Defend the Shield Generator

So of course I bought the Star Wars DVDs on Wednesday. When I got it home, I decided to watch the special features first, so I inserted that disc into my DVD player. My DVD player is my XBox, and it was like a special Christmas when a special menu popped up, asking if I wanted to watch the special features, or play a game. I did not know this, but the kind people at LucasArts included a single map demo of Star Wars: Battlefront in the package. This is a game I have been waiting for, and I cheerfully started to play.

Battlefront is a ‘capture and hold’ FPS á la BF1942; Joint Ops etc. This is a gametype that I enjoy, feeling like I am a part of some greater purpose. In the case of this demo, it is destroying or defending the Imperial shield generator on Endor’s moon. You can play as either Rebels or Imperials, with three classes in each, which are basically: infantry; engineer; and sniper. I prefer playing as a rebel trooper, as Stormtroopers are white and therefore easier to spot in Endor’s moon’s green environment. My next favourite class is Imperial pilot (=engineer class). These guys can make emplaced weapons which basically assure the safety of the shield generator.

Technically there is one stand-out feature: the AI sucks. It is possible that the developer’s intent was to accurately simulate newbies, the blind, and AFKers in which case the AI in fact succeeded. How can a bot be afk? They are. They just stand at the spawn doing nothing. I have had an enemy, who I was shooting at, run right past me at about 2 metres without reacting.

The graphics are effective, I really felt as though I was in the Star Wars universe. I only have two problems: at the low res of the TV it is often difficult to see enemies or allies, and sometimes, when moving fast, the graphics subsystem cannot keep up and is only able to draw a third of a frame before starting the next one.

I have a problem with any FPS on a console: the controls suck. I have been playing with WASD and a mouse for 7 years, 12 if you count Wolf3D and the first two Dooms. A console controller just does not have the accuracy or response of the PC combination. This goes equally for Halo and RTCW on the XBox as well.

All up I found the game amusing, and have played it about 5 times already today, but in short 20-30 minute bursts. It gets boring at about that time. I am sure the game experience will improve dramatically in the full version with Live support. Which causes a quandary: do I get the PC version with better graphics and controls, or the XBox version with Live? I will have to rent it from the video store to find out.

[update] While catching up on Penny Arcade I found that Tycho has some of the same problems, and his description is well written, unlike mine.

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1 comment

  1. very descriptive “blog” u have there – with the dvd and all – did u say anything bout the DvD in movie wise ? i think not, xplain if the movies are n e thing spectacular compared to the legendary VHS – gtg.

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