Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron – Preview
The latest edition in the Battlefront family is shaping up and starting to look pretty good. Elite Squadron is due on the PSP and the Nintendo DS sometime late this fall. 1up.com has been covering E3 2009 and has given a great preview into the latest Battlefront game. Be sure to check out our screenshots gallery for the latest screenshots!
Check out some excerpts below:
“The gameplay revolves around a massive clash between Rebel, Imperial and other forces, with victory determined by capturing control points and eliminating the other side’s army. Naturally, all of the traditional vehicles such as walkers and starfighters put in appearances, with the Jedi sneaking in as well.
Battlefront has traditionally had a heavy multiplayer focus, and that will continue to be the case for Elite Squadron. The new title will allow for up to 16 players to battle each other online, with random matchmaking being among the options that are available. And this time around, space and ground combat are not mutually exclusive — for the first time ever, ships can descend to the planets from space, and vice versa. The battleground has never been larger, especially on the handheld platforms.
What’s new for E3? This is our first look at Elite Squadron since it was confirmed last week. I ended up playing the PSP version of the game, which featured that old Star Wars gaming standby — the Battle of Hoth.
What’s our take? Elite Squadron is quite the ambitious game for tiny handhelds like the Nintendo DS and PSP. While Battlefront II and Renegade Squadron — the previous PSP title in the series — put a strict divide on space and ground missions, Elite Squadron aims to merge the two settings for the first time. And that means not only strafing the ground in an X-wing, but taking command of Hoth’s iconic ion cannon and striking the capital ships above.
I can tell that Rebellion has put a lot of thought into Elite Squadron’s design, particularly as it pertains to the interaction between the ground and space forces. A typical strategy involves ground forces storming an enemy base and capturing a checkpoint, which activates the aforementioned ion cannon. After that, one player targets an enemy capital ship and knocks out its shields, giving the players battling space a chance to storm the vessel and knock out its reactor. That finished, a successful attacker can then hop an escape pod and return to the surface. More than ever, the key to victory is teamwork, which means lone players will likely perish quickly in a hail of blaster fire — and quickly.
If Elite Squadron has a problem, it’s that it’s perhaps too ambitious for a platform like the PSP. The space combat has been refined quite a bit from its first, rather janky, appearance in Battlefront II, but the ground combat seems sluggish in comparison with the original. I’m not sure if it’s case of the engine pushing the PSP to its limit, or if the lack of a second analog stick simply makes things a bit more awkward, but the handheld’s relative lack of power really shows here. Mostly, it makes me wish bitterly for Battlefront to return to a system that can actually handle it.
As it is, Elite Squadron seems like a well-realized evolution of the Battlefront series that is being held back by its platform. I’m sure that it will be a solid title, and that the fans will enjoy it for what it is. But if Rebellion truly wants Battlefront to be a hit with the multiplayer set, they may want to set their sights a little further beyond the PSP and the Nintendo DS.”