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Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
8.8
Visuals
8.5
Audio
8.5
Gameplay
9.0
Features
8.5
Replay
9.0
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Xbox
PUBLISHER:
LucasArts
DEVELOPER:
Pandemic Studios
GENRE: First Person Shooter
PLAYERS:   1-16
RELEASE DATE:
September 20, 2004
ESRB RATING:
Teen
IN THE SERIES
Star Wars Kinect

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

More in this Series
 Written by Nick Doukas  on October 01, 2004

Full Review: Good against remotes is one thing. Good against the living? That's something else...


If there's one thing the Star Wars films excel at, it's the presentation of absolutely epic battles featuring every kind of droid, ship, and ground force imaginable. How many of us -- as kids -- set up legions of Stormtrooper figures in our backyards, while placing our Rebel forces on the other side of the sandbox, to battle on Tatooine? C'mon, admit it?..


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Well, we can stop daydreaming, because Star Wars: Battlefront has finally arrived and it allows for every geek fantasy imaginable (well, except that one with Jenna Jameson in it) to finally be realized. Battlefront truly puts you right into the center of classic Star Wars battles, both old and new. While the single player is pretty bare bones, the multiplayer flies high in every aspect. Read on to find out why the Force is strong with this one?


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SW: BF allows you to play through that galaxy far, far away in either the Historical Campaign (which lets you participate in battles from both the Clone Wars era of Episodes I, II and the upcoming Episode III, and the Galactic Civil war portrayed in Episodes IV, V, and VI -- in chronological order) or Galactic Conquest, in which you take control of specific planets to eventually dominate the galaxy. There's also an Instant Action mode for those who want to jump right into the fight.


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Essentially, you'll take on the role of a foot soldier and battle your way across huge maps filled with every imaginable Star Wars vehicle (all of which can be piloted) droid, weapon, and alien creature. Everything from the Battle Of Endor, to the opening battle of The Clone Wars on Geonosis, is here for your enjoyment. Taking its cue from the popular PC title Battlefield: 1942, each map is basically a huge chess match of domination. Each team (Imperials and Rebels, or CIS and Clone Army) start with a specific amount of reinforcements (or re-spawns) and the objective to take over control points scattered around the battlefield. You must lead your team (made up of 16 bots per side) to victory by either capturing every control point on the map, or by simply running out the enemy's reinforcements. Once your team takes a control point, your reinforcements can re-spawn there. Conversely, if you lose a control point, the enemy will now re-spawn there, while your reinforcements are cut off in that area. To take a control point, you must stand near it for a specified amount of time. It will turn from red (enemy controlled) to white (neutral, neither side can spawn there) and finally to green, which means your side now controls the point. The more friendly troops you have crowding a control point, the faster it will change color. Additionally, if there are any enemies in the immediate area, the changeover will hold until you've cleared them all out.??


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You can choose from 5 different classes per faction. Each one has an infantry man (Stormtrooper, Rebel Soldier, Clone Trooper etc) a pilot (who can dispense health, ammo and regenerates the armor of any vehicle he's in), a heavy weapons expert (who utilize rocket launchers to take out the enemy vehicles) and of course, a sniper (who can call down air strikes using a recon droid. Send this baby into the middle of an enemy entrenchment and watch ?em fly!). In addition, each faction has a specialty class. These include powerful Wookies for the Rebellion, and a jetpack equipped Dark Trooper for the Empire. The Republic and the CIS get a Jet Trooper, and Droideka respectively.


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Essentially, the offline campaigns are nothing more than practice for online play. Sure, you get cool briefings from the Emperor (like the idea that after the Falcon's escape from Mos Eisley, Imperial troops land to teach the locals a lesson about aiding the Rebels), but it's basically the same as online ? and online is infinitely more fun since you're playing with, and against, human opponents. Though make no mistake, the offline is still a blast, but ultimately reveals itself as rather shallow.


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Which brings us to the online play ? simply astounding. Fighting your way through Hoth, Endor, Bespin and Geonosis with Wookies running by, speeders and tanks bearing down all around you, fighters battling it out in the skies above, and all manner of tracers, blaster fire, explosions and of course, Ewoks everywhere you look, no game has succeeded in placing you right into the thick of major Star Wars engagements like Battlefront. Fighting your way to control points, shooting it out down hallways (which looks just like the opening of A New Hope, when the Imperials invade the Rebel Blockade Runner), and jumping instantly into any vehicle (AT-ATs, AT-STs, Speeders, X-Wings, Tie Fighters, Tanks etc) is nothing short of amazing, and incredibly fun.


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Characters control well, with a default third person view that you can instantly change to first with the click of a button (though you will have to customize your controls, which is no problem, since the developers have included a plethora of options), and a zoom feature to help you identify distant targets. All of the vehicles also control well, with the exception of the flying craft. While certainly serviceable, they tend to have a ?floaty? feel to them. However, with a little practice, you'll be shooting down enemy craft and strafing ground targets with aplomb.


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Once online, you'll find plenty of bots to join with the human players, which gives each map a real, epic feeling of war. You can issue simple commands to bots in your vicinity, and order them to hold ground, follow you, or pile into vehicles. While they do exhibit plenty of stupid behavior (the AI can be quite poor at times) you'll also find that they mostly do follow your commands, and running into another player with a squadron of bots makes your heart race as you fight for survival. You'll feel like a real field general leading your troops to battle. Great stuff.


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The online play is quite stable, provided you find the right server. Make no mistake ? you won't be hosting 24 players with 128 U/L, but find a room with good ping, and you'll see little to no lag for hours on end. That's not to say that the Net code is without issues: you'll get the occasional lock-up that forces you to reboot, but mostly it runs smoothly, particularly considering the amount of action on the screen at any given time. After the match, the screen lists your kills and deaths, as well as who your nemesis was in that particular round,?It also lists?head shots, survival times, and numerous other statistics.


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Graphically, the game looks excellent. It's not up there with the best of what the Xbox has to offer, but it still looks quite solid. Character models are nicely detailed, and all of the animations, from Droidekas rolling out and unfolding into battle position, to Clone Troopers firing their massive weapons, and the way a Walker moves -- everything looks just as it should. Tracers and laser fire, as well as explosions, look fantastic, and little touches like the Sarlaac pit on Tatooine lend serious authenticity to the proceedings. All of the planets look wonderful, from the dusty red battlefields of Geonosis, to the forests of the Endor moon; the environments all exhibit great detail and solid textures.


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Aurally, the game exhibits top-notch production values, and blaster sounds, the roar of a TIE Fighter's engines, and the beeps and squeaks of a medical droid all sound pitch perfect. The famous John William's music is used to great effect here, swelling up at just the right moments during battles, and once again driving home the point that this is Star Wars!!

Bottom Line
Despite some of its flaws Star Wars: Battlefront delivers what it promises ? massive Star Wars engagements that drop you right into the films. While portions of the game are somewhat unpolished, the good far outweighs the bad, and if you're a Star Wars fan, you owe it to yourself to check out this title. Everything you love about the series is faithfully recreated here, and you'll have hours of fun online fighting the greatest skirmishes in the universe with your buddies. The offline portion is over quickly, but still has something decent to offer. However, online is where this baby really shines. I don't have a bad feeling about this, so pick it up and hop into the galaxy far, far away. As a Star Wars fan, I doubt you'll be disappointed.


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