It didn't quite live up to the console versions, but Star Wars: Battlefront II on the PSP was well received by the legions of Star Wars fans. In fact, it's one of the best-selling PSP titles of all time. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that the game is getting a sequel in the form of Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron. What is surprising, though, is that the game will be exclusive to Sony's handheld. We were able to see the game in action at Sony's recent Gamers' Day in San Diego.
The Renegade Squadron is a group of pilots assembled by Han Solo to help the Rebellion in their fight against the Empire. The game's story begins with the evacuation of Yavin in A New Hope and ends with the Battle of Endor from Return of the Jedi. Anyone who found previous game's single-player mode to be lacking will be pleased to know that the galactic conquest mode is back and has received a number of upgrades. The most notable change here is the improved controls, such as the ability to lock on to targets and use autopilot to quickly close the gap between you and your target. Also, the developer has heard your cries, and there are more things to shoot while in space, so you shouldn't ever find yourself flying around with nothing to do.
The first thing we were able to check out was the game's multiplayer, which will support up to eight players via ad hoc and 16 online. The team looked into the possibility of including voice chat but ultimately decided against it. There will be in the neighborhood of 20 maps to play on; some, like Korriban, Ord Mantell, and Boz Pity, will be new, while others will be improved versions of maps from the previous game. Many existing game modes such as conquest and capture the flag will return, but there will be new ones as well, such as hero capture the flag.
Renegade Squadron is placing a lot of emphasis on customization. Rather than only being able to choose from a handful of different characters with predetermined attributes, you're now given 100 credits to spend on creating your own unique character. You'll be able to choose species, head and body types, different weaponry, and even uniform colors. Your color scheme will even carry over to the ships you pilot, which means your dreams of piloting a pink TIE fighter are not far off. You'll also be able to spend your credits on different attributes so that your character can match your play style. If you want to be an agile character that captures points quickly, you can do so. Should you want to slug it out in combat, you can increase your health instead and use better weapons.
Hero characters are back, and now you'll be able to pilot Slave I, the Millennium Falcon, Darth Vader's TIE Advanced, and Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi starfighter. You'll also be able to land in hangars, do battle on foot, and even "borrow" enemy craft if you so desire. Speaking of on-foot action, the game's control scheme has been totally redone and appeared to be much more user-friendly. The camera didn't seem to have much trouble at all following the action and was able to quickly move from one target to the next. If you're one of the people that happened to like the previous game's control scheme--don't worry, you can still use it here.
Although it looked to be pretty far along into the development cycle, Renegade Squadron won't be hitting the PSP until this September. Until then, keep checking back for the latest information.