Battlefront II: She may not look like much

I’m not ashamed of my fondness for Star Wars: Battlefront, warts, bugs, glitches, retro-multiplatform tech, and all. It’s a classic example of how a game doesn’t necessarily have to be, you know, actually good for me to like it. Sometimes there are other, far more important factors at work.

Which is pretty much where I am so far with Battlefront II: so far, so middling, but oh-so-very-very Star Wars. You can read my first impressions on Gamespy. My full review will be up later this week after I’ve spent more time getting pwned on the public servers by little kids in clans scuttling around as Stormtroopers with names like ‘Darth Fuggit’ and ‘-=TF=- CawkRawker’ floating overhead in red text.

What, they cut maps? Even the Dune Sea map? :cry:

Did you hear anything about making those maps available as a download for PC users? That would be really nice…

Yeah, Dune Sea was awesome. I would have liked an expanded version of it. I’ve had me some pretty fierce firefights in Uncle Owen’s little Tattooine igloo. I think I once even stupidly got killed by the Sarlacc. It was cool dodging around the Sandcrawler and watching the bots pile into that Jabba barge thing, even if it wasn’t good for anything. I’ll miss the Dune Sea.

I also really liked both Cloud City maps, which are gone now. I especially liked that snow fort map that had one Imperial AT-AT advancing towards the buildings over a frozen lake. I don’t know where that was supposed to be, but it’s gone now, too. :(

However, I have to say I didn’t know they were going to port over any of the maps from the first game, so I wasn’t disappointed at what was left out so much as I was pleased at what was put in.

-Tom

Vehicles seem more fallible in this one, but I’d rather not be quoted on this, especially since I haven’t really seen too much beyond the smaller skiff-type craft yet.

It’s flipping impossible to find a smooth online game on the Xbox right now though, I got lucky this one time, but once the bots were kicked in favor of live 'Xbots" the fun kinda ends.

I’m liking this game a lot though myself. Offline campaign is surprisingly enthralling for a game of this type. The space stuff still feels claustrophobic though, those star destroyers are cramped up like a post-thanksgiving mall lot.

Vehicles seem more fallible in this one, but I’d rather not be quoted on this, especially since I haven’t really seen too much beyond the smaller skiff-type craft yet.

They also have weak points that make a huge difference. If you can line up your shots on an AT-AT’s neck, for instance, a Rebel vanguard can take it down after, I think, only one visit to a Gonk droid. Ouch. Which kind of sucks for the guys who want to jump into snowspeeders and do the leg tangling thing.

The space stuff still feels claustrophobic though, those star destroyers are cramped up like a post-thanksgiving mall lot.

Be sure to have a look at some of the different space maps. They lay out the same basics (two capital ships, one or more frigates), but at different angles and distances. I think there’s one map where it takes two whole ‘stamina bars’ of boost to get to the other guy’s capital ship. That makes for some wide-open dogfighting space between them.

Also, I don’t see how you guys can do it on the Xbox. I’ve been playing on multiple platforms, but once I sink into doing it on the PC, it’s untenable going back to the Xbox box controller. And the PSP controls! Ugh. No way.

-Tom

Thanks for the tip on the weakpoints, and for the namedrop on the ammo supply bot. Gonk droid is it then? ;)

Mind expanding a bit on the medal system if possible? I read the small blurb in the manual which mentions something about rankings and earning bonus weapon upgrades for astute offline play. It wasn’t exactly clear how this translates to the online arena though, or even if the upgrades have to be unlocked each and every battle for use? (Like the two advanced classes)

Well, firstly, it’s absolutely separate offline and online. You have an offline career profile, and you have a separate online profile when you login to the Gamespy servers (I think LAN games might apply to your offline career).

As you play, you get a medal every time you meet the prerequisites. For instance, Endurance is the most common one. I think that’s where you manage to get 12 points with one life, which is pretty easy to do. Every time you do this, you get a medal in Endurance.

Once you’ve racked up four medals, you go from Green to Veteran, which unlocks the medal’s special power. At this point, whenever you’re playing a game and you earn the medal, you actually get the Endurance bonus, which is a stamina bar the regenerates faster. You’ll get a little message in the text log that tells you when it goes into effect. If you’re playing in third person, you should see the blue globe around your charater model (I’m pretty sure the blue globe is Endurance).

I’ve been farming bots on the Kashyyyk map for the sniper medal, which you get with 6 headshots. Unfortunately, I’m not really fond of the particle beam rifle you get when you go Veteran. It seems to hit harder but fires too slow for my taste. Bleh. Which reminds me I want to get the homing rockets next.

When you earn enough medals, you go from Veteran to Elite, which I don’t think does anything except remind you how much time you’re frittering away with this game.

-Tom

I got my copy early yesterday and have been playing on and off when I get the chance. So far I really enjoy the new objectives thrown in with capping points. I just finished the “Kashyyk :Line in the sand” map and trying to defend the oil rig was absolutely nuts as I got down to the last choke point. Once repelled and expecting the “Victory” sign to pop up you realize you have to push them all the way back and retake every point you lost. Whew!

Fun stuff.

Like the original the single player camapign is surprisingly fun, maybe more so than online ATM.

I’ve gotten used to the XBox FPS control with many games of Halo and Halo2 so it’s not a deal breaker for me. I thought the Live stuff would make is easier to find friends and good games compared to the Gamespy lobby.

But last night it was tough to find an non-laggy game. I see a pop-up to kick lagging players, make sure everyone votes (left on the D-pad) when that comes up to salvage your game. Also filtering to only dedicated servers helps as well.

It’s disheartening and unfortunate that the game isn’t as consistent an experience online as our Halo 2’s and even recent BF2:Modern Combat’s. I’d attest to preferring what this game delivers over either of those heavyweights; but I imagine once people catch on as to how to properly filter game searches(optimatch takes extra time to truly reveal ping values), then the experience will improve. Unfortunately it means putting trust in up to 31 ‘other’ gamers and those are not very happy odds.

Does the Xbox version still support split-screen coop vs. bots? The original Battlefront was the only fps I’ve been able to get my girlfriend to enjoy, and I think the sequel, even if it’s more of the same, might warrant a purchase.

It’s good to hear that the single player is pretty good. I wonder if the PSP version will be worth it.

MarchHare, yep, you can still do co-op or competitive splitscreen vs. bots on the console version. Also, the console is still the only way you can do the campaign as a multiplayer game.

The PSP version is, umm, interesting. The controls take some serious getting used to, unlike Coded Arms, which I was able to jump into pretty quickly and was obviously built for the PSP. But the handheld Battlefront, which is a compromise in so many ways, is an interesting study in trying to cram onto the PSP something that, frankly, is too big for it.

-Tom

It’s actually surprising how the single player campaign makes for a better Episode 3 game than the actual Episode 3 game. I really enjoyed cutting down an entire map of Jedi in the Coruscant stage. It’s massive warfare rebuilt with objective-laden fun.

Also playing on Elite difficulty makes for a pretty solid challenge. The bots can still act pretty spotty and imbecilic, but this balances well with their unlimited spawns. Making a push for each Control Point/objective completion is a justifiably tense experience, particularly when you are down to single-digit reinforcements, but the payoff of success and a whole new outfit of troops feels wonderful.

Best dumb fun since…well Quake 4 I guess.

Elite difficulty is also good for practicing for online games. Most servers don’t use the auto-aim sticky-targeting, and auto-targeting.

Is this game built on the same engine as Battlefield 2?

Tom, have they addressed any of these issues since the beta?
http://www.quartertothree.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=513204#513204

In fact, have they made the game and different since the beta at all? If they haven’t, I’m surprised you like it at all. I mean I remember you hating on Doom 3 and that game was way better than Battlefront 2 [beta].

Issues? You mean the ones where you talk about how the game sucks so bad it hurts and the feel is all wrong and the vehicles should have limited ammo and the sound is so worthless it’s not even funny and how wouldn’t it be cool if it was more like X-Wing?

No, Igor, I don’t imagine they’ve addressed any of those issues. Now can you tell me whether you’ve stopped beating your wife?

-Tom

Is this game built on the same engine as Battlefield 2?

JMR, it’s pretty much the same engine as the first Battlefront. I’m sure Pandemic and DICE are cordial with each other, but I don’t think they’re that friendly.

-Tom

Is the battle of Hoth in this version?