Hippo Manchester
November 10, 2005

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Games: Star Wars Battlefront II 
(XBOX/PS2/PSP/PC)

LucasArts

**1/2

Nothing cheeses me off like sequels that get it right where their predecessor got it wrong. OK, maybe that came out a bit odd but hear me out. The trend in games of late has been to push out a mediocre effort on a much-anticipated project (e.g. last year’s Star Wars Battlefront) to moderate fanfare, slightly burn your fan base and then release a better version in a year.

EA Sports game fans will know intimately of what I speak. Ever year, Madden players drop $50 on the latest roster changes, a concept which in this age of braodband-enabled consoles should be a free download. In the prequel trilogy in which it finds its roots Lucas burned us bad with the early installment only to deliver a pretty good game in the end.

So, yes, Battlefront II is a good game. The graphics are great, control is smooth, the addition of space combat (while not as robust as say, Rogue Squadron 3, is welcome) and control-able “hero” characters complete the package. And thats what is so damn aggravating. Everything that Star Wars Battlefront was seemingly missing has made it’s way into Battlefront II. More maps with battlefields from all six movies including —surprise, surprise —  Hoth, Dagobah, Coruscant, Mustafar etc.etc (i.e. Ice planet, swamp-planet, lava-planet, and so on.).

The game remains nearly identical. Players choose one of the warring factions in either of the two Star Wars eras, choose their battle field and then wage war upon each other via, laser, tank and lightsaber. You vie for possession of strategic control points sprinkled through the map, in order to reduce the number of replacement combatants the opposing side can receive. It is essentially a First Person Shooter that embraces the war of attrition strategy. The levels have a better layout than before, with the city/base style board having multiple avenues of approach to the strategic control points. The expansive outdoor levels now posses a more even mix of vehicles and control point location which goes a long way towards balancing the sometimes painfully favored battlefields. And, as in all good Star Wars games, you can kill stuff with laser swords and space magic. People who hate that simply hate freedom.

Star Wars Battlefront II is well made, a must for any Star Wars fanatic, or any fans of the massive team shooter genre. It’s so good that I wish I could go back in time and stop myself from playing the first version, which leaves such a horrible taste in my brain that I can’t play this one out of sheer spite and rage.

— Glenn Given