Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron is an impressive technical accomplishment for the PSP. It's certainly has its flaws, but bringing massive online battles such as these exclusively to the handheld certainly deserves some applause. Without a doubt, Renegade Squadron is the Warhawk or Halo of the PSP: the definitive online game for our system.
The included single player mode is brief, easy, but nonetheless well executed. When viewed as a primer for the game's primary mode, the online multiplayer, the single player campaign more than delivers. Instead of being destroyed by the competitive online field, this gives a chance for players to learn the nuances of the control, giving each player a fair chance of mastering the game before heading online. The Conquest Mode was a stand-up hit for many on the PSP Fanboy team -- and for good reason. The addition of "Instant Action" against bots is also a huge plus -- something that's missing in many modern console shooters.
The removal of character classes from the Battlefront series was a fantastic decision and makes Renegade Squadron the most accessible of the games so far. Without character classes, players are free to adapt their character at whim: you can be a heavy gunner at one moment, then become a regenerating base capturer. With the allocated character points at your disposal, you have access to quite a number of abilities. However, thanks to some excellent point distribution, no character you create will ever feel truly overpowering. Instead, it's up to careful strategy to make sure your character is appropriately equipped for each battle.
Many of the gameplay modes are quite entertaining. You'll have the staples of the genre: deathmatch and capture the flag. However, there are some unique twists. Capture the Flag has each side controlling one famous "star" from the franchise, such as Darth Vader. This "star" has a radically different move set, extended health, and will defend the flag. Playing as these heroes is a refreshing change, but even more enjoyable is taking down a hero and taking their flag. Sorry Chewbacca, but I needed your flag.
Although there are tons of vehicles and space battles, it's clear that the game's strengths come from its ground combat. Vehicles feel sluggish and don't control intuitively. Aiming within vehicles is difficult, giving players a significant disadvantage for being inside a vehicle. Space battles simply don't work with the default controls, and don't offer the visceral thrill offered by other modes of the game.
Supporting 16 players via Infrastructure is impressive, but the graphics clearly suffer due to Rebellion's ambition. Modern PSP games look far better than this, usually sporting better draw distance, better textures and better character models. The framerate holds up fairly well, but in crowded areas, expect to count the number of frames rendered on your hands.
In spite of its flaws, the online battles really shine when there's a healthy amount of competition. If you're looking for the most epic online multiplayer on PSP, it's clear that Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron is a must.
PSP Fanboy Score: 7.5