Elite Squadron for the PlayStation Portable turns out to be a bitter disappointment on the handheld with less than stellar controls and handling problems that make the game frustrating and almost unplayable.
Graphics & Audio: 20/25,
Star Wars Battlefront has been a pretty good series overall and on the consoles or PC the games have been really good but to try and move a first person shooter to a handheld is going to take some real ingenuity and expertise. Pulling off a first person shooter on a handheld is not something that many companies can brag about accomplishing with great success and Elite Squadron has not done well.
Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron comes with a single player campaign, multi player gaming through local ad-hoc networks and the infrastructure online gaming as well as the Galactic Conquest game the series is also known for. The main emphasis of Elite Squadron is multiplayer gaming but with control issues and some online lag the game is not all it could be or should be by Star Wars standards.
The single player campaign is the first part I’ll tackle but the entire game lacks a control scheme that works well and moving your onscreen character can be challenging at times. Other issues with camera and things occurring on frame mar this game for both online and single player gaming.
The campaign takes place roughly in the Clone Wars as you play a grunt of the Republic fighting through level after level through some of the major battles from the series three movies. Being careful not to jar any major plots of the films the story is good with you working your way through the wars as a clone named X2.
The campaign tells a good story through the usual narratives and cut scenes but you may not be able to get past control problems to really enjoy yourself. Graphics and sound are well done for the PSP but not quite up to the standard the series is known for which is a surprise.
I think the whole thing here is that Star Wars has set itself up as a quality series and brand so if it falls lower than expected it is quite a long fall. The campaign is decent but seems more like a training for the multiplayer gaming just like most of the series has been.
The campaign can be repetitive but there are the usual fights with a variety of weapons but they all seem to do about the same damage. Add to this the fact that you can choose specific weapons load outs for character types but there doesn’t seem to be any bonus for choosing and using those abilities and you get an unfinished feel to the game.
You’ll get at least a few moments of gaming fun on the online multiplayer gaming but with lag and some control issues here the game is not all that fun. You also have a lack of players online as the game seems to not be much of a hit so actually getting into a game may be troublesome as well.
I found the space battles to be pretty inconsequential to the overall gaming in any of the games but the main fighting by points to win is usually on the ground capturing command posts and on the capital ships capturing those. There are several modes of play for multiplayer with capture the flag and team deathmatch but you have your mainstay of Conquest that gathers the most people online.
The play online is decent but there are problems to deal with, especially the control of your character and camera while playing. At times it feels like you’re playing with gloves on trying to maneuver your on screen persona where you want and other times it feels like your wearing oven mitts over your gloves.
Getting stuck on scenery like walls is ridiculous but several times just trying to maneuver around I found I was moved into corners and would have to take a second to get myself out because of camera and movement issues. The graphics also do not quite keep up with the standards LucasArts has become known for with some jittery looking picture at times.
The games popular mix of genres in the Galactic Conquest is also fun but feels belittled on the PSP handheld as well as other things that make the entire game a real disappointment. I was having too many problems just playing Elite Squadron to really enjoy it much so this is one title even diehard fans of the series may want to just rent instead of risking a purchase.
Graphics quality is lower than I would have expected and looks passable but nothing to brag about and for LucasArts it is something of a disappointment again. The effects were decent and audio is great with your usual Star Wars theme music playing a lot but there really was nothing in video and audio that stood out.
The Star Wars brand has some serious fans and this game just seems like it is trying to capitalize on the namesake and bring in a few quick bucks. Star Wars fans may want to skip the latest Battlefront: Elite Squadron on the handheld due to numerous issues including control and camera movement.