The single-player campaign follows the exploits of Renegade Squadron from its inception by Han Solo throughout its operational history, until its dissolution after the Battle of Endor. During play the Renegades participate in several battles, including those of Yavin and Hoth. The game also features several types of multiplayer modes. In contrast with previous titles in the series that require characters to have a set class, players in Renegade Squadron are able to build their character as they see fit.
Renegade Squadron received a mixed reaction from the video gaming community. The game was considered superior to its predecessor (the PSP version of Star Wars: Battlefront II) and it was praised for its customization options and online play, but the single-player campaign was criticized for being brief and shallow. Opinions on the graphics were mixed, and the controls were generally described as inadequate.
The overall structure of Renegade Squadron is similar to other games in the Battlefront series in that it is a war game played primarily from a third-person view. Battles take place on the ground and in space and require the player to capture command posts, specific areas of territory represented by floating icons on the playing field and colored dots on the player’s heads-up display. Each map has a set number of command posts, and it is beneficial for the player to occupy as many as possible (space battles use a modified command post system). Each side has a set number of reinforcement tickets at the beginning of the battle—any time a soldier dies, that team loses one ticket when that soldier respawns. To win a match, a player must capture every command post or reduce their opponent’s ticket count to zero.
At the beginning of each mission, every time the character respawns, and when at a command post, it is possible for the player to adjust their character’s weapons, appearance, and other traits to their liking. The player gets 100 credits to purchase weapons and equipment for their character. In previous games in the series, players chose a character’s class before battle from a list of pre-made options, such as pilot or other regular infantry units. Each class had a specific combination of weapons and equipment. Before Renegade Squadron’s release, LucasArts stated that the customization engine would allow millions of different character combinations. Another new feature allows players to enter asteroid bases on some space maps. In addition, players can earn medals by achieving set objectives, such as destroying a certain number of spaceships.
There are three options for single play: the campaign, instant action, and galactic conquest. During the story campaign, the player takes control of Renegade Squadron, under the command of Col Serra and occasionally Han Solo. Serra describes the formation of the unit in the beginning cutscene of the campaign; the player then starts a series of missions with a range of different objectives, with voiced cutscenes in a static, comic book style between the missions to provide background information and move the story along. The final mission features the Battle of Endor, where the objectives are similar to the corresponding footage in Return of the Jedi.
With instant action, players are able to take part in battles against computer-controlled opponents. There are four types of missions. Conquest is the Battlefront standard and pits two opposing forces against each other on a space or ground map, with the objective of controlling all of the command posts on the map, or defeating every member of the opposing force. There are also three variants of capture the flag, including a new mode called Hero flag, whereby players are permitted to control famous Star Wars characters during standard flag battles by physically carrying their team’s flag. These heroes span the Clone Wars and Civil War periods and include Asajj Ventress, Jango Fett, and Kit Fisto.
A holdover from previous Battlefront games, galactic conquest is played as a type of turn-based board game with segmented turns, similar to Risk. The board is a simplified representation of the Star Wars galaxy, with four quadrants containing several planets each. The player and the AI opponent each start with several planets (including a headquarters planet which has more reinforcements), which generate revenue each turn in the form of galactic credits. Credits are used to purchase reinforcements and hire special commanders, who are leaders like Admiral Ackbar and Tarkin. During each turn, a player is allowed to move reinforcements around their controlled planets and attack opponent-controlled planets. Attacking a planet initiates either a ground or space battle, which can be fought manually or automatically. The player wins by conquering all of their opponent’s planets.
In addition to the single-player story missions, Renegade Squadron allows up to 16 players to compete via the PSP’s infrastructure mode, which is a wi-fi internet connection. It can also support eight-person matches with ad-hoc, which is a local connectivity option for players in close physical proximity. The multiplayer game types are limited to conquest and capture the flag. A GameSpy network account is required to play using infrastructure, and offers players a rankings system so they can track their performance.