While everyone at school had an Xbox 360 or (in some cases as well as) a PS3, I made do with the trusty PlayStation 2 and a Nintendo Wii. So, as you can see, I am a real gamer (don’t worry though, I have rectified the situation by getting my hands on a second-hand ‘360). Anyway, while sitting in an airport in Madrid, an intriguing question was asked- “What is the greatest video game you have ever played?” Of course there was only one answer in my mind, Star Wars Battlefront II, and after playing it again recently, I am going to attempt to tell you why the game still holds up today.
First things first; graphically the game still holds up. This is primarily down to the clever lack of face to face interaction and, most importantly, the lack of dialogue between individuals. Instead, voice over actors are used to perform memorable film quotes, providing the campaign narration and letting you know what is happening around the battlefield. This means that the faces of characters didn’t have to be animated for speech, and ten-years-on the game only benefits from this, the lack of facial expression goes unnoticed. What would go noticed is crappy 10-year-old facial construction. Also, the backdrops and battlefields, while dated, are still spectacularly designed and in my opinion still look great. Yeah they aren’t as visually impressive as modern games, and I expect Battlefront (III) to dwarf its predecessors in terms of technical qualities, but the care and attention that went into II which has enabled it to hold its own 10 years after its release is something special. (That might just be the nostalgia talking though).
Secondly, the huge number of maps also gives the player variety not seen in other games- 19 conquest maps and 6 space maps (not including those used in the campaign), many of which can be played during the Civil War or the Clone Wars (although why you would want to play the latter is beyond me). As well as the Conquest mode, there are Capture the flag and Hunt missions available too. That is an incredible variety, and all of the maps are fantastically finished. The variety and options means that the game can be played for hours without doing the same thing twice.
Battlefront is still a challenge. The Primary reason for this is that, essentially, the friendly AI is utter crap, but the enemy AI has the ability to find you and kill you, while your team stands there the entire game with their fingers up their nose. This means that if you want to win you have to get stuck in. Also, in most games, after playing the maps a few times, you begin to figure out how to win. In online games such as Call of Duty you find the best spots and short-cuts to do the most damage, this isn’t the case for Battlefront. Depending on what side you choose, some battles are almost impossible to win. Fighting for the Imperials on Endor is one battle in particular that springs to mind; I have fought it every way I can think of and somehow I always lose. The challenge of this and other levels means the game is still worthwhile playing (In all seriousness, if you have won as the Imperials on Endor I congratulate you, and I would also like video evidence of you doing so). The Battlefront campaign is also very good. With a nice number of mixed easier and more difficult levels providing you with a challenge without getting frustrating. The film inserts also allow the game to feel like it’s truly a part of the larger Star Wars world.
Battlefront II battles sexism… yeah, it does. The Heroes vs Villains fight in Tatooine is arguably one of the most fun modes in the game (not really a fan of it to be honest- Lewis). And while the Heroes almost always win, who is the most kickass Jedi in the game? No, not Yoda or Mace Windu… no, Obi Wan is a close second, but the most badass Jedi is…. Aayla Secura. She is able to kill everything that stands in her way without even breaking a sweat.
Admittedly, nostalgia is a major player in this game. You get to fight for freedom as the Rebellion or fight for the evil Empire, reliving the planets and stories that captured our imagination as kids (that sounds corny but it is true). And if the nostalgia doesn’t get you, the joy of killing countless Gungans on the Naboo hunt level is one of the most satisfying things I have ever done… watching as Gungan after Gungan falls to my Super Battle droid.
Finally, the game is fun, and when it comes down to it I am not playing a game that isn’t fun. Even now you get the jump scares when Gamorrean Guards start running at you, the terror that fills you when Darth Vader strides towards you, the sense of achievement when you are able to shoot down an enemy fighter, without using the tracking rockets. The bemusement as, despite fighting the hardest you can, somehow your side still loses. This game is second to none.
So yeah that’s is from me, I am off to go and play Battlefront II.