Author: The Gallant Forty-Twa
Original Thread: Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron (First Review + Word Heavy)
Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron, Review
Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron [PSP] Review
I will begin this review by discussing the story and plotline of the single-player aspect of the game. To prevent spoiling it for people who haven't played it, I shall place this section of the review in spoiler tags. I shall also mention that this is a fairly in-depth and long review. Thanks for reading.
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: Elite Squadron has a fairly interesting storyline in its main campaign mode. It follows the story of two clones who have been cloned from the DNA of a Jedi. After the events seen in Episode III and 'Order 66', X2 and X1 chose different paths with X2 (your character) joining the new rebellion against the Galactic Empire. X1, your brother, turns to the dark side and joins the Empire.
This sets up what could have been a very interesting and emotional Star Wars storyline but ultimately it is never quite expanded to its full potential. The story involves the player, X1, playing a series of battles on different worlds such as Dantooine before the ultimate climax on Mustafar where the player must kill his brother, X1 in a single 1v1 duel.
While this works on paper, in the game it is fairly poorly implemented. The numerous story levels mostly consist of "go here, kill this, capture that, go into space, board the cruiser" type objectives which really make it very repetitive and each level has a skirmishy feel to it. This is broken up by some other elements such as parts where a player must take down TIE bombers with turrets and the like.
The story is also presented using recycled footage from the movies to create small intro videos to the levels of under 10 seconds with a terrible voice over. They really did let this game down in what could have been its strongest point.
PSP games can vary in this department. There have been technical marvels such as God Of War: Chains of Olympus, but many other games with poor visuals. Elite Squadron is very touch-and-go in this department. Some elements of the game look very nice while others just look rushed and poorly designed. Levels such as Hoth look very nice, with the white snow and towering AT-AT's well rendered. The interior of Echo Base also holds up very well and they clearly spent alot of time on this. However, on other maps like Yavin 4 it looks really bad. The draw distance is terrible even for a PSP and there is alot of fog and flat blocky textures filling the map.
Inside the spoiler is a screenshot of the Yavin map showing the poor texture quality and blocky visuals of the landscape. This screenshot also demonstrates the Heroes vs Villians mode where powerful icons from both sides battle it out against eachother.
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
However, this screenshot of the Vjun and Hoth maps shows how some parts of ES's visuals can actually be fairly good in comparison with others.
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
The actual unit models look fairly good. The basic soldiers look very nice and the animations are very good, especially for the Clones/Stormtroopers/Rebels who, when sprinting, give a very life-like movement. Vehicles are, again, varied. Some of the Heroes in the 'Heroes v Villains' game mode look fairly poor. Han Solo looks really blocky and his animation is terrible! The AT-AT's and most Starfighters are well-rendered while others such as the Alliance/Republic LAAT just look terrible in comparison. Space Battles look fairly good, with the two capital ships well-rendered and many, many more ships outside the battle in the distance. This is one of the best parts of the game, especially when above Hoth for example as seeing the battlefield below the space battle on the white planet is really stunning for the PSP.Also, the Death Star map is brilliant! Not only do you have both capital ships and all the fighters rendered on-screen, you also have a massive Death Star recreated in near-perfect quality right beside it.
Overall, ES is an average game in this department. Some levels and units look pretty while others can, at worst, be a total eyesore.
This is one place where almost every Star Wars game will shine. The game features the original Star Wars music playing in the background which I'm sure needs no explanation as to its quality.
Alot of it is randomly played though with no relevance to the level you're playing Spoiler Alert, click show to read: but it was nice hearing "Battle of the Heroes" while fighting your clone brother X1 on Mustafar in the final duel on the final level which felt just like the end of Episode III .
The sound effects are also standard Star Wars fare. Stormtrooper blasters have their own iconic sound, as do the Clone rifles. The AT-AT's feature the same sounds as in the films as do most other weapons. They all sound just like they did in the movie so not much explanation is needed as to their quality.
The voices are, with many things in this, varied. Some, such as Lando's, are fairly well-done seeing as it wasn't the original actor voicing it, while others such as the voice of X2 leave much to be desired in the acting department. The voice-over for the cut-scenes are downright terrible. There's just no effort, its just a generic person reading off a sheet instead of a proper voice-actor.
Elite Squadron holds up fairly well here. The story mode, as mentioned in its section, leaves much to be desired with poorly thought-out campaign levels that don't feel too different from Instant Action games apart from mild scripted events. The actual controls are alright. There is a lock-on system used which is helpful most of the time, but annoying in others. It helps you to actually kill people in it as the lack of a second analog stick makes manual aiming on a PSP fairly hard. However, sometimes the lock-on just doesn't seem to be logical. For example, you can have a Stormtrooper right infront of you blasting you to pieces while the lock-on chooses to instead aim at some random enemy in the background who doesn't pose any immediate threat whatsoever. Other than that, controls are well-mapped and you never feel too restricted and its easy enough to change kit/weapons in combat.
The Instant Action mode provides the classic Battlefront experience. You can choose from around 12 maps and fight it out in either Conquest, CTF or HvV game modes (the latter sees Heroes such as Yoda and Han Solo fighting against people like Boba Fett and Darth Vader). Most maps only feature the Conquest and CTF modes however. Conquest simply sees you fighting against your enemy to reach 1000 points. Whoever gets there first wins. Points can be gained by killing enemies, blowing up their capital ship and capturing command points.
The camera can also be problematic, especially in close quarters like inside enemy ships where it plays havoc on you and can leave you defenseless as you get shot at from people you can't see. Its also very nice to see the multi-layer battlefronts. You can fight over control of an Ion Cannon on the ground, use it to take out the enemy ship shields then hop in a starfighter, board it in space and blow it up before using an escape pod to get back to the ground. Its very well done, but the transitions between fronts are done via quick cut-scenes.
For the most part though, Elite Squadron's gameplay holds up well and provides fun, arcadey gameplay which is quickly picked-up and suits the style of the game.
Elite Squardron provides quite alot for you to get stuck into. The campaign is very easy and can be completed in mere hours, the hardest difficulty only really making it hard due to camera and lock-on issues which complicate gameplay.
Outside the campaign, you have Instant Action over about 12 maps which, as stated in the Gameplay section, provide numerous modes and will ultimately be the mode that you spend most time in as you fight across the battlefronts. I cannot comment on the Multi Player aspect as my PSP's WiFi card is broken, leaving me offline so I apologise for that.
The other mode is Galactic Conquest. This is a very fun mode providing a quick strategy game to play. Further information on this mode is contained within the spoilers. Spoiler Alert, click show to read: You can choose from 6 pre-set missions or choose one yourself. You start as either the Rebels or Empire, Republic or CIS. You each start with a key planet such as Endor and a couple of minor ones like Bespin. You then battle it out for control over the Galaxy on 12 different planets split into different areas - Outer Rim, Core Worlds and Trade Lanes. Players take it in turns gaining money from their planets and spending it on troops or upgrades such as Logistics which allow for bigger garrisons on planets, or Infantry which makes your troops hardier. This can also be spent on 'one-shot' abilities like Insurgency which makes an enemy planet become neutral again or Jedi Hire which allows you to play as a Hero for the whole of the next game, even if you die you will respawn as the hero and can really turn the tide of difficult battles. They can also be spent on Commanders like Vader, Han, Kenobi or Leia who are unlocked once certain zones (Outer Rims etc) are controlled and provide bonuses such as half-price tech upgrades). Battles can be auto resolved or fought yourself, and the auto-resolve is actually very fair and a bit biased towards the player most of the time. The game ends when you capture the enemy's homeworld or they capture yours. Overall, this is a very fun and fast strategy mode which provides a bit more to play through instead of just Instant Action, but it could be made a bit deeper than it is.
There is also alot of customisation found here. Players can unlock colours for their armour, weapons and equipment via completing story levels and challenges such as "Capture 50 command posts" or "Shoot down x amount of starfighters" and this gives you incentive to go back to the story to replay it on harder settings to unlock everything which carries over to Instant Action, Galactic Conquest and Multiplayer. Some items are really cool like jet packs and wrist rockets (you can be like Boba Fett!).
Overall, you get a fair amount of stuff to sink your teeth into, even if alot of it is rather shallow but nevertheless, the content here will satisfy most people who buy Battlefront games.
Overall, I was fairly impressed with ES. I missed out on Renegade Squadron which introduced many of the features seen here so I can't compare the two. However, it provides enough content to satisfy most Battlefront fans with lots of Instant Action maps to get stuck into with the new multi-layer battlefronts combining ground and space combat together. The soundtrack is brilliant and apart from camera issues the controls hold up well. The graphics let it down a bit, with many block flat textures found in equal amounts with the detailed ones.
Story - 6
Graphics - 7
Sound - 8
Gameplay - 8
Lasting Appeal - 9
Total Score 7.5/10
(not an average)
Very wordy I know, but I feel compelled to say as much as I can about the game to best inform people before they make the decision to part with their cash. I hope you enjoyed my first review.
The Gallant Forty-Twa
Last edited by Hesus de bodemloze; January 29, 2010 at 11:56 AM.
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