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Nostalgia Hit: Star Wars: Battlefront

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With a reboot of the series apparently in the works (sometime in 2015 according to EA) it is worth looking back to what can be put up there with the best of the movie-game genre. Easy to pick up, fantastic to play multiplayer, Star Wars: Battlefront.

This movie adaptation is a simulation of the major battles of the saga, requiring the player to shoot at stormtroopers and droids, capture tactical posts and man a diverse array of vehicles to claim victory. Empire, Rebel, Federation and Republic armies are all playable, as are a variety of soldiers with different capabilities, many which are shooter game stock but some are colourful, like the jetpack classes or shielded ‘droideka’.

The game looks smooth for a 2004 title, and maps are detailed and loyal to the fiction. Fans of the films (and I can’t profess to be the biggest) can also get a rush from watching Mace Windu go to work on the enemy ranks, or feel powerless to stop Vader lay waste to their tactical plans, all accompanied by the iconic score you hear in the films.

For its time, SW:B boasts of AI that aren’t rage-quit-inducingly stupid, you even see the same bot names cropping up – I grew to despise Unit 513 – when you regard your enemy as a rival, a respectable adversary rather than an annoyance something is working.

The game is far better when you play splitscreen with a pal/rival than on your 1’s. Many of the maps are laid out in such a way that one general can be spread too thin but two enforcers can dominate. For example, remember that scene in the film where Luke ties rope around the robot camel from his fighter? You can do that (and it is satisfying), but it requires teamwork. Incidentally, vehicles and spaceships are great fun to zoom around in on some maps (but they are a little overpowered). Near enough every one you see in the movies is involved or driveable somehow, and generally are most efficiently driven by two players.

By today’s standards, SWB does not bring anything revolutionary to the scene, but it’s a solid, satisfying title, definitely one to dig out of the box over the winter holiday, and load up with a few players.

I recommend watching a few of the battle scenes beforehand – the movies are usually on TV sometime over Christmas, and it makes the game really pop.

 

 

Jack McNougher

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