Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron

LucasArts Needs To Check The Batteries In These Blasters
by Ben Reeves on Nov 03, 2009 at 08:20 AM
Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: LucasArts
Rating: Everyone 10+
Reviewed on: DS

I’ve never believed that portable gamers should have to settle. Just because a handheld system is less powerful and features a less favorable control scheme than a console doesn’t mean that the entertainment it provides should be watered down. If a company tailors its games for handhelds, there is no reason portable games should feel second rate.

Which brings us to Elite Squadron. The PSP can’t deliver the same Battlefront experience that you find on PC or consoles, but LucasArts tries to cram as much of that experience onto the system anyway. In the process, it sacrifices much of what makes the series fun.

The story in Battlefront has always been a joke. Elite Squadron is no different, except now the punchline is longer. Elite Squadron’s more elaborate story has you taking control of X2, a Clone Trooper spawned from the DNA of a Jedi Master. Most of the game follows his shenanigans as he follows his brother’s coattails through every major battle in the six Star Wars films.

If you’re playing this game by yourself, you’re missing the point; Battlefront is meant to be played online. From a technical standpoint, Elite Squadron gets the job done. Battles feel more expansive this time around because each level now features land and space combat. After ticking off a few frags on the ground, you can hop in an X-wing, fly into space, take down some TIE Fighters, and/or dock with a Star Destroyer and dismantle the mothership from the inside.

Elite Squadron’s big problem is its controls. The game has a couple control schemes, but I couldn’t find one that didn’t feel both clunky and inaccurate. Moving your character through battle is as trouble-free as sending the Millennium Falcon into hyperspace. Even the Jedi hero characters – which should be awesome – are frustrating to play with because melee combat is as slow and choppy as Comcast’s cable signal. I know Star Wars fans usually eat these games up, but maybe it’s time to rebel against this Empire. We deserve better than this.

Game Informer's Review System
Concept Take the Battlefront formula and shrink it down onto the PSP…again…and throw a half-cooked story on top
Graphics Those who thought Battlefront II looked good on the PSP should have nothing to complain about here, unless they also believe that graphics should improve over time
Sound From the authentic Star Wars soundtrack to the recognizable blaster fire, everything sounds familiar
Playability I hate to shaft a game for a system’s button layout, but the PSP wasn’t built for shooters and Elite Squadron doesn’t do enough to adapt itself to the PSP controls
Entertainment I might have found the offline combat more challenging if the AI didn’t walk in circles like a group of blaster-strapped Roombas
Replay Moderate