Thursday, 23 June 2011

Star Wars Battlefront 2

Where to start with this one?
Well, I suppose a short apology for the lack of posting recently, things have ... to say the least been hectic. The beginning of this year seems like a nightmare but it's all getting better now.
So back to the blog ;)

Star Wars Battlefront 2 or SWB2 as I'll refer to it from now on, is reaching it's sixth birthday, which is incredible considering this week alone I have sunk maybe ... 30 hours into it? and over it's whole lifetime ... well too many hours to still be considered a 'recreational' gamer.
But for now we'll stick to the core essentials of the game.
For those of you that have played SWB1, you will find that the core layout is more or less the same, you have to capture certain control points while defending your own with a variety of weapons and vehicles at your disposal. On paper this may seem like a concept that starts fun but gets boring very quickly, but I assure you it somehow manages to remain fun and entertaining all the way through.
The game itself was released in October of 2005, while it's predecessor SWB1 was released only a year earlier in September 2004 (If Wikipedia is to be trusted, as my memory isn't). The advancement from number 1 to number 2 is quite obvious, to begin with they have added a number of new units to the game including dark troopers for the empire and Bothan spies for the rebels as well as a whole host of other goodies for you to play around with.
It may be a strange thing to mention, but I have to admit that I fell in love with the menu from the get go. There is something strangely comforting about the Imperial March ... or is that just me? Either way, when that music starts blaring out with scenes from the original films in the background, my heart did kind of melt slightly. Another cool feature is that it will show game play footage if you leave the menu idle for about a minute or two, what makes this even more beautiful is that not only is the footage slow motion, it is also backed by some pretty epic fight music. Imagine 'Carmina Burana', but with lasers and other cool battle stuff.
The size of the game itself is something of a marvel compared to the first one. The original galactic conquest consisted of ... 5, maybe six planets? However each planet did have two maps which made up for it. But you couldn't move command ships around a galaxy biding your time till you struck their home planet in a fiery rage that would make the heavens tremble! - back to my point, the CIS campaign consists of no less than 13 planets, and ... 30? space battle points, hell you can even have space battles over planets before you go on to pillage the surface and take all the booty and women as treasure.
Each campaign, Empire, Republic, Rebels and CIS have their own planetary layout with different routs you can take which is a pretty cool thing in my books. Calling them campaigns though would be a bit misleading as I usually assume a set storyline with a campaign. With these though, it's more of a 'you make the story line'. SWB2 leaves you to wage war on whatever planet looked wrong at you today (so long as it is in the Star Wars galaxy) You can build the Empire and crush the Rebel scum or even overthrow the Republic as the CIS, you can literally change Star Wars history as we know it.
Unlike SWB1, you do not start off with all the troops at your disposal, instead you start off with just one type, the marine ... or assault ... or whatever you wish to call them, they have an assault laser rifle and that's enough for me. You then use the money you just earned from pillaging some 'helpless' planet to buy more troop types and combat bonuses. Oh yeah, that's also new, you no longer get planetary bonuses, you now need to buy them ... and they only last for one battle which makes using them a lot more tactical.
as well as these new combat bonuses, you also get cool troop upgrades. These sadly only last for as long as your soldier does and you really have to earn them. For instance as I'm playing right now, my assault trooper has an upgraded gun that shoots in bursts of purple(?) lasers that pretty much kills what it hits first time round. It's a game that rewards you for being a good killer, then rewards you for being good at living by letting you keep your rewards ... till the end of the round. But I suppose they needed to have some form of stopper on it otherwise you would quickly become too awesome for the game to handle.
The upgrades are also interchangeable should you wish to change troop class, Lord knows you've earned it you little killing machine you.
Space battles are almost too fun ... and difficult at the same time, each time I get into a space battle I'm still amazed by just how much is going on around me considering this game came out in 2005, upon leaving the ship, you find yourself surrounded by lasers, asteroids and death, usually in that order. Should you be luck enough to land in the enemy ship, you best hope you brought a landing craft otherwise it will be a lonely fight that should you lose, will result in you having to fly back over from your ship.
There is more to the game than just galactic conquest though, there is also Training, Space overview, Rise of the Empire and instant action. Training and Space overview are more or less the same, although Space overview is more of a short video about the do's and do nots of space combat. Rise of the Empire is More of a campaign than Galactic conquest and could even double up as a long tutorial because it slowly teaches you through the entire thing. this is an interesting take on the empire as you see it through the perspective of the 501st or Vader's fist, a branch of the Republic army.
Instant action acts as a skirmish mode allowing you to fight any battle as any army that you wish, there are also some special game modes but I will let you discover those for yourself.
So before I sign off for tonight I'll leave you with one final question, do you have what it takes to fight off a droid invasion of kashyyyk along side an army of Wookies all the while not knowing how long your little garrison of troops will hold out against the relentless onslaught?
If you answered "give me the rifle and watch them try to take me" I believe you are truly ready to embrace SWB2 ... on another thought, if you haven't played it yet, the game is six years old so you really have no excuse to not own it, shame on you.

Luke Seddon.