We return with yet more details (and lots of new movies) from the multiplayer Star Wars shooter.
Though we just previewed it a few weeks ago, we got to play an updated build of Star Wars: Battlefront to see how development of the multiplayer Star Wars shooter is progressing. And, as luck would have it, we uncovered a couple of new features during our playtime as well.
We engaged in a couple of matches within Battlefront's galactic conquest mode, which has you and another player fighting against each other for control of various key planets in the galaxy. When you meet in battle on a particular planet, that planet will fall under the control of the victor of that battle, and the galactic conquest game ends when one player has taken control of all the planets. However, you can choose to contest a previously captured planet and retake it, meaning that one match in this mode can potentially go on indefinitely.
At any rate, here's one of the interesting things we discovered: The planets that you capture in this mode confer certain bonuses that you can enact at the beginning of subsequent matches. There are a handful of such bonuses to select from, including elite training, which gives your AI teammates greater accuracy; reinforcements, which brings in more troops to help when you're in a pinch; sabotage, which makes enemy vehicles start out with a great deal of damage; and Jedi heroes, which--you guessed it--introduces one famous AI-controlled Jedi into the mix to act as a one-man wrecking crew. On the original trilogy side, the empire gets Darth Vader (duh) while the rebels get Luke Skywalker. In the prequel trilogy battles, the droid army will see Count Dooku come to its aid, and the republic forces will be joined by Mace Windu.
We had the "opportunity" to fight a battle against Lord Vader, and realized, among other things, that it's damn near impossible to kill a Jedi. These AI characters will run around the map deflecting almost every incoming blaster shot (and even such things as rockets) and killing foes with one swing of the lightsaber. This is pretty amusing to watch, and also an effective aid, if it happens to be on your side. We also saw the sabotage bonus at work, which seems like it'll greatly hinder the side it's used against. While sabotage was active, enemy vehicles were already smoking and on the verge of falling apart when they first entered battle, and we were told that these vehicles will come into the fray with their energy at about 10 percent as opposed to having 100-percent energy for a fresh vehicle, which is a harsh penalty indeed for the opposing side.
We only got to see the console version of Battlefront; the PC game wasn't featured at the press event. Things still seem to be shaping up nicely with the game on both the PS2 and Xbox, and we were told that the balancing of the various factions against each other is going very well and has almost reached a completed state. We were also able to see how you'll be able to map some game functions to various parts of the controller--the example we were given was changing from first-person perspective to a third-person view by clicking down on one of the analog sticks. This degree of control customization should help console gamers have easier access to what is admittedly a PC-style game.
Star Wars: Battlefront is looking quite good on both consoles--all of the characters, vehicles, and environments look totally consistent with their counterparts in the movies--and we had a lot of fun blasting both imperial and rebel forces in Cloud City and the jungles of Yavin IV. The game should prove to be a shooter with a lot of variety for Star Wars fans when it hits shelves around the end of September. We'll bring you more on the game as that time approaches.
- Release Date: Sep 20, 2004 (US)
- ESRB: TTitles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older.
- Release Date: 2005 (US)
- ESRB: ETitles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older.