SONY PSP REVIEW: STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT 2
Star Wars: Battlefront 2
Playable SW on the road
Great visuals
Control sucks
AI lacks brains

The Emperor once said “Do what must be done”, and LucasArts done gone did it! by Devin DiNardo

December 14, 2005 - When Emperor Palpatine was given the opportunity to rebuild Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, Palpatine was unable to foresee that Darth Vader would become nothing more than a shell of the evil that Skywalker was destined to be. With their port of Battlefront II on to Sony's PlayStation Portable, it seems that LucasArts has made all the same mistakes of the once rancorous Emperor, and were left with a shell of the greatness that is Battlefront II.

BF II (as I like to call it) for the PlayStation Portable looks nearly identical to its console brethren. You have the same cast of characters, the graphics are nearly the same, and you can fly around in space to blow stuff up.

And just as it is in real life, it’s the little things that cause the problems.

The PSP version of BF II (not to be confused with BFF, Best Friends Forever!!) is missing some of its key features, namely levels. You’re given only two space levels; yes only two, when the console versions offer up to five different planet sides to wreak havoc upon. Secondly, franchise levels such as the Death Star are nowhere to be found in the game.

Assuming that you can get past the fact that some of your favorite levels are missing from the game, don’t worry because Hoth is still there, the design of the levels is identical to the console versions, which is incredible. Every nook and cranny that you can run over, fly into, hide in, or jump on has been recreated with a flawless excellence that really brings the console experience of BFII to the handheld.

Expect to take some time from actually enjoying the game so that you can get a good grasp on the controls. Moving your character in the PSP BFII is nowhere near identical to the console versions. Since the PSP features only one analog stick, the button layout for key movement and attacks has changed drastically. For instance, while the analog stick moves your character forward and back and allows you to strafe, the X, Square, Triangle and Circle keys control your view. Triangle and X allow you to look up and down, while Square and Circle allow you to look left and right.

This can cause some early frustration to those players who are used to the console controls. These controls make it very difficult to kill Gungans when you’re shooting at your own feet, or swinging your lightsaber up in the air for that matter.

Not every gamer appreciates a good shortcut every now and then, with shortcut meaning “the easy way”. Be prepared, as BFII has a ton of “shortcuts”.

If you choose to go into a space battle, you will quickly find that although you are dog food to opposing star fighters, the enemy’s capital ships (a Star Destroyer for example) won’t harm you. Missions that require you to destroy certain parts of an enemy capital ship (such as life support systems or the ship’s shields) can be easily won just by skimming across the ship’s surface as you go literally untouched. Your only chance of death comes in the way of enemy fighters, or you losing control and crashing into the capital ship.

The Artificial Intelligence isn’t very intelligent in Battlefront II. Friendly craft in space missions really have no qualms with flying into your line of fire, or gladly and willingly blocking your bomb runs on enemy ships. You’ll probably find yourself ending the space mission to go take your aggressions out on some Gungans on Naboo, or even some little Jawas on Tatooine. Don’t expect the ground AI to be any smarter as your buddies love to look down the barrel of your blaster as you’re attempting to pick of Luke Skywalker from a rooftop.

Moving from the console version to the handheld version is a really tough experience. You have this great game, which is so fun to play at home and online (especially over Xbox Live), and when you’re prepped to take it on the road with you all you are left with are white knuckles of frustration. It isn’t the fact that the game was made horribly, because Battlefront II is a technically sound game (with the exception of some graphics clipping). It’s the experience that kills it for Battlefront II on the PSP.

Features:

  • Revamped single-player experience includes smarter AI enemies and allies, plus a greater emphasis on story told through open-ended mission-based objectives.
  • New space battles allow you to dogfight in X-wings, TIE fighters, Jedi starfighters and several other starcraft, or fight it out on foot aboard an enemy capital ship.
  • Special opportunities throughout the game for players to wield a lightsaber and use their favorite Force powers as a Jedi.
  • More than 16 new battlefronts on land and in space, including many from Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith such as Utapau, Mustafar and the space battle above Coruscant.
  • All-new classic trilogy locations including the Death Star interior, classic space battles and the fight aboard the Tantive IV, Princess Leia’s blockade runner seen at the beginning of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.
  • Online multiplayer action for up to 24 players on PS2, up to 32 on Xbox or up to 64 on Windows (plus AI units).
  • Created by critically acclaimed developer Pandemic Studios (Star Wars Battlefront, Mercenaries).

By Devin DiNardo
CCC Staff Writer

Rating out of 5
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (PSP)
5.0
Graphics
The PSP is a beautiful machine, and being able to mimic graphics seen on both the Xbox and PS2 with a handheld is amazing.
2.0
Control
You should probably invest in an anger management book before you through your PSP out the window, controls in this game are awful.
2.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
It’s the same stock Star Wars sounds found in every Star Wars game, nothing truly original after 20 years of reoccurring sounds.
3.5
Play Value
If you’re a huge Star Wars fan and you really like Battlefront II and have the urge to take it with you on the road, then you have a reason to play this game on the PSP. If you don’t fit those two categories then move along, move along.
3.0
Overall Rating - Fair - While the game has it’s fun moments, they are just too few and far between to make PSP’s Battlefront II a recommendation when the Xbox and PlayStation 2 play this game much better.
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: PSP
Dev: Pandemic
Pub: Lucas Arts
Release: Dec 2005
Players: 1 - multi online
Review by Devin

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best