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Old 09-27-2004, 01:37 PM   #1
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TheForce.net review

For those interested:

"Many people have been looking forward to Star Wars: Battlefront as much as KOTOR2 and even more than Republic Commando. Finally Star Wars will have a worth Battlefied game to compete with other classics. But does the game live up to the hype?

I (Jeff) am a veteran player of almost all the battlefield games. Operation Flashpoint is considered near-perfect in my world. The graphics are not as flashy as the newer games but the gameplay is awesome. Battlefield 1942 is more "arcade" but the maps have a good balance of cover, open field, and strategic points.

When I realized that Pandemic was also involved in making the great (but too short) Full Spectrum Warrior, I was really hoping for a similar game that would require squad level tactics.

Installation

Unfortunately, SWB got off to a VERY bad start with me. The installation process did not go well and in fact, had it not been for another player on the LucasArts forums, I would only be writing an article on Battlefront Installation problems.

The first time I tried to install the game, I got a Wrong Label error. I tried to put another disk in the drive and click continue but the installation just stalled the computer. I shut down the computer and restarted.

On the second attempt, I finally got to the last CD but the install hung while trying to copy yav1.lvl in data5.cab . It seems a lot of other players are having the same problem as well. I first tried to copy the contents of Cd#3 to my harddrive so I could install that way but data5.cab will not copy. The file on the disk is corrupted. This is not looking good for LucasArts. I am hoping this is not going to be another "creative decision".

A temporary fix is to close out of the installation, then open the game directory and find the Battlefront.exe file (not the BFLaunch.exe). Create a shortcut to this file on your desktop and the game will run. However, I do not know what files are missing from the rest of the data5.cab . The more permanent fix is to take the game back for another copy. Let the retailers know that some of the disks are corrupted and to expect some angry fans. I am returning my copy to Wal-Mart this afternoon and will try to reinstall using (hopefully) a non-corrupted copy of CD3.

Using the temporary fix, I was able to play the game for several hours. The game menus have a cool 3d angle to them and I jumped in Instant Action. My first mission was Hoth (as Imperial). I played as the AT-AT driver, relentlessly marching to Echo base. Speeders screamed by and stupid Rebels on Tautauns tried to attack me in vain. The main cannons are very slow but nothing survives a direct hit. The graphics in the vehicles are not very exciting but the joy of crushing friend and foe under my giant vehicle's feet made up for it.

However, the data display does have some issues. LucasArts, please allow us to read data in numbers, not health bars. The action is too fast and it is often too difficult to scan your health, the health of your vehicle, and your weapon status. Some fans may like the bars but give us a choice to use percentages or something else with numbers on them.

This is the same issue on Multiplayer. We don't like bars to determine the ping. There is no indication what 2 bars, 3 bars, 4 or 5 bars actually mean for ping numbers. If 50 or less represents 5 bars, that would be good information to know. Again, how about the ability to change all bars into raw numbers. The multiplayer menu also needs a filter. The first servers to show up are all 1 red bar. I don't want to see those servers. The lack of a filter in the game does not affect gameplay so should have been an easy task to complete. This appears that the game was very rushed and expected items with a lower priority were never finished. Also, turn up the FPS in multiplayer. The 15-20 FPS cap is irritating a lot of players. Multiplayer is going to keep your game on the market for a long time (just look at Half Life).

One of the great things from 1942 was the size of the maps. Yes, it made for long treks by grunts to hike the trail to the battle (that is why you always found a ride) but it also made the game a lot better for air units. Far too often in SWB, I was threatened for desertion for leaving the battlefield because my Tie Fighter or Droid Fighter went straight for a short 5 seconds. The maps need to be larger when air units are involved.

I have bashed the game around a bit but is it fun? You bet. But let me put a caveat on that statement (if you play the right maps). Some of the levels are great (Endor, Tattooine Desert, Naboo-Theed, Geonosis) but some are quite boring (Kamino, Naboo Plains) and others are both (Hoth, Kashykk). I played Endor this morning and enjoyed racing the speeder through the forest at top speed while dodging trees, rocks, Ewok traps, and friendly units. The Endor map works because it offers cover for troops but also open area for vehicles. The map is not large but walkers and speeders don't need the room like TIEs and XWings. The best vehicle has to be the Republic's LAAT. They are a lot of to drive but the firepower will make your droid opponents scatter. My favorite character has to be the Droideka. The shield generator allows for extra punishment and the cannons make short work of most Clonetroopers that get in the way. However, the droideka shield should be a little more powerful (one grenade should not destroy it) and the arms should be moveable up or down to fire down on units over railings.

Conclusion

The game does not have a polished feel to it. It seems rushed out the door to match the DVD release. I am going to play the game and I am very hopeful that LucasArts will:
1. not release a game again with this many problems
2. give Battlefront priority and not delay fixes because they are busy on KOTOR2, Galaxies, Republic Commando or Mercenaries
3. Quickly give the SWB fans the tools to modify and improve the game.

They will also need to tweak some of the units in the game but this is expected. Grenades do a lot of damage. The rockets launcher is too accurate for its strength. It should be affected by gravity a lot more (like the bazooka in 1942).

With all the issues with the game and the quirks of the display, I would have to give the game a C+. If LucasArts quickly gets on the ball and puts out an update for the health bars, the multiplayer menu, the Multiplayer FPS, better maps for air units and cover for ground troops and replaces those corrupted disk 3, this grade could easily be a B+ or even a A-.

UPDATE: It seems LucasArts is already starting to address some issues with installation.

I exchanged my game at Wal-Mart for a new game. The new game installed with no problems. I will pencil LucasArts a B- now but they still have a long way to go. I want to thank Ronda from LucasArts for updating me with the link about the issue."

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Old 09-27-2004, 01:45 PM   #2
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A fair, if not slightly terse, estimation of the game. Good read for any potential buyers out there.

And if you think the Review is clouded by too much mention of bugginess and not enough about gameplay, you should take that as to the nature of this game. It's hella-fun. But tough to play for more than a few rounds because the bugginess gets to you. Joining servers is a pain, vehicle and player guns sometimes hit terrain and not where you're aiming because of their stupid placement (AT-TE for one. The guns are below the cockpit so you can shoot up at ANYTHING and hit it if a cliff/hill/obstacle is in your way). I usually stop playing after about an hour because rejoining servers sucks. AI is somewhat dumb making singleplayer missions hard to complete (they die like Lemmings) and your desire to start playing again is lowered because of the trouble you know you're going to encounter. Fun game but distracting parts that need to be patched quickly.


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Old 09-27-2004, 02:09 PM   #3
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I totally agree with this review. I pretty much had the same problems installing the game too. Although I didn't take mine back. After the third try I finally got it to install right off the CD. So perhaps I didn't have a faulty CD.

C+ is the grade I would give it too. I am very optimistic that one of many patches will be released soon which will raise the grade.
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Old 09-28-2004, 06:56 AM   #4
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A fair review of a truly and unfinished rushed game. I donīt know if George Lucas has checked his game, but LucasArts should be more patient when a game release date affects the game itself.
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Old 09-28-2004, 07:27 AM   #5
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Shame you PC guys have had a raw deal with this, I hope they patch the Xbox version too.


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Old 09-28-2004, 07:32 AM   #6
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Yea Jerec, hopefully we Xbox players will get a patch or two, and some nice content... Maybe a new map?
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Old 09-28-2004, 08:46 AM   #7
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An extremely good and honest review with a few items missing. I would have added the omission of the tickets and the muddy weapon textures or the option of hi-res textures like UT200X. I also think that All maps need to be bigger since you can always hitch a ride to the battle ala BF1942. I honestly would not care if they copied Battlefield 1942 right down to the pixel. At least it would have been a much better game if not great. Galactic Battlegrounds was AWESOME and I could have cared less that is was a clone of AOE. Pandemic is in a lot of trouble here because this isn't Star Trek, it's Star Wars (I love Star Trek too, not bashing it). If this were Star Trek you would expect this since there hasn't been that many high quality games made for that license. But when you make a Star Wars game you are put in the spot light, on a pedastal and all eyes are on you. So you need to screw the lame DVD Movie release, that is the lame special-special edition and GREEDO DIDN'T SHOOT FIRST non-original classic release and release a quality game come XMas. Yes I am happy to be able to play the DEMO now but I would rather have the quality finished product come XMas knowing it's perfect! I am a DIE HARD Star Wars fan I am very hurt and disappointed by this release. Fix it and I will write something good.

Oh yeah, I love this forum!!

MD


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Old 09-28-2004, 09:00 AM   #8
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Personally i don't understand the rush to get the game out at the exact same time as the DVD release of the movies. I'm sure there were a lot of people who would have loved to purchase both but simply couldn't afford it. Releasing a finished game a little later would have probably actually secured more sales of the game!

Of course I bought both the game and the DVDs on the same day. LOL!!!
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Old 09-28-2004, 09:20 AM   #9
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Its ironic that the Force.net would give a more realistic review than Gamespot. The most accurate review I have seen has been the GameSPy Review where they give it 3.5 of 5 stars (strangely this is the only review that Battlefront.net doesnt link from its list of reviews which is odd since Gamespy is built into SWBF)

The GameSpy review unlike others took a good hard look at the MP

Quote:
from the Gamespy review:
Battlefront's multiplayer, surprisingly, has more problems than the single-player. You'd think this would be the strong point of a game like Battlefront, and to be fair, there are times when it's a lot of fun. However, some poor design decisions and technical problems keep Battlefront from the elite tier of online shooters.

First, joining a game online using the built-in server browser is an exercise in futility. Trying to highlight a server and connect is practically a mini-game in itself (in fact, there's a bit of basic mouse/keyboard functionality missing from the game's interface, which we'll assume is an artifact of simultaneous development for the PS2 and Xbox). Once you manage to connect to a game, lag has been an issue in many of our matches, even on our office T1. LucasArts is reportedly aware of several of these issues and a patch for the PC version is expected soon.

......

Unfortunately, there's a growing problem of "spawn camping" on maps with mid-size vehicles like the AT-STs and battle tanks. Instead of capturing points, players will sit safely inside their vehicles and wait for enemies to respawn, blowing you up for a cheap kill the second you pop into view. These vehicles are so well armored that you really need a flurry of missiles -- or another equally powerful vehicle -- to take them down, and it sucks the fun out of the game when you wait 10 seconds to respawn, only to be killed and again. Plenty of multiplayer games spawn players with brief invulnerability specifically to avoid this type of thing; it's hard to imagine why it wasn't implemented in Battlefront. (We're hoping it will be addressed in a patch.)

Regardless, the maps we've had the most fun with in Battlefront are the ones that put the vehicles to greatest use. This style of game may be new to console players, but for PC veterans of Team Fortress and UT 2004 and Battlefield, it's the presence of TIE fighters and AT-AT walkers that'll grab your attention. It's a shame the multiplayer suffers from the problems it does, or Battlefront would be an easy recommendation. As it stands, there's still some good fun contained within the single-player, and, if you're lucky, you'll find some good multiplayer matches as well. If you're a Star Wars fan and need to have the PC version, do yourself a favor and wait to pick this up on sale once all the patches have been released; after all, any game that lets you pick off Jawas and Ewoks can't be that bad.
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Old 09-28-2004, 09:24 AM   #10
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Of course that is a great idea if the game is finished. I can imagine getting the finished SWB and the Classic Trilogy on Widescreen DVD as the UTOPIA DAY OF MEDIA!!! LOL But that didn't happen or even come close to happening. If I were Pandemic I would put out a New Topic apologizing to all of us and state that they are scouring the forums for all the problems and promptly working on a HUGE 1.1 patch that will address all problems. I would also go as far as to say it will be available 10/15/2004 or earlier depending on quality control. At least we wouldn't feel ripped off. We would also feel this Star Wars game has a chance and it would give us something to look forward to. After the release of the huge mistake of 1.0a patch I am not optimistic about anything right now. But then again I guess the 1.0a patch helped some gamers actually play the game online. The problems I want fixed are not game stoppers, just fun stoppers.

Thanks,

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Old 09-28-2004, 09:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by THE_EXECUTOR
I donīt know if George Lucas has checked his game
George Lucas has exactly zero to do with how well Star Wars games are made.

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Old 09-28-2004, 09:27 AM   #12
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Lucas is a very busy man. Especially with trying to get Ep III out. I can asuure you that he personally hasn't played the game.
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