Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron is one of those titles that not only appeals to the die-hard fans, but also to the newer generation of gamers that consider multiplayer to be a major aspect of their virtual entertainment. And with the Battlefront series, you’ve always been able to expect a bevy of recognizable characters, a host of unique gameplay modes, new land and air vehicles, and enough depth and longevity to keep you happy for hours upon hours. This new installment will also boast a robust single-player campaign to go along with the multiplayer fun so in terms of “bang for your buck,” there will be few pieces of software for the PSP that deliver in all relevant respects. Of course, we are fully aware of the multiplayer allure so we won’t spend too much time on the single-player campaign; the tides of change have arrived this generation and gaming is no longer a solitary activity. Well, it is for some games for those, we hope nothing changes.
Anyway, you will step into the boots of X2, a clone trooper who is both capable and experienced. The storyline seems to revolve around the Clone Wars part of the Star Wars universe and yes, the clone troopers are technically the bad guys in this scenario, as it was the initial job of X2 (and his brother, X1) to hunt down and destroy the last of the remaining Jedi. This meant that X2 and X1, being the highly trained warriors that they are, were ordered to participate in many battles in the Star Wars universe, including well-known confrontations on Hoth and Dantooine. But brothers are not always the best of friends and some sort of confrontation between the two has sparked a new problem. This should be the crux of the single-player plot and one that’s well worth pursuing, so don’t just buy the game and immediately jump into the multiplayer. We always have to recommend taking part in a decent story and linear adventure, just so we’re not focusing entirely on the concept of free-for-all gameplay in multiplayer modes.
But yes, we know many of you just want to blow up some sh** with your friends, and the good news is that this game supports up to 16 players in a variety of modes and objectives. You can choose to be a CIS Robot, Imperial, Clone Trooper, or Rebel and depending on which you select, that will not only dictate your inherent skills, but also your position on the battlefield. Obviously, there’s a good deal of strategy involved and because you have to work your way across vast areas – some of which may not be suited to the personal abilities of your character – you’ll want to team up and work together with allies. The key to great online multiplayer action is diversity and the constant feeling of immersion, which are two traits this series has always embraced. You won’t be doing the same thing over and over, and just because you’re an Imperial doesn’t mean you’re limited in terms of exploration and movement. It only means you approach the situation in a different manner.
Besides, it’s how these multiplayer levels are designed that makes them the most interesting. For instance, you can engage in battle among the stars or down on a planet’s surface; in other words, if you want to get up in the atmosphere and wreak havoc, just jump into an X-Wing. If there are too many damn X-Wings in the air, you can stay on the ground and try to take ‘em out with conveniently located Ion Cannons. In this way, it reminds us very much of Warhawk with it’s combined ground and air combat scenarios. There will be a total of 12 maps in the game, but as we said before, you should definitely check out the single-player campaign. Completing that mode unlocks new character customizations, vehicle decals, and other in-game goodies. Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron is slated to release on November 3, and if you’re a Star Wars fan, you might just pump a lot of time into this one.
10/15/2009 Ben Dutka