Old but Gold is my series of reviews working through a pile of older games. Each week we’ll be examining an older game that was just sort of… given up on. I’ll try, as always, to keep it focused on cheap titles, specifically less than $25(AUD) on Steam at the time of writing. So, come with me on this journey and let’s rediscover the magic together. Or for those of you who haven’t picked up the game already perhaps this review will sway you to check it out
Sometimes at night, I still hear the desperate pleas, the cries for help echoing above the blaster fire and explosions. That haunting report “We’ve lost a command post.”.
2006 was a wonderful time. I was nine and my video game options were still confined to what my parents deemed appropriate and what I could get away with when at a friend’s. Predominant amongst those memories of a simpler time is Star Wars Battlefront II. Released just the year before by Pandemic Studios (RIP) I spent endless hours on the couch with my best friend, swapping the controller over on deaths. It’s not much to look at now I’ll grant you that, but at the time it felt like we were troopers in the galactic war, because let’s face it no-one wanted to be the droids.
Trying to recapture that magic in 2017 is easier than you’d think. It may not be as glossy and fancy as the remade Battlefront that released in 2015 but it has the character and soul EA’s version lacks. As I launch the game I can’t help but hum along to The Imperial March, that iconic score composed by the wonderful John Williams. Battlefront came from the golden age of Star Wars games and you can feel that history. The tight and frantic dogfighting in space battles or the gigantic planetary assaults that see you fighting as a one-man army really reflect that.
(I see your laser and I raise you twin rockets)
Battlefront’s story is well… it’s non-existent but also present at the same time. In many ways, the game is simply a Star Wars soldier simulator. It struggles to carve out its own story because the story’s already been written. It’s hard to put a new spin on events that have been so detailed already. But at the same time, this is where Battlefront excels. There are other games if you want new stories within the Star Wars universe such as the Jedi Knight series, or Republic Commando if you prefer to stay in the boots of a trooper. Doing away with the story gives players the chance to forge their own by way of ‘galactic conquest’. In your story, maybe the Empire wiped out the rebels? Or maybe the Separatists won against the republic? Battlefront leaves it up to you.
I won’t deny that it has its share of issues. Often in conquest maps the all-important duty of actually taking control points seem to rest on you. Pandemic’s AI was unknowingly mimicking the play style of modern gamers in any objective-based team game as your comrades in arms charged off into the meat grinder of battle. Having said that, Battlefront always had plenty of tanks, suddenly being the lone soldier isn’t so bad when you can blast hapless droids and rebel scum without a care.
At the end of the day, Battlefront 2 is Battlefront 2. The game’s following says more than I ever could. In a world with a million and one Star Wars games this is lorded above all else. If I ever make a list of ‘100 games you must play before you die’ Battlefront 2 will be there. It’s a huge struggle to not let my love for this game influence this review too much but it’s a part of my childhood and even now it manages to hold up as an aged yet decent fps.
Star Wars Battlefront 2
- Released: 31/10/2005
- Developer: Pandemic Studios
- Pros: Star Wars, some of the best dogfighting/space combat in video games, can kill Rebel Scum
- Cons: dated, multiplayer requires effort on the players part to get running, AI doesn’t play well with others.
- Price: $13 AUD
- Score: 9/10
- Link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/6060/
Want more gaming articles? Come check out this article by Tony Cocking on the 3ds