Stay on target.
Welcome back, young padawan, to the world of Star Wars: Battlefront, a game of intergalactic combat that finally lets you play as the little guys in the trenches who fight over political ideals they can’t even fathom, on planets far from their homeworlds, and die in horrible and disfiguring ways. So much more fun than being a Jedi, right? Well, at least it used to be fun back when it was on the PS2 and Xbox. But it never seemed to make the jump to the PSP very well, and Elite Squadron only continues the downward tailspin that the series’ portable incarnations have been facing since its first outing.
[image1]Not everything about it completely fails, though. At least it looks good. Graphically, it’s on par with other portable titles like God of War, Final Fantasy Crisis Core and the most recent Battlefront on the PSP. But they’re still far from perfect, as some of the in-game cut-scenes can get a bit glitchy.
Gameplay, however, falls short of almost any expectation one could have for the series. There are definitely places where you can tell they tried to improve upon and innovate. Being able to go from the icy tundra of the planet Hoth and then blast directly into outer space to take on an Imperial Star Destroyer in an X-Wing sounds great in concept, but it needed decent core controls to be actually fun to play. Not to mention how often there’s a game-stopping glitch. I almost went into a gangland style rage a few times after my next objective wouldn’t show up after completing the previous one. And more than a few times, my bullets seemed to have no effect on an enemy in close range. And the time I got shot through a wall… need I go on?
Really, the major issue is this is not the kind of game that should have only one analog control nub. It takes forever to auto-lock onto an enemy and half the time you don’t even end up aiming at the right target. Plus, you lose the lock fairly easy; once enemy planes turn a corner or you turn around, they are gone and you have to re-aim. I cannot believe that this game made it through QA and test marketing with this targeting system.
[image2]Close combat is a joke and feels completely broken. I got a chance to bitchslap some sense into Luke as Vader, and I had no idea what the hell was going on when they locked sabers. The game seems much less broken if you avoid melee weapons altogether.
The A.I. isn’t going to be winning too many awards, either. Most space battles feel like filler and involve little more than locking onto a target until you blow it into tiny little pieces, and then repeating the process. Not that it’s any different from previous games; I just would’ve expect it to be a bit more tweaked by this point.
But the spiral of shame does not stop there. Oh no, not by a long shot. I can’t explain why they’ve decided that these games need a story to flesh them out, because this really isn’t the kind of title you play for plot and they’re never any good anyway. Forget about the story mode. It’s only worth playing to unlock a few extras for the more skirmish-based battle mode and Galactic Conquest, both of which are about as decent as they were in the last version.
For a series that started off as great as Battlefront did, it’s a shame to see Elite Squadron squander and besmirch it’s own good name. They really need to come out with a version for a next-gen console instead of slowly torturing it to death with paltry PSP titles. Much like with Republic Heroes, it seems like that all it would’ve taken was some more polish and time to make sure this was actually something fun to play. As it stands, you’re left instead with something that is more difficult to control than an angry rancor.