Get ready for a high flyin', ass-kickin', torpedo launchin', proton ignitin', space ship huntin' funfest never before experienced. Grab your joystick and slap on a seat belt because when you're playing LucasArt's newest: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, you're going for a ride. That's right. The long awaited sequel to the popular (and previously separate) X-Wing and TIE Fighter is here: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. It has got everything the game player could ask for: decent graphics, good sound, excellent music, fun game play, and most importantly of all, awesome multiplayer support.
Overall, the graphics throughout the game are commendable. The 3D models are accurate and realistic. The speed at which the game plays is good enough to get a decent frame-rate on most modern systems. Some low-end systems may have to switch to low resolution to avoid choppy game play. Cockpit views look good enough to make you believe you are actually inside an X-Wing battling it out with Imperial fighters.
Sound is also excellent. Realistic cockpit sounds as well as most of the sounds of game play are good enough to pass, but are not awesome. Some of the voices of other pilots can get annoying after a little while but nevertheless keep the game realistic. Included on the CD are many recognizable themes from Star Wars, which sound as if they were recorded by a complete symphony of professional musicians.
Playing the game itself is basically pretty simple. A joystick is definitely required, but its not all you need. When first starting, a novice player might primarily use the joystick . In order to actually get good, however, one must learn a lot of the keyboard shortcuts to control other aspects of the craftand not just movement, for example activating shields and switching weapons.
X-wing vs. TIE Fighter was specifically designed with multiplayer use in mind. Not surprisingly then, the single player game can often get boring. The game offers a number of exercises, melees, tournaments, combat engagements, and battles, each which can be played from either the Rebel or the Imperial perspective. Exercises are designed to help polish one's different fighter skills. These range from basic gunnery training to wingman and orders. Melees offer simple fighting engagements, in other words "dogfighting". Tournaments include a variety of different exercises grouped together into one large medley of fighting experiences. Also, when competing in a tournament, there are options of playing in teams or alone. Combat engagements are like melees but more organized. Each engagement has an overall goal to achieve, whether it be to save one of your crafts or to raid your enemies resources, there is a "higher purpose" rather than just killing everything in your sights. When playing battles, the main goal is to crush the other team. Here, there is an organized strike force to accompany you, rather than an all out free-for-all. Depending on how well you did during the fight (i.e. kills, deaths, and accuracy), you will be awarded a certain number of points. Gain enough points and earn promotions, with Jedi being the highest. Beware: the rank of Jedi can only be achieved by playing multiplayer...when playing only single player the highest achievable rank is ace first class.
When playing any mission there are a wide variety of craft to choose from. Each craft has different characteristics such as speed, shields and firepower. Also in many missions you have a choice of warheads, countermeasures, and beams. Overall, playing single player is fun, but it is easy to tell that the main purpose of playing single player (for most people) is to gain points (to move up in ranks) and experience.
Multiplayer in X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter is what it's all about. Supporting up to 8 players on an IPX and 4 via Internet, the ability to play against non-AI players is available to nearly anyone. Multiplayer games can be played Cooperative or Deathmatch. Missions played are mostly the same as single player with a couple of extra added in.
X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter is just a great game. Although sounds and graphics are not the best around, the combination of realistic controls and addictive game-play could keep any gamer playing for hours on end.