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E3 2005: Star Wars Battlefront II
game: E3 2005: Star Wars Battlefront II
posted by: Blaine Krumpe
publisher: LucasArts
developer: Pandemic Studios
date posted: 12:00 AM Mon May 23rd, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Mon May 23rd, 2005

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Since the release of the first Star Wars: Battlefront, fans have been able to battle through missions and settings pulled straight from the movies.  As the new Battlefront 2 comes into play this Fall, LucasArts and Pandemic have taken into consideration a multitude of requests from their fan base.  Many upgrades and tweakings have been made in order to increase the game's playability and enjoyment.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is getting a first-person story that will blow the old Battlefront story away.  The storyline will follow Darth Vader's elite 501st Legion of Storm Troopers - inspired from various books, like Timothy Zahn's and other publications - from their inception up through the rest of the movie's story plot.  This will satisfy the restless hearts of many hardcore fans.
Missions and online battles will have a lot more open structure to them this time around.  Gone are the days when all you have to do is destroy a power generator and hold it to win online.  Now you will be battling in over twenty different maps, twelve of them land based and on different planets, and eight at various space-based locations.  During the space battles, you will be able to jump between piloting different types of ships, including TIE Fighters, X-Wings, and a number of other famous Star Wars vessels.  You'll also have the option to form boarding parties with your friends, used to take down an enemy's spacecraft.  Or you could simply fight dog fights to your heart's content.  Both the land and space-based vehicles will have upgraded speed and maneuverability.

Online play will support 16 players for PS2, 32 for X-box, and 64 for PC users.  Also, LucasArts is venturing into the handheld gaming world, since this will be their first title for the PSP.  The PSP's multiplayer action will allow up to four players at a time, and there will be different mini-missions that are different than the those found on the larger consoles. 

In the console and PC versions, the Jedi will finally be playable, with the ability to have one Jedi per side fighting for a certain length before they are transformed back into regular troops.  This ability will be available to anyone; you just pick up the special power that allows you to be transformed.  Or, the computer can assign it to the person based upon who has had the most kills, least kills, random assignment, and various other yet to be announced factors.  Your stats will now be tracked online too, an added bonus to the previous Battlefront system.

Battlefront 2 will pull some aspects from Episode III - like the planet of Utapau - and while the PR people were very closed lipped as to what else might be included, suffice it to say that there will be plenty of elements borrowed from the new movie.

The graphics are definitely a step up from the old version; however, there is still a fair amount of refinement left before the game goes live latter this fall.  After seeing it in action, I'm very excited to play this new game from LucasArts.  The tweaks and gameplay advancements in the single and multiplayer modes will hook many new players, and bring back the old ones that have been waiting for something new to play.

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