Who knew a 900-year-old little green man could wreak such destruction on a battlefield? And yet, in Star Wars: Battlefront II, you have the opportunity to take Yoda, Darth Vader, and other characters for a test drive, as it were, across some of the most famous battles of Star Wars lore. Battlefront II builds on the massive, first-person shooter experience laid down by its predecessor, improving and extending the franchise in almost every way, and resulting in a much improved experience over the first version.
As mentioned, one of the best additions to the sequel is the opportunity to play as famous heroes and villains from the Star Wars canon. To play as these super-characters, you must first earn the privilege on the battlefield. What's more, they can only be played for a limited time, and can be defeated, which helps maintain the game's balance. Still, it is definitely fun to wipe out massive groups of "Rebel scum" as Emperor Palpatine, or carve through Imperial Stormtroopers as Luke Skywalker.
While the addition of hero characters is the flashiest new feature of BF II, serious players will appreciate other new features more. BF II allows several different types of gameplay, including single and double capture the flag, which injects some much needed variety into the maps. Speaking of maps, new ones are available to go with new units for all factions, opening up even more strategic options for dedicated players. To top it all off, you can even partake in space battles, piloting a fighter or bomber as you attempt to destroy your enemy's capital ship. One drawback: ship controls do take a while to master, and seem slightly mushy.
These new features address the chief flaws from the original Battlefront, namely a lack of variety in missions that led to monotony. What's more, BF 2 even has a decent single-player campaign, chronicling the adventures of the 501st Legion, one of the elite clone units of the Old Republic that eventually becomes known as "Vader's Fist." The campaign adds to the lore of the Star Wars universe and tells a halfway compelling story, a feature missing from the first game. Best of all in regards to the campaign, missions actually feel like, well, missions, with set objectives beyond simply wiping out the other team on a particular map.
Battlefront II is a superior game to its predecessor in almost every respect. It's almost as if the designers at LucasArts took every fan and reviewer complaint and addressed them, in the process creating an enjoyable game not to be missed by fans of either first-person shooters or Star Wars.
Graphics: Much improved graphics over the first game. Character models look clearer and sharper, and some of the new maps add some truly breathtaking scenery.
Sound: Still can't beat a John Williams soundtrack. The authentic blaster and lightsaber effects are nice too.
Enjoyment: There is a lot more to see and do in this game, from the single-player campaign to the different varieties of games to the addition of space combat. And multiplayer remains a blast.
Replay Value: Although there's no real value in replaying the campaign, it's certainly a much more fun ride than the one in Battlefront. Playing new types of games on maps, such as capture the flag, helps improve replayability.
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Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D, Star Wars: Dark Forces, Star Wars: Starfighter, Star Wars: Rebel Assault, Star Wars: Empire at War, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2
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