DUUHH DUUHHH DUHDUHDUH DUUUUUUHHHH DUUUUUHHHH… Yeah I’m sure you get the idea by now. That’s was the theme tune to one of the best known trilogies out there, the Star Wars franchise, and what a better way to expand than to release a hit game for the original Xbox in 2004 to coincide with the release of the DVD set. This was up there with Halo and Midtown Madness in terms of the best games from my childhood, and even now me and my friends will still get the game out and love every second of it. Another reason to do this article, despite my nerdy love for the whole franchise, is the upcoming release of DICE’s next Battlefront in 2015. SO, without further scrolling yellow story-placements, let’s get into it.
The basic idea of the game is pretty simple, but at the same time it very entertaining. Those of you who have played LOTR: Conquest will be familiar with the ‘capture the checkpoint’ style play or complete the objectives, and for you CoD peeps it’s a lot like Domination but with Jedi. There are the four main factions that you can play as which include the two prequel teams: The Republic and the CIS, and then there are the two from the original trilogy: The Rebels and The Empire. Already it becomes a relatable game as you recognise the clothing, the weapons and most of all the voice over shouting to you “FOR THE REPUBLIC!”. As you are about to enter the battlefield you will go into a sort of ‘character selection’ scene where you have the option to choose from the various classes of character. You have the typical grunt of the battlefield equipped with a blaster rifle, the heavy who can either scatter bodies or destroy tanks with his rocket launcher, the pilot who, although has the ability to heal vehicles and droids, comes with a mean shotgun for those close combat situations and then you have a sniper for those who feel like not really fighting today and would prefer to set up tent on a balcony for the battle. As well as this, there is a fifth slot for unique playable characters sometimes and, as much as it pained us, each faction has a non-playable OP-as-hell Jedi to help them out mid battle. The conquest based style means each faction starts off with a finite amount of resources and command posts, to which the enemy will try and deplete and control, and it is your team’s job to make sure this happens only to the enemy, allowing you to win the game.
But amongst this capture the point’s style gameplay, there is so much more. As much as people didn’t expect it, there were vehicles to drive around some of the larger maps, like the Tatooine map where you could race around on speeder bikes and spear those pesky rebels on the end of your bike. Or, if you were trained enough, you could hop into an AT-ST in the Hoth map or even an AT-AT if you really wanted to deal some damage. And if you were feeling brave you could work with the Rebels in trying to rappel-shot those four-legged war machines and bring them to their knees. Special maps also contain extra factions or tribes that will either help you out or try and attack you, for example the Ewoks will gladly fix up some of your vehicles if you’re the Rebel Alliance, whereas the pesky Tusken raiders won’t hesitate to attack anyone who crosses their border in the sandy desert.
The game comes with a lot of game modes as well, if you weren’t already having enough fun. These include the Campaign, Galactic Conquest and Instant Action. The campaign takes you through the whole Star Wars story as one of the many grunts that are sent out to their deaths, but you are the one that could make the difference in these battles as you take down the shields of the Gungan tribe, or eliminate the Empire’s forces from Endor. AS fun as the story plot is though, you are most likely going to get bored of this after the first play through, as it doesn’t change apart from how you play it, which is why, in my opinion, the Galactic Conquest mode brings a whole lot more to the game. It puts a more strategic view on the game as you control your fleet to try and dominate the galaxy through the control of planets. This really brings in the effectiveness of the four factions, as some will start with a bias whereas others may find quite a few extra factions ganging up on them, and there are even some planetary bonuses that can be used if you own a planet with one, so you may find yourself face to face with a Sith, in which case it’s pretty much game over. The game ends when one faction has gained control over all the planets, so this may take a while to happen. Instant Action is for just quick game modes where you can select the faction you want to be, the settings you like and the map you love. Along with this you can make a list of the battles you want to play so you don’t have to keep finishing a game and choosing another one, a feature I think most games have either forgotten or missed out on.
Multiplayer is a massive part of this game, and I thought it was best enjoyed with friends, although I still loved it when I played single-player. Of course the online won’t be working anymore as the original Xbox Live was taken down in 2010, but you can always shove the disk into your old Xbox or Xbox 360 and add 4 extra controllers and you have yourself a multiplayer game. The fact that you get the same enjoyment out of this as you would doing an online multiplayer game is just amazing, you can choose different sides to your friends or team up, take them down with vehicles or laugh in their face when you snipe them randomly. If you’re feeling like you want to put some competitiveness into the game then play a game of multiplayer Galactic Conquest, and see you is the real strategic mastermind, if not then just set up a couple of quick Instant Action games to just sit back and enjoy a laugh with your mates.
Overall, this is one of the best games on the Original Xbox I have ever played, and the fact that I still play it now just goes to show how much this game is still playable. If you find out you love this game just as much as I do, then go ahead and get the second one which I can guarantee will give you twice the pleasure than from the original.