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Star Wars Battlefront week: Nick's impressions

All this week, the writers of PS Fanboy will share their impressions of Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron. Make sure you come back every day, as we'll be giving away five limited edition Darth Vader PSP-2000 systems.

I'll be quite frank: this is the first time I've played a Star Wars game on my own time since Shadows of the Empire on the Nintendo 64. It was bitchin', sure, but I only played stuff like Knights of the Old Republic on a friend's system. Before Shadows, I think the only other Star Wars game I had was on the NES -- it was hard. Very hard. So, unlike Andrew and Colin, I have no prior experience with the Battlefront franchise, so its move on PSP is less of a surprise to me, more of ... an initiation into something fantastic.

I don't know why Andrew and Colin are so dismissive of the controls -- maybe they're used to something completely different, but as a Battlefront virgin, I found my cherry popping experience delightfully intuitive. [Wow, strong imagery there! - Ed.] The basics are this: you don't move your cursor around -- you press and hold the R trigger to lock onto nearby enemies. The longer you lock, the stronger your shot. When you're locked, instead of running, you strafe. I think you can cycle through enemies with the D-pad during a lock-on, but I'd just tap the R trigger and move onto the next closest target. Actually, you know what, the controls are exactly like Mega Man Legends. Maybe that's why I love them.

I wasn't fond of the vehicles. No real reason, but the larger ones got stuck a lot and controlling your aim was more cumbersome than rewarding. Leave the vehicles for your AI peons to handle as you wreck an enemy stronghold all by your lonesome. This is especially true in the Galaxy Conquest mode, which I'll be chatting about for the remainder of this impression.

Galaxy Conquest is a turn-based strategy version of Star Wars Battlefront that is like a cross between awesome and stellar. GC takes place on a map with four planetary quadrants, each quadrant with a certain "Hero" to unlock. At the beginning, you're assigned a random grouping of planets and you start off in the first phase: Treasury. You accumulate purchasing credits through the number of planets under your control and if you have any quadrants under your belt. So this phase basically entails your allocation of purchasing credits for that round.

The second phase is Purchase. In this, you can purchase troops to assign to each of your planets, or buy upgrades. Upgrades come in three flavors: the amount of troops you can assign to each planet, your ground forces' strength, and the vehicles available in space battles. When you control an entire quadrant, you can purchase the services of that quadrant's Hero and subsequent abilities (Leia cuts the cost of things in half, for example). It's simple, it's intuitive, it's strategy.

The third phase is Movement -- the attacking phase! Well, you can occupy a neutral planet, too, but the bulk of the game will be attacking the enemy planets. When attacking, you can assign a certain number of troops to assault the planet (if you have 50 stationed on one planet, you can move up to 40 to another planet ... you need to leave some behind just in case!) and either let the conflict resolve itself, or take part in the battle personally. If you want to conserve troops and cash, going in yourself is the best option. Depending on the planet you attack, either a ground battle or space battle will ensue -- I prefer the ground battles. Even now, I'm the complete suck at space battles.

The final phase is Reinforce, which is exactly what it sounds like. You get to move troops from one planet to an adjacent one; choose wisely. Then the enemy does its rounds -- rinse and repeat.

I found this mode to be extremely fun, obviously. Since Andrew and Colin have talked in excess about the ground and space battles, you know how they go. The ground battles are basic "kill everyone" or "take over all strongholds" while the space battles require you to destroy everyone or take out the enemy starship's defenses. Nothing fancy, but it doesn't need to be. There's no story, either, which is very slightly disappointing. What's your motive for taking over a galaxy, you know? It's no big deal, the micromanagement options and strategy should easily win over people not necessarily fond of the main game. An issue is the lack of randomization of the galaxy itself -- it's always the same planets in the same place with the same quadrants. You're assigned different ones, yes, but it would be nice to make the galaxy larger or smaller to increase difficulty.

The graphics are nice, the controls are fine by me, and the gameplay, specifically Galaxy Conquest, is quite entertaining. I feel like I've been missing out on the Star Wars action since the N64, so I hope enough of you find our impressions worthwhile and pick up the game to play with us. This is definitely a game to keep your eyes on, as we all seem enamored with what Rebellion has put together.

Stay tuned for impressions of the game from the other PS Fanboy writers.

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Reader Comments

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21. He makes it sound kind of like a cross between Dawn of War (probably my favorite PC game) and GTA VCS (probably my favorite PSP game; next to locoroco). Are we entered to win by commenting?

Posted at 1:05PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by raindogtoo23

22. Nice impressions, how many other games are going to get this multiple impressions treatment?

Posted at 1:12PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by Emophia

23. Well, as a battlefront virgin myself, I'm glad controls aren't as confusing as Andrew and Colin said, so that's good news.

Posted at 2:34PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by Joel.

24. Yet again, I'm definitely starting to consider purchasing this game - I also have not played a star wars game since Rogue Squadron for the N64, and even that I hardly picked up at a friend's house. But this seems like it could be good - I'll be waiting for more updates!

Posted at 2:43PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by Zach S

25. Yep, it's official--I will most definitely be ponying up for this title. The only remaining variable is the PSP-2000 hardware: Ceramic White bundle or Piano Black solo? I actually prefer the look of the PB, but if PSPFanboy would be a dear and give me that CW bundle gratis, the choice would be infinitely easier... ;)

Posted at 3:29PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by MDJ

26. can i have the white psp! pleaze can i have one!

Posted at 3:46PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by dapurplebyrd

27. Seems like another Battlefront with a new name. *sigh*

Posted at 3:56PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by NeoRaiden

28. Wait. Did you say no story? I thought it had.

Posted at 4:05PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by cafecito

29. I like the opinion of someone who has never touched BF. Makes me want this game even more.

Posted at 4:18PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by Mooks21

30. How in the world did the future winner of the white psp get all the way back at 28? Any ways i dont enjoy star wars but this game look like the stuff.

P.S Just email me for my the adress you'll be sending my white psp too.

Posted at 4:22PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by dennis

31. The Galaxy Conquest mode sounds awesome and may well be the deal-maker for me. That's more along the lines of the kind of game I've been wanting from the Star Wars franchise! Wish there were some screen shots from that mode....
Loving this series, btw. Hope to see more of this kind of thing about major PSP game releases in the future.

Posted at 4:37PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by biffpow

32. Can't wait to get it

Posted at 4:40PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by BigFonnny

33. Sounds better the way you describe the controls im still thinking about if I should get it or not. I'm going to have to read a few more reviews.

Posted at 4:41PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by LonePossum

34. Looks fun.
I am a fan of Battlefront.

Posted at 5:38PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by Tegolin

35. This sounds like a solid fun time - TOTALLY looking forward to my Vader PSP-2000 next week..!!

Posted at 5:53PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by pixelator

36. Looks great. Very action packed.

Posted at 6:27PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by Joel

37. battlefront II was awesome and this game looks to be even better!

Posted at 7:03PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by ryansurfer

38. Never underestimate the power of the dark side of the force!! A darth vader version of the PSP would rock! Please let me win!

Posted at 8:53PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by Darkhelmutis

39. The Galaxy Conquest Mode looks fun. I want this and Logan's shadow so bad. If only I had a PSP...

Posted at 9:25PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by Bryan

40. Reading these reviews make me excited for the game!

Posted at 10:41PM on Oct 3rd 2007 by Tom

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