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LucasArts  
Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
From: LucasArts
For: PlayStation Portable
Genre: Action, Online, Sci-fi, Shooter
ESRB Rating: Teen (13+)
Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron is yet another Star Wars game in a long, long string of Star Wars games that one might be inclined to call just-another-Star-Wars-game that takes longer to say than to lose interest.
Posted October 31, 2007
By DAVID WILLSON, EVERGEEK MEDIA
 
Though there's no Roman Numeral appendage, Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron is actually the third in the Battlefront series originally designed for consoles and PC; the second to appear on PlayStation Portable (PSP) and the first to appear exclusively on PSP. Confused yet? No worries, it doesn't matter.

A third-person action game in single-player mode, Renegade Squadron has you playing as one of Han Solo's darlings in a newly minted squad of soldiers playing out a series of capture this, collect that, destroy that other thing missions, replete with trademarked characters, weapons, vehicles and locations set during the middle of the original trilogy (the good one).

Unfortunately, the main game is basically a cake walk, with the artificial intelligence (AI) of your enemies more akin to synthetic stupidity (SS?), which makes most of the action mind-numbingly easy and repetitive.

Gameplay is further simplified during space battles by the inclusion of a lock-on-and-follow, which reduces gameplay to single button kills, which is just too easy, or boring.

Renegade Squadron does do a good job of including or recreating the features that made the other Battlefront games great, namely a strong sense of the vast and a well-crafted -- albeit brief -- story campaign that requires you to play through a series of objective based battles. "instant action," meanwhile, is oddly similar, just minus the plot, but it all keeps in theme with the whole far, far away galactic lore quite nicely.

Renegade Squadron also sports an online multiplayer mode, which is where the game really shines. It's easy enough to jump into, and, once you’re lucky enough to find (or host) a game full of genuinely intelligent (GI?) players, things pick up to higher levels of enjoyment -- though again, the limitations of the PSP can drive you to distraction; the game might have been much better on a PlayStation or Xbox after all, which at least have the decency to include a second thumbstick for control. With only a single analog thumbstick (or thumb-nub) on the PSP, moving, jumping and shooting feels contrived -- and sluggish to boot. Again, the control mechanic is simplified with the right shoulder button act as a target lock, which is not particularly accurate nor is it as rewarding as full, independent control of movement and again for aim, or "free look." It makes for pray & strafe match-ups of the lowest-common denominator variety... or "most double-jointed players wins."

Still, the game does boast key improvement over the previous PSP Battlefront game (that be Battlefront II), mainly in character selection. In previous Battlefront games, you selected from pre-defined classes; assault, support and so on. This time around, you have a certain number of points to outfit your character’s armor, weapons, and abilities, balanced or specialized to match your personal play style. You can further customize your character by mixing and matching a handful of selectable body parts and heads -- including a one-eyed wookie. Awesome.

Ultimately, Renegade Squadron's online component is the reason you'd even consider picking this game up. Playable with up to seven others ad hoc (up to eight PSPs, eight copies of the game) or online (infrastructure) with up to 16 players from around the web -- filled out with computer controlled characters no enough real people up -- , you're talking serious Star Wars buff stuff.

If you're not a serious Star Wars fan, or maybe a more normal fan not into paying for an underachieving game based on Star Wars, forget it.
 
 
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Score:  2.5  (out of 5)