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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron

Ok, Star Wars Battlefront I & II are my ALL-TIME FAVOURITE GAMES. So I'm pretty biased when it comes to the Star Wars Battlefront franchise. When I heard that LucasArts was making a Star Wars Battlefront game specifically for the PSP, my favourite console... needless to say, I was ecstatic.

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron is a PSP-exclusive game developed by Rebellion Studios, not Pandemic Studios who developed SWBF I & II. This made me pretty nervous. But after playing the game, my fears were put to rest. Renegade Squadron is a worthy & faithful addition to the Star Wars Battlefront franchise, even if it doesn't offer too much different in way of core gameplay (All 3 games have fairly minor differences/improvements between them)


+Core Star Wars Battlefront gameplay is preserved.

+Game was made from the ground up for the PSP system and plays great on it.
Improvement on PSP port of Star Wars Battlefront II.

+Tweaked the character class aspect of the franchise, making it more customizable.

+Single player campaign, Galactic Conquest, & Instant Action modes... plus Ad-Hoc *AND* infrastructure play.


-Doesn't advance or change the overall Star Wars Battlefront gameplay very much.

-Graphics have never been a strong suit for the franchise.

-AI is a bit easy.

If you've never played a Star Wars Battlefront game, it's a 3rd person shooter set in the Star Wars universe. Some may be frustrated by the amount of dying you do, but you have to look at it this way: It's not like a traditional FPS or linear game where you are trying not to die at all.... it's more like you're playing as an entire army, one soldier at a time. You gotta go through a few to get the job done.

The game has 2 sides fighting on a map, with command posts for each side. You need to stand close to an enemy's command post for a certain amount of time to take it over, then it becomes your sides command post. These CPs are where soldiers spawn from, so it can be tough sometimes to take one over if enemies are spawning from it. As more CPs are taken over by one side, the opposing force loses reinforcements; they have less troops they can spawn... and the battle's over if one side has no troops or CPs left.

Traditionally Star Wars Battlefront has had about 4-5 soldier classes you can choose from. Each has their own strengths & weaknesses... let's say there's a soldier that has a jetpack. They might have a weak weapon to balance the game out. You choose one and get on out there. When you die, you can choose the same one, or a different class. Repeat.

What Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron does to tweak that feature is instead of having set soldier classes, they changed it to a set amount of (100) points. All weapons & upgrades cost certain amounts. As long as your total is 100 points, you can get whatever you want. So say you wanted a jet pack, you might have options to get a better weapon than in previous games. Or you could make your soldier really fast/strong with a lesser weapon. The expanded options are a bit daunting at first, but once you get into it it gets more comfortable to understand.

I was afraid this new system would really unbalance the game, but for the most part it's handled fairly well.

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron improves on the PSP port of Star Wars Battlefront II by making everything a little smoother. Loading times are shorter, space combat is better, and you can go inside ships (not just the hanger like in the PSP port of Star Wars Battlefront II...)

There are 2 different control schemes, the default can lock targeting on an enemy, moving the camera on them:

and the alternate (in my opinion the best FPS controls for the PSP short of a 2nd analogue nub): analogue nub = move, face buttons = look. As long as you like these modes, the game controls very well.

What I really love about Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron (and all the SWBFs) is that they are pick up & play; if you want to just fight out 1 battlefront, you can do that. If you want to fight a bunch, you can do that too. It can last as long as you want. That's why they are my most played games, even a year after getting it.

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron IGN gameplay footage:


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