Star Wars Battlefront II (2005)

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“Wars do not make one great.”
-Yoda

 

 

FF3-NES-DragoonbasicThe following is a contributor post by the Wonderland Dragoon Mage.”

If you are like me, you are about 5 feet 8 inches tall with dark curly hair and are madly in love with a beautiful redhead. Also you really enjoy the Star Wars games and get in the mood to play through them again every time a new Star Wars movie comes out.

I’m sure most of you are excited about the release of the new Star Wars Battlefront II. Some of you may remember and some of you may not be old enough to remember that the first time a game titled Star Wars Battlefront II came out was in 2005. It was released both for the PlayStation 2 as well as for the PC. They just recently re-enabled the multiplayer features for the 2005 version on Steam. I’m not entirely sure why the ones released for this generation of consoles weren’t named “Star Wars Battlefront III” and “Star Wars Battlefront IV” but I suppose they wanted to just make a clean reboot of the series since it has been such a long time since the originals came out.

As I’m sure you will guess, the original Battlefront and Battlefront II did not have anywhere near the level of sophisticated graphics that the new games do, but they were impressive for their time.

Let’s face it, the new games pretty much look like you’re watching the movies. There is something about the original Star Wars Battlefront II that captures the excitement and the sense of wonder that the original trilogy was able to convey, though. For me a big and important part of playing a video game is the mood that the game is able to set. Although it is less tangible than things like graphics and gameplay, I think it is a very important part of the gaming experience

How does a video game make you feel? What impact does it have on your emotions? Does it make you feel nostalgia? Does it make you feel uneasy or does it make you feel relaxed? Each game sets its own unique tone and each game is intended to convey a certain kind of feeling.

Battlefront II made me feel like I was actually a part of the Star Wars universe. Almost like I had become a character in the whole experience. It gives you the opportunity to play as a clone trooper, a stormtrooper, various Jedis and Sith, and even as droids. While there was not much emphasis on a campaign, it still did manage to draw you into its world.

Star Wars Battlefront II really had the feel of an online multi-player game. During this time, Sega Dreamcast was one of the only console systems that had really done very much with online gaming. I feel like in some ways the Battlefront games were similar to the Nintendo 64’s GoldenEye and Perfect Dark.

Games like these offered the feel of a multiplayer online game when in reality you were only playing with one to three other actual players and the rest of the characters were filled in with bots. The Battlefront games really did capture a lot of the feeling of the Star Wars movies in scale. I’ve played both the PlayStation 2 and PC versions but there is one feature in the PC version that I really enjoyed a lot. It gave you the ability to play as either a Star Wars hero or villain.

Whichever side you chose, you got to fight against the opposite side. So for example if you chose to be a hero you could play with characters like Luke Skywalker, Obi One Kenobi and Yoda. This would automatically mean that you fought against villains like Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Darth Maul.

If you choose to play as a Jedi you have certain force powers like force jump. If you play as Boba Fett you have the ability to use a jetpack and fly above the other players and even shoot rockets at them. You do not have an extensive list of force powers at your disposal such as was available in Star Wars Jedi Knight and the force powers vary depending on which Jedi or Sith you choose.

I was really impressed with the way they incorporated all of the authentic Star Wars sounds into the game. From the lightsabers to the blaster fire and even down to John Williams’ score playing in the background, LucasArts really did an excellent job in conveying the distinct Star Wars sounds in this game.

The controls on the first Battlefront game where less refined and I feel like they were much smoother on the second game, however I would say there was still room for improvement.

Star Wars Battlefront II was a really fun game to play. It really did make you feel like you were visiting the ice planet Hoth or the capital city on Naboo. I felt like the environments were very well done and true to the original designs from the films. I think the capital city of Naboo was one of my favorite levels and one of the most faithfully reconstructed from the films.

You will spend most of the time walking around but you also have the ability to pilot vehicles. The vehicles are enjoyable to use and most of them are pretty easy to control. It can really give you the edge you need in some battle situations especially if your troops are low and you get overwhelmed in an area. Obviously it is difficult to fight against an enemy vehicle as a ground trooper but if your class of character has a rocket launcher it makes it easier to pull off.

The one weak point in both of the Battlefront games were the single player levels. I remember when Titanfall came out and they did away with the story mode entirely. The original two Battlefront games remind me in some ways of the Unreal games where the multiplayer tournament was very much the focus of the game and the single player story was very limited.

Normally, I would not care for a game that had a weak single player campaign, but in this case I have to make an exception. The single player levels felt very tacked on and unnecessary. It basically felt like you were just dropped into a multiplayer map with a cutscene and a few extra mission objectives. The real fun of the game was experiencing the multiplayer battles outside of the story mode whether or not you were actually playing with a friend. This made the replayability of the game remarkable.

It is also worth mentioning that you can play levels in outer space with various ships from the Star Wars universe. On the one hand this was not one of the highlights of the games but I would say that it would have been a less complete Star Wars experience if they had not included the space battles. They did give you the option of skipping the space levels if you wanted to on the single player campaign.

If you have never played the original Battlefront games I would really recommend them. There are some really amazing Star Wars games out there, too. Both of the Force Awakens games were a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the RPG games Knights of the Old Republic I and II for some deep extended universe storytelling and even more insight into the nature of the force.

Star Wars Jedi Knight was a really fun multiplayer game for the PC. One of my favorite tricks in it was using force pull to grab someone’s blaster and then using a lightsaber against them. There was also a standard and alternate attack button for the lightsaber and the alternate one was especially effective. Multiplayer games at this time were not anywhere near as common as they are now and I was excited to meet gamers not only from all over the US but even places like England as well.

I have cartridges of the original trilogy for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and even a plug-in play game that lets you hold a lightsaber and it senses when you swing. They have really come a long way since then especially considering that you can now train as a Jedi in an interactive augmented reality experience that gives you the impression that you are battling holograms in your own living room.

The Star Wars franchise has allowed for so many fun ways to experience the world that George Lucas created. It really is amazing to me that it all started out from a fairly low budget sci-fi movie in the late 70’s and has become one of the biggest phenomenons in science fiction/fantasy. I really enjoy reading the books in the extended universe and I think the games and other merchandise are really a lot of fun as well. The Battlefront games are great as third-person shooters but the ability to use a lightsaber and the force really kicks the whole experience up a notch.

There is something about Star Wars that captures our imaginations. There is a magic to it that awakens our sense of adventure and childlike wonder. I don’t think any of us can say we never thought how amazing it would be to be a Jedi. The magic of the films is really just where it all starts. The rest is experienced in our hearts, minds and imaginations.

While Star Wars started in America, it is very much a worldwide phenomenon. People in places like Japan and England are just as enthusiastic about it as we are. It is a story that transcends culture and this was very intentional. George Lucas deliberately set out to create a story that had its roots in ancient cultures and traditions as well as religious beliefs from all over the world. It was designed to be a modern day mythology. It took on the format of an epoch found in stories written as far back as Beowulf and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Star Wars blended Lucas’s love of swashbuckling sword fights and Old West gunslingers and merged it with science fiction and even threw in his love for racing via the pod races in Episode I.

I think part of what made these stories so enduring and so loved is how it took a lot of established things and put them together but also did some very unique things. There was a brilliance to taking the things that he loved and making them things that we love. Perhaps without that enthusiasm on his part as he created the films he would have never been able to spark the love and admiration of millions of fans worldwide.

The Jedi are inspired by characters such as Merlin and even draw a lot of their inspiration from the Japanese sword art of Kendo. Various other sword fighting techniques and martial arts were incorporated as well.

If you are interested in trying out the original Battlefront games but you don’t own a PlayStation 2, the PC version is a good way to go, particularly if you want to play online with friends. The graphics will also look nicer on the PC but that said I really do enjoy the PlayStation 2 version and I enjoy using a wireless controller instead of a keyboard. When I think back on some of the most enjoyable games that I have played on the PlayStation 2 including things like Kingdom Hearts II and Shadow of the Colossus, Star Wars Battlefront II is right up there with some of my favorites.

 

The 8-Bit review
 Visuals: 8/10
The graphics are a bit outdated but the attention to detail on the environments were impressive and for its time it had pretty good graphics.

 Audio: 9/10
This is one of the places the game really shines. The faithful reconstruction of the original sound effects and soundtrack was very well done and made you feel like you were in the middle of a Star Wars adventure.

 Gameplay: 7/10
The controls could have used some refining particularly in the PlayStation 2 version but it was still a lot of fun to play. There were a number of fun and interesting options for the characters and classes that you had access to and a number of characters could be unlocked later on in the game.

 Narrative: 5/10
The story line was the weakest part. It felt tacked on and really wasn’t all that interesting.

 Cast: 6/10
This part of the game could have been better. Overall the voice acting was limited and the storytelling in this game was not all that great. The voice actor who narrated the dialogue of the clones did a good job.                                                                                                                  

 Replayability: 10/10
The replayability of this game is very high due to all of the great battle levels. You can set it up so it plays one Battleground location after the other. There were a number if different modes.

 Uniqueness: 7/10
It was very similar to the first Battlefront game and there have been other games since then that are very similar in some ways but the use of the force and lightsabers does make it unique.

 My Personal Grade: 8/10
In spite of some of its shortcomings, Star Wars Battlefront II is a game that I really enjoy a lot. Playing the video games are one of the most fun parts of the Star Wars extended universe. Battlefront II was a great game and I would definitely recommend you check it out if you haven’t had a chance to play it yet.

Aggregated Score: 7.5

 

This is a quick shout out from the Wonderland Dragoon Mage! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review. I love both gaming and writing so this is a great place to be. I see beauty in the mundane things. I never want to lose the sense of wonder that I have for life.

 

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8 thoughts on “Star Wars Battlefront II (2005)

  1. Great post and I love your detailed scores of the various game components! 100% agree that the sounds are excellent but I must admit I also really enjoyed the solo campaign. Maybe that’s just me… Awhh man, I really just want to play it again now!

    Like

    • I will need to play the single player levels again. Most of the time I just play the Battlegrounds now and I do remember thinking it was interesting getting the view of the betrayal from the standpoint of the clones. Star Wars is such a great template for so many good books and games.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have played this game. I agree with many of the points discussed in the review, the controls were more refined, the locations represented the areas from the films and the vehicles were useful and added to the battles. I did, however, enjoy the campaign mode, I liked the levels and completing objectives, while fighting an army, and the story was quite dark (which fitted with the mood of the Revenge of the Sith film). It was also interesting to play a game as one member of an army, as the player fought with identical characters and it was interesting watching the progress of the battles. I also enjoyed the way the story began with the 501st fighting with the Jedi in the Clone Wars, followed by the betrayal of the Jedi, then the establishment of the Empire and defeating dissent and ending with victories against the Rebellion (which spanned the films from Attack of the Clones to the Empire Strikes Back). I remember the Assault fighting mode (the one with the heroes) was available on the PlayStation 2 version of the game, except it could only be used on the Mos Eisley level. I also enjoyed the description of why Star Wars is so popular.
    How do these games compare to the modern Star Wars Battlefront games? Why do you not like the levels set in Space?

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    • I will have to give the single player campaign another try. As of yet I have not played the new Battlefront games but I am really curious about them and they do look pretty amazing. I had a bit of difficulty with the Space Battles because it seems like the starships were trickier to control. I am still glad that they included that as a part of the game though.

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      • I enjoyed the campaign mode, I liked completing the various objectives and it was interesting working out how to complete the missions. Some people have told me that the objective-based gameplay did ruin the replayability of the game though, as the player had to follow a set path to complete each level. This was different to the other game modes, which allowed a much greater range of possible outcomes occurring during each level and there was a number of ways of winning each battle. I do remember it was quite difficult to fight fast ships in the space battles.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. When I read this, I kept thinking I couldn’t remember the last Star Wars game I played. I know I’ve played a good chunk of them, and I played this one years ago somewheres. Are you picking up the latest Battlefront II, controversies and nontroversies and all?

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    • I would like to give it a shot. The trailer sure looks impressive but it does seem like a lot of people have been disappointed by the new ones.

      Liked by 1 person

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