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September 11, 2004
Star Wars: Battlefront - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
22/9/2004EA GamesLucasArts /
Pandemic Studios
1-16 $89.95

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Graphics really are impressive.
Another year and another Star Wars title is about to be unleashed on PS2 owners after almost two years since the last release (that being Star Wars: The Clone Wars. While Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (which the third movie will be called) isn't due to hit cinemas until May next year LucasArts aren't just sitting around and allow one of the greatest licenses fade away.

Star Wars: Battlefront allows you to choose from four different alliances including Rebel Alliance, Separatist Battle Droids, Republic Clone Army or the Galactic Empire. Each has a variety of characters to select from and naturally each has a different set of strengths and weaknesses. But this game isn't just about action from foot soldiers. In order to re-create the vast battles see in the movies you will also be able to select from a variety of weapons - and vehicles. In fact the game will include approximately 25 land and air based vehicles such as X-wing fighters, speeder bikes, republic gunships and AT-ST's to name a few.

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Taking the high vantage point.
The game will also include ten different planets, and twelve different locations, to play on, set during different periods of the Star Wars universe, including Hoth (the frozen planet from Empire Strikes Back), Yavin IV, Naboo (from The Phantom Menace), Geonosis (Attack of the Clones), Endor (from Return of the Jedi), Kamino (the water world from Attack of the Clones), Rhen Var, Tatooine (A New Hope, The Phantom Menace), Bespin and a planet from Episode III which is to be announced. Of course the developers will recreate the battles with realism which means you won't see Ewok's on Hoth, nor Clone Armies on Endor.

Three main game modes will also be included. The first is Skirmish which is essentially a deathmatch styled option which requires little planning but plenty of blasting. The second mode, Galactic Conquest, is a little more strategy based as you can select to attack or defend planets. This selection can be critical. If, for instance, you are playing the rebels and select Endor, then the Ewoks will assist you during the battles. While playing the game it will be possible to switch between third and first person perspective to suit your tastes, or the needs of the levels. The final mode is the Historical Campaign which is a more story based mode of play.

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Inside the ice caves.
We can also expect plenty of surprises in the game. LucasArts have confirmed that while not playable Jedi will appear during some of the levels. Who's going to put some money on seeing Han Solo and Chewie in the Endor level? Let's hope. Likewise Tuscan raiders are in the game, but will pretty much attack any sides in their areas.

Star Wars: Battlefront, which is actually being developed by Pandemic Studios, is not only set to bring the franchise to a few more gamers, but is hoping to dominate the online world. Yes, online world. You see this game is focusing on the online elements and will allow console owners to battle out online with up to 16 players participating at a time. It will even be possible to set up a PS2 LAN to play with 32 players in the game - how awesome is that! But while games such as SOCOM: US Navy Seal's only allow 16 characters in a map, Star Wars: Battlefront will also include hundreds of computer controlled characters at the same time. Of course it will also be possible to use the USB headset to chat to other gamers during online gameply.

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Rumble in the Jungle - 2004 style.
Graphics in Star Wars: Battlefront are certainly impressive. While apparently not quite as sharp as the XBox or PC version at this years E3 show, the game was praised for pushing the Playstation 2 to its limits. Indeed having played the game for some time now there really no concerns with this game graphically. The frame rate is smooth, the explosions impressive but most importantly you do get a sense of scale for the battlegrounds with some massive maps to traverse. Indeed the surrounding screenshots are testament to the quality of this game.

With a release date set for September 22nd through Electronic Arts, Star Wars fans had better start saving - it's the same day that the original trilogy is finally released on DVD. Star Wars: Battlefront is shaping up as the best of the Star Wars game ever on Playstation 2 - and there have been six to date. Even if you aren't a Star Wars fan this game is shaping up as one of the most impressive online - and offline - action titles.