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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.3.1    CPU: G4 @ 1000 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 2700 MB    DVD-ROM    Graphics: 64 MB VRAM

Star Wars Battlefront
August 10, 2005 | Matt Diamond

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Star Wars Battlefront Video Review
Check out IMG's video review of Star Wars: Battlefront. Requires QuickTime 7 (15 MB).
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There have been many Star Wars computer games over the years, including real-time strategy, role-playing, space combat simulators, and first-person and third-person shooters. Star Wars: Battlefront is at first glance a first- and third-person shooter. But where previous games like the Jedi Knight series told stories revolving around one or two heroic characters, Battlefront is about recreating the movies' epic ground battles.

I don't consider myself a die-hard Star Wars fan, though I've certainly seen all the movies and played many of the computer games. (All right, I've read five or six of the novels, too. But that's all, I swear!) But given the promise of personally experiencing memorable Star Wars moments like the AT-AT walkers assaulting the rebel base in The Empire Strikes Back, I was eager to give this game a try.

Use the Force, Luke!
Before I start with the praising and critiquing, a quick overview of the game. Star Wars: Battlefront is an action game featuring both single-player and multiplayer. Single player is just you as a member of one of two opposing teams, with all other units controlled by the computer. Multiplayer involves two teams of up to 32 total human players, possibly with additional units controlled by the computer to fill out the teams. (I'll have more to say about the computer controlled units in a bit.) Either way, your team must capture and hold command posts around the map to give the enemy fewer places to drop reinforcements.

Your other goal of course is to deplete the enemies reinforcements by killing as many of them as you can! (Please note that the violence in this game is similar to that of the Star Wars movies: lots of gunplay, people and droids falling about and vehicles exploding, but no blood or dismemberment.) There is constant juggling of the two tasks; sometimes you accomplish the most by helping your team defend command posts, other times it's time to charge, or take down an enemy assault vehicle, or repair a gun turret to beef up your defenses.

There are four factions that you can play as. The CIS droid army always faces off against the Republic clone army, and the Rebels always fight the Empire. Each faction has five different types of units, and you can pick what type of unit to be each time you are killed and need to jump back into the game. Different units work best in different situations and on different maps. But in all cases some support from other types of units is needed, so it is difficult to overstate the importance of knowing the maps, your own strengths as a player, and how to coordinate with your teammates.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Battlefront for me is getting to choose which unit to play next. On some maps I just love rolling around the map as a Droideka (droid destroyer) while on others I'll pick the clone army sniper to blow droids apart from some high vantage point.

In addition to the many recognizable Star Wars vehicles, units, and locations, there are four computer-controlled, lightsaber wielding Jedi/Sith heroes. You will recognize Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader fighting for the Rebels and Empire, and Count Dooku and Mace Windu for CIS and the Republic, respectively. It wouldn't be a Star Wars game without a few lightsabers, even if they aren't controlled by players. But in multiplayer I thought they were pretty annoying. Since the Jedis tend to run towards pockets of enemies they often end up sitting on a control point killing you every time you appear. (Yes, you read that right: Luke Skywalker is a camping bastard!) Thankfully the heroes are turned off by default in multiplayer games.


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