The Star Wars marathon continues as I play through the final PSP experience. The Battlefront series has definitely been pretty fun. While I still do miss the overall gameplay of the first title, the rest have definitely been solid. Ironically I think this one’s gameplay is definitely weaker than Renegade Squadron, but it makes up for this with a more expansive story. The Battlefront games have all been pretty close when it counts.
The game’s story covers the trilogy as well as some events after it. The main character is X2 and he is a clone bred for combat. Along with X1, he was one of the Empire’s finest soldiers. He ends up joining the rebellion though once Palpatine emerges and he finds out that he was on the wrong side. X1 remains evil though and will do everything he can to help the Empire win the war. It may not be Darth Vader and Palpatine that the rebels need to worry about after all.
It’s always fun to see how the games incorporate all of these new characters and events into the classic films. They fit them in pretty seamlessly to be honest. There are also a lot of fun nods to the last games as in 2 missions you get to support Renegade Squadron in their battles. It helps tie everything together into a larger continuity so that’s definitely pretty cool. Sadly you don’t get to fight with Vader this time, but you do take on some Jedi which is definitely a lot of fun.
It is easy to see how the Jedi ended up losing the war though. There is one cutscene where a Jedi shows up and manages to beat X1. However, he says that he won’t murder anyone. After saying this, the Jedi turns his back to X1 and is promptly stabbed. Did he really think that one line would cause X1 to turn good? Later in the story X2 is presented with a similar choice and while he also makes the hero call of not murdering X1, he at least doesn’t give the villain his back. Both X1 and X2 are definitely real fun characters though. They remind me of Starkiller to an extent. They also get hype as the villain takes down Luke Skywalker and the hero is ultimately able to trade blows with just about anyone in the game.
As for the core gameplay, it’s a classic 3D blaster style. You do get a lightsaber during the final few levels though so at that point it feels more like a beat em up. The controls are a little rougher than the last few titles mainly thanks to the camera work. It can be very hard to turn around as the camera shakes quite a bit so get ready for the villains to get a bunch of cheap shots in. Perhaps the developers realized this though as there are constant checkpoints throughout the game. Whenever you die you can find solace in the fact that you won’t have gone far. You’ll rarely have to replay more than 5 minutes of content to get back to where you are at.
You can heal your health by throwing a health packet or standing near a health point. Likewise there are various ammo points. Due to all of these methods of strengthening your character you are rarely in serious danger. So long as you play patiently you will definitely be fine. The aerial levels are back as well and these are definitely improved from the last one. You can move really quickly and the lock-on system is on point. You always feel like you are in control here and I actually looked forward to these levels. Typically they would be mixed in with the ground levels for a pretty good balance.
As for the length of the game, while it isn’t 3 hours like the last one, it is still pretty short. I don’t imagine it would take you much longer than 5 hours and honestly it would probably be more like 4. It’s definitely a short campaign, but of course there are other modes to keep you engaged like jumping into normal levels to have fun in. There’s no real post game though as the various unlockables don’t feel all that special. I got it for a cheap price and the value is pretty decent. I don’t think you’d regret the buy as even though it is short the gameplay is fun enough to keep you on board.
Going back to the length, this is also the kind of game where you can leisurely beat the level as you explore or you can blast through them. As the game uses a checkpoint system it’s very easy to cheese the game by running full speed to each objective. Even if you die after making it the checkpoint counts as a save point so each time you’ll be closer. As a result it’s not a bad idea to just run in each time. It’s not exactly how the developers probably imagined you’ll play though. Also, it’s not like you’re always saving a ton of time by doing this, but realistically there is no reason to actually fight all of the enemies unless you really want to. After all, there’s no EXP system here and I only tend to stick around and fight everyone when I can get level ups out of it.
The graphics are definitely solid and we do get more cinematics than last time. The Jedi vs X1 battle was really solid and we get other good action scenes as well. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see such cutscenes in the games and it does make the game feel a little more special. The soundtrack is about the same as always. I know the tunes are still good no matter how many times you hear them but I want to see the Star Wars games show a little more creativity with the upcoming games. There are a lot of new tunes they can come up with I’m sure.
Overall, Elite Squadron is a very fun game. It is definitely a step up over Rebel Squadron even if the gameplay is a little weaker. It’s very relative since all of the Battlefront games are very solid in that respect. The rest of the game aspects improve upon the original so you can’t count that as anything but a win. The next Star Wars game I’m playing is for the GBA so that’ll definitely be fun. It’ll be a fresh gameplay experience so it’ll be nice to see what the other companies could come up with. y Star Wars marathon is coming to a close, but it’s definitely been a fun ride. If you don’t have Elite Squadron yet then you should definitely change that.
It’s time to take a look at the next Battlefront game. I’m getting closer to the end of this Battlefront marathon as there is just one more that I have after this one. Renegade Squadron is a pretty fun game with a nice setup, but it is definitely as short as you may have heard. I was able to blast through the game in around 3 hours if not a little sooner. There are only 11 levels and they’re all pretty easy. I think I only lost a level once during the whole playthrough. The gameplay is definitely solid though and I can’t say that there are any real weak points to the game beyond the length.
The game starts with a researcher trying to make sure that the history logs about the original trilogy are accurate. As a result she calls the leader of the old Renegade Squadron since nobody’s ever heard of them but apparently they were crucial towards winning the war. The commander confirms that this is the case and starts to talk to her about how things went back in the day. It turns out that this squad was present in pretty much every big battle. They would always be behind the shadows as they helped change events, but their role was key. They even took down Darth Vader twice.
It’s a fun premise even if it does seem like every game likes to introduce new characters who were apparently the real heroes of the rebellion. The dialogue can be pretty cheesy, but it works out pretty well. It may be by the books, but the script does get the job done. You can’t help but root for this old general as he brags about the good ole days. The cutscenes are basically stills with a lot of cool energy effects in the background. I can definitely get behind that and having cutscenes always makes the game feel more majestic. The story may not be as grand as Battlefront II, but the narrator definitely does a better job of making it sound epic.
The graphics are pretty decent. You’ll recognize all of the characters pretty well. It definitely holds up and the PSP has always been pretty impressive in this area. The soundtrack is certainly less memorable and you may not even recall any of the tunes by the time it ends. They just won’t leave that kind of impact on you, but it could be worse. At least you have the classic Star Wars tunes that you see in all of the games.
There is a little replay value as you can play random levels or replay the story ones to get some medals. Admittedly it is still not all that much content though so if you had bought this day 1 then you’d probably be a little upset. As it stands though, I got the game for just a few bucks so that makes the purchase feel a lot better if you ask me. It may be a game that only lasted 3 hours, but at least it was fun. The gameplay lends itself pretty well to just jumping in and having fun. It’s certainly the easiest of the Battlefront games though. Your character is very strong and half of the time you can just skip the enemies.
The gameplay revolves around objectives like destroying objects/fighters or conquering areas. Long gone are the days of the original Battlefront where it was about territory. Since some objectives are just to destroy terminals you can ignore the enemies entirely. Also, you have 3 little objects that you can throw to recover your health entirely. You have a chaingun that has unlimited ammo which also packs a punch and can switch to any other weapon whenever you’re at a base. Your options are numerous and you can also run for prolonged periods of time so there is just no way that the enemies can hope to catch you. I’m not sure why they decided to give you so many techniques for this PSP title. If anything it’s part of why the game is so short since most of the levels can be cheesed.
One area where is did improve on compared to Battlefront II were the space levels though. In that game they weren’t all that fun since the ships were super slow and you didn’t have much of a proper lock on. This game fixes both options as the ship can fly real fast and you can boost for a while. The enemy targets go down quicker so it isn’t as long to clear the levels. They also added auto landing so you don’t have to worry about crashing on re-entry. I still think Battlefront should really stick to the ground levels as that is when the game is at its best, but if the space levels stay this solid then it is definitely less of an issue.
Overall, Renegade Squadron is a fun title. It’s the kind of game that you likely won’t go back to, but that’s fine. As mentioned, the gameplay is definitely a lot of fun. It may be easy, but it’s still satisfying to take out your chaingun and just blast everyone away. The fact that the game also had a pretty solid story certainly helps as well. It makes for a complete experience although I will certainly say that it is the weakest of the Battlefront games so far. I do expect that the next PSP title in the series will end up winning. It’s supposed to be longer and that will definitely help, but we’ll see if the gameplay can match up as well since that is just as important.
No stats for this one!
It’s time for my NCAA Football marathon to come to a close. It’s been a good run but they must all end someday. This one actually does change the gameplay up quite drastically compared to the last games which were pretty much identical. Unfortunately I don’t think it works quite as well as the last few. This one slows down the pacing so it’s more of a classic football simulator. Not a bad idea, but after playing the fast paced ones it is just hard to go back.
The array of game modes are pretty much the same as always. I’m not sure why they listed quick play as a new mode inside of the game, but I’ll assume that was a quick misdirect to try and get more sales in and trick people into thinking there is more content. It wouldn’t exactly be the most sinister thing that EA ever did after all. There’s franchise mode, practice, and a bunch of other options. I believe the servers are likely down for this one so don’t expect to be getting into some crispy online battles just yet.
Either way the majority of your time in the game will be playing full Football matches which is why the gameplay is key. You can’t just cheese the game by running in with your quarterback anymore. This game really encourages you to run the ball with your running back as you would typically do in real life. It works well enough and for the record I was still able to win against the computer on Heisman level. It just meant playing very patiently and working on getting used to how this game rolls. For the first few drives I actually wasn’t able to score so I definitely did have to take a step back and re-evaluate how I was playing. Once I got the hang of it then it was off to the races. I found that the best plays were still slants and crossing patterns. The computer always seems to have a tough time with those no matter what year it is.
Surprisingly the computer wasn’t so good on offense this time around which is the only reason I was able to stay in the game. I was able to stop them many times. It almost felt like a glitch at points as the computers would try the same screen pass over and over again. They’d either run it or screen it, but they never really went for real throws. It happened so infrequently and that worked out for me since it’s hard to protect against the longer shots. I kept holding them to field goals so that was pretty cool. I still think something didn’t seem right. When zooming out to see the play it would also flicker at times so there may be something up with my copy after all.
Regardless, the gameplay is still a lot of fun. It may not be as fast as the others, but every aspect of the gameplay is still very polished. You have a lot of control over the player and there are so many different plays you can run. Each game will never feel quite the same as the last one with so many variables intact. Part of why I love the Football games is because of how fun and peaceful they are. You can get lost in these games for a long time as you just go play by play. Before you know it you’ll have gone through the full season. This definitely reminds me that I need to go and play the next Madden soon.
As for the graphics, they’re definitely on point as you would expect. Everything looks pretty sharp and while it isn’t a big change from the other games, this series has never looked bad. EA is always proud of their graphics so that doesn’t really come as a surprise. The sound effects are on point and the game holds up as well as you would expect it to on a technical level. There’s a lot of content here as I already mentioned so you don’t need to worry about replay value. Considering that you can get this game for a dollar now, that’s more than enough content to keep you busy.
Overall, NCAA Football continues to impress. It’s certainly the best ongoing sport series aside from Madden. If the games are still coming out then I’m pretty behind at this point since this is the latest saga in the series that I own. I’ll definitely take a look and see if I notice any newer ones next time I’m at Gamestop. I definitely recommend this game if you like Football and naturally I’d skip on it if you don’t. It’s the kind of game that completely depends on whether you enjoy the sport so you’ll likely know right away whether this is the game for you or not. Now I’ve gotten my sport backlog down to 37 games which is pretty cool. You’ll be seeing it at 0 before you know it!
Player Points 2731
Kill/Death Ratio 6.70
Points Per Life 21
War Hero 12
It’s time to look at the next Star Wars title! The first Battlefront was pretty fun with its unique take on the beat em up genre. You had to rely on tactics to win and playing as an expendable agent instead of a super fighter was pretty fun. Interestingly this one actually changes the formula considerably to the point where it now lets you play as the OP Jedi/Sith for a bit and the tactics element is removed. I’d still call it an overall improvement to the first game, but I must admit that I do miss the old gameplay style.
The game follows the exploits of the 501 commander unit. These Stormtroopers are the best of the best in their craft. It turns out that they were at all the big battles in the Star Wars mythos. Each of the levels typically has a short live action clip from the movies to let you know where this takes place and then some narration from the lead as he talks about how tragic the whole thing is. These Stormtroopers weren’t just men, they were a family and all the betrayals really took their toll on these guys.
Let me explain how the gameplay is different from the first game. In this one you have an objective to objective structure. The game tells you to conquer area A, then blow up some things, then take over area B, etc. You have a certain amount of reinforcements so if you go over that then you lose the game. It’s not like the first game where you have to take over all the areas at once or take down all of the troops to win. This one is all about doing things one step at a time. It’s fun as well of course, but the first game’s design was a whole lot more unique. You actually felt like you were a Stormtrooper in that one. Here, you are a lot stronger and won’t find yourself dying instantly the way you would in the other title.
There are also points in the various levels where you get to play as one of the Jedi or a Sith. In this form you have your lightsaber and a lot of force abilities. You feel pretty OP here, but once the section is over the computer will usually find a way to take you out real quick. Once the minions start blasting you even The Force can’t save you from such an onslaught. It’s a fun way to mix up the gameplay styles. While it may take away from the point of the game, I can’t deny that it is satisfying.
A third gameplay mode was added and this one is the weakest. There are various space levels (That are actually skippable which shows that the game wasn’t too confident in them) where you have to try to take down enemy ships and continue your conquest. These levels are pretty unforgiving with the time limit and the controls also aren’t all that responsive. Case in point, you boost using the R3 button but it never worked. Maybe it’s my controller which couldn’t handle that, but it made these levels even more difficult. It’s also hard to dodge enemy fire and I think this part was slapped on without too much effort. The game did not need any kind of space levels and would have been fine just sticking to ground support.
Of course if we don’t compare this one to the first game then the gameplay certainly does hold up pretty well on its own. I’ve always been a fan of third person shooters even if they aren’t nearly as big as the first person ones. The close quarters combat with the lightsaber is also pretty fun even if it isn’t yet all that refined. I think a big reason as to why the Battlefront series is so big is because the shooting aspect is so fresh compared to the other titles. It’s a shame that the name has been associated with the more negatively received games EA pumped out recently, but it can’t stop these classics from still being really good.
The graphics have definitely improved from the first game which is certainly a good thing. They hold up quite well and you’ll be able to see the levels a lot better than you could in the first title. My favorite level is the ship from the first scene of Episode IV. It’s pretty fun to relive that moment. The character designs are all on point and the game never wavers. The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable though. We get all the classic tunes and that’s about it. I suppose when you’ve got tunes this memorable there is no reason not to use them right?
As far as replay value goes, this game does have more modes than the last one. In addition to the story mode you can just pick up and play random missions for fun. You’ve also still got multiplayer mode. It’s not the largest selection, but it’s enough to get you going. I imagine you can probably buy this game for pretty cheap right now as well so it’s not like you’ll be spending a whole lot of money here. It’s a game that is worth getting and there is definitely enough content to make the purchase worth it.
Overall, Battlefront II is a solid sequel. While some of the decisions it makes are pretty questionable, it does deliver on being a fresh experience. You certainly can’t accuse this game of just copying the first one over. There was clearly fresh development here and having an actual story was also a pretty nice improvement from the first one. On the whole I do give this game the edge over the first one even if I did prefer the gameplay style of the first. It’s not cut and dry as the pure gameplay here is better, but the actual level designs, how you win a level, and durability make the first one’s gameplay feel more genuine. It was the better package, but that alone isn’t enough to combat the fact that the sequel wins in all other categories. Next it’s time to see how the PSP spinoffs fare.
I know that was fast, but it’s time to jump right into the next NCAA Football title! As expected there really aren’t a lot of noticeable differences in this game. I do think that they nerfed the QB speed a bit which is understandable. It forced me to play the game a little more like how it was actually designed instead of just cheesing along as with last time. I still schooled the computer on the highest difficulty in the game though so no matter what they can’t take away my Football mix-ups!
The gameplay is the same as with the other Football games. Basically there are two teams on the field and the goal is to score more points than the other team. You earn points by kicking a Football through the uprights of the goal at the end of the field or physically running into the end zone with the ball in your hands. As a result you’ll be playing Offense and Defense at different times. Then there’s also Special Teams which can make the difference between a win and a loss. The game does a good job of incorporating all of the different mechanics into the game and providing you with an authentic Football experience.
The graphics seem really identical here so I really can’t say that I noticed any kind of change. I’m thinking that a year just doesn’t make a whole lot of difference even if you play them back to back. Still, they hold up just as well as 09’s did and that’s no small feat. The rest of the technical aspects are on point here as well. I even tried playing a match on super windy and snowy at the same time and you can feel the difference in the gameplay. I’d say that it was definitely executed well.
Then we’ve got the massive amount of content here that equals 09. All of the usual modes are still in place like training, quick games, and franchise mode. You can watch your team and custom player grow and get better as the years progress. There is an online mode, but the servers are long gone so you’ll be wanting to get the full experience in your local mode journeys. Fear not, that’s still plenty and since you can get the game for a few bucks it’s really a steal either way.
One slight difference I noticed in the gameplay is that the defense stays a lot closer to your receivers than last time. This is mostly noticeable when you decide to take off as the Quarterback. Even once you’re approaching the line of scrimmage they won’t leave their post so you have a much better chance at breaking off a really good gain. That’s why I went back to the Hail Mary pass and once the receivers are far enough I’d dash through. There’s a lot more nuance to this than I’m saying, but you’ll understand once you get into the actual game. The camera angle also changes a bit when you’re in running mode which may take a little getting used to, but I’d say that it worked out really well.
Once again special teams seems pretty good as I returned another kick for a touchdown. The best way to do that seems to be running straight at the other team and making one guy miss. Do that and it’s off to the races! Usually your returner is the team’s fastest player so you don’t have to worry about someone catching him from behind. That’s still the worst feeling in any game. You never want someone to actually catch you once you had already been going full steam ahead.
The NCAA games really have no negatives so you may be wondering what gives the Madden games their edge over this series. Really the only substantial difference is the amount of promotions and presentation that Madden has. They give the commentators more to do and there are always a lot of interesting stats you see before the game starts that are likely dug up from the previous year in real life. As a result the whole thing feels a lot more genuine than NCAA could hope to match. Then throw in the fact that the teams are all ones that I’ve grown up with in the NFL and the bigger stadiums and NCAA is really doomed. It just feels like a smaller version of Madden. It’s still got the same level of quality but when asked which game I prefer I would be able to very quickly tell you Madden with no hesitation.
Overall, NCAA Football is another keeper. I am continuously reminded how much I enjoy these Football games. From all of the sport titles EA cranks out these are definitely my favorites. I’m gonna be sad once these are gone and I’m back to something like NHL or another sport. All of the sports are solid in their own right of course, but they definitely don’t have the same energy and excitement that Football possesses. I think it’s because even if I’m not the biggest fan of playing defense in these games at least it feels like I’m doing something. In other sports like Baseball I feel like I’m just waiting to see how many runs the computer is going to score on me. In FIFA I’m just waiting for the game to end so we can do the overtime kickoff since nobody gets to score there. Football feels the most balanced, but I am a big Football fan so take that into account.
No stats I’m afraid!