along with the Gamespy servers. Xfire also has features like in game chat and screen shots for you to post on their site for your profile along with their easy to use one click join feature. This allows you to easily join on line games using their small background program.
Whether you play on either of those servers or you create your own the multiplayer action is fast paced and fun. The one game type to play with the Jedi's and hero's of the Star Wars universe is really fun on line. Each hero has their own unique abilities and using them against one another is a fight worth trying your hand at.
Star Wars Battlefront II is a good game and worth the effort that Lucas Arts has put into the sequel. With the additional maps, better space fights and fixes for on line issues people will enjoy this part of the Star Wars saga.
If you want barely controlled chaos in a bright and awesome sounding package Star Wars Battlefront 2 is for you. The game has some really good graphics and the score for the music is great. The multiplayer is where this game is the best.