Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron
Enjoy epic battles in this fun but flawed Star Wars sequel.
Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron follows the same formula as last year's Renegade Squadron, with you controlling a number of soldiers on your chosen side as you destroy enemies and take charge of control points.
In the game, you'll spend most of your time as X2, a Jedi Warrior clone who took part in training a clone army alongside your brother, X1. However, when Emperor Palpatine puts a bounty on Jedi, sides are divided. X2 stays loyal to the Rebellion and the Jedi, while X1, angry at his brother's betrayal, vows to destroy them all. Over the course of the game, you'll clash several times with his army before confronting him once and for all.
This time around, you can either fight with ground forces, taking over control points and shooting Droids and clones, or you can take to the skies in an X-Wing or other space vehicle, blasting enemies large and small. It's good to have variety, although the action doesn't change over time. You shoot enemies, take points, shoot more enemies, take more points and so on. The only time the monotony breaks up is when you gain temporary control of a Hero character, such as Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. Things pick up a bit from there, only to fall back into the same repetitive pattern. It's fun, but more variety would've been appreciated.
Aside from quick battles, you can also enjoy Galactic Conquest, where you take over parts of the universe one star system at a time. You conquer abandoned planets, overtake occupied ones or experience quick space battles against a renegade army. This mode is a little more in-depth than the firefights, even though you mostly end up doing the same thing over and over.
If you prefer competition, Elite Squadron does have multiplayer support. Six players can take part in a local AdHoc session, and up to 16 are able to jump into a battle through Infrastructure. For the most part, it's good, but there are times that the action becomes laggy and slow. Do yourself a favor and find a strong connection before logging in.
The presentation is pure Star Wars, through and through. Fans of both film trilogies will recognize many locales throughout the game, including Tattooine. The maps look great, with lots of room to fight and plan your strategies, and the battles move swiftly. Some of the character models, however, look horrendous. (Why does Mace Windu resemble Gary Coleman?)
The music is excellent, with most of it taken straight from John Williams' cinematic scores. The sound effects are great as well, with lots of player chatter (is it wrong to enjoy droids crying out in pain?) and laser blasts.
Unfortunately, you don't have direct control over the camera, meaning there are times that you'll miss an enemy coming at you from around the corner (even if they're highlighted on your heads-up display). You can also get lost in a level pretty easily. There is an auto lock-on button, but it's finicky. You'll lock onto an enemy one minute, then run across an obstacle of some sort and lose your aim.
Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron may not be as good as the previous console releases that came before it, but for fans of the series, there's still some fun to be had. The multiplayer battles, while a little slow, are enjoyable, and the choice to fight on the ground and in the air is nice to have. Still, for 2010, we hope that LucasArts makes the huge leap forward with the franchise.
What's Hot: Excellent Star Wars music, Galactic Conquest is still terrific, up to 16 players can take part in Infrastructure battles, land and space battles take place in epic fashion.
What's Not: Action becomes repetitive over time, no major differences between classes, laggy multiplayer, you don't have direct control over the camera, poorly designed auto lock-on.