Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron PSP Review

(I was going to preface this review with a few sober, state-of-the-nation paragraphs on the PSP and its relationship with other consoles. Phrases like ‘competitive, high-end alternative’, ‘marketing formula/development strategy’ and ‘chocolate teapot’ were due to make an appearance. Then I remembered I was reviewing a Star Wars game.)

A short while ago in a galaxy not very far away…

“Hm-hm-hm-hm. What is it, young padawan? Troubled are your thoughts. Strong the Force is as a raging vindaloo with the PSP’s winter release schedule, but weak as a drunken Ewok with your wallet. Choose, you must, but which? Ahhh, on Renegade Squadron, do you look? Be seated, and let an old Jedi Master give his counsel. Who am I, you ask? Who are you, the question is. If nine hundred PC fragfests you have endured, rate this game you will not- but if blast imperials on the train you must, or under a rock you have lived while Halo 3 your friends have played, then buy this game, you well might. Now, Master Solo. From here, you will take it.”

“Okay kid, I’ll get right to the point- this baby’s got class. They don’t make many like her any more, and I’m not sayin’ that just because of those lousy graphics. This ain’t one of your second-rate console ports. She’s a true blue exclusive, built from the ground up to fit the PSP as snugly as that gold bikini Leia used to wear. Y’know, before she became a suffragette.”

“Indeed. The circle is now complete. When Battlefront first came to PSP, it was but the learner. Now it is the master.”

“Thanks, Darth. Like I say, kid, she may not look much but she’s got it where it counts. What, you want to talk figures? How about sixteen player infrastructure? Eight player ad hoc? Three single player modes, and a few dozen different weapons and power-ups?”

“Don’t be too proud of this numerical terror you’ve constructed. The ability to customise your character’s equipment and abilities from a hundred point budget is insignificant next to the power of the Force.”

“Lord Vader’s insight serves him well. Confuse us with numbers you do, Master Solo. Padawan take heed! Rule the numbers you must, or ruled by them you will be. All, gameplay is. And age gracefully I fear this gameplay has not.”

“What? So she’s a little rusty. Some things are built to last, and third-person runnin’ and gunnin’ is one of those things. Look, she covers all the bases, don’t she? You can strafe, jump, roll, shoot, lock on, use power-ups- what’s not to like? You want variety? How about some bitchin’ rides? Everything from my trusty old Millennium Falcon to Imperial Walkers, hoverbikes and those smelly kangaroo things I kept tryin’ to barbecue on Hoth. She’s got bags of good gameplay value, and don’t let that old walnut or tin-hat here tell you otherwise.”

“I find your lack of purchasing sense… disturbing.”

“At odds we are. What say you, Master Kenobi?”

“My friend, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view. Some might argue that the Conquest mode, which has two teams vie for control of a few resource and spawning points, borrows unimaginatively from the Battlefield series. Some might suggest that the sizeable, variegated maps compensate for this derivativeness. Some will point out that the single player campaign shoehorns tedious linear objectives into an experience best enjoyed with friends (or more probably with abrasive foreigners- we are fortunate that there is no headset support or text chat option). Others would say that the Force is strong with the Galactic Conquest mode, which has you alternating between random, clumsy blasting and Risk-esque turn-based strategy- an elegant diversion for a more civilised age.”

“Yeah, well. Good against AI bots is one thing. Good against the living, that’s something else. But where are the community features? Why can’t I tell what everybody else is packin’? And why can’t I put all my smugglin’ buddies on some sort of Friends List? Hey Ben, what’s your player tag?”

“Multiplayer gives me a migraine.”

“Come on, you old hermit. Learn to live a little!”

“You don’t need to see my player tag.”

“…I don’t need to see your player tag.”

“You’re going to fetch me a herbal tea.”

“…I’m going to fetch you a herbal tea.”

“Two sugars.”

“…Two sugars.”

“And a Jaffa cake.”

“…And a Jaffa cake.”

“Thank you, Han. I must say I’m getting too old for these damn fool idealistic crusades. The only reason I came along was to see some of those delightful hand-drawn cut scenes.”

“The Force is indeed strong with the story, at least. And with the space battles. I like the space battles. Even though they get repetitive quickly. I like the noises the Tie-Fighters make. Neeee-oww.”

“Darth, I can’t help but feel you’re lapsing out of character.”

“Your ears are weak, old man. I was just telling padawan here how the ironclad fist of the Empire will crush the flimsy meringue of the Republic.”

“At odds we all remain. The final word you must give, oh eloquent Chewbacca.”

“HoooaarrRRGH, argh argh argh, wfffffffghrrhragh [wags finger] arghaaaaghaghnaaarghh. OooOOoorarrurghraghagagaghr argh [circular motions with both hands] grahgh urrrrgh ugh ugh ugh roooarrrgh. Gragh ighurgh wufffghffffghggaaargh. Ughghughahgrhgarrgh. Argghh [pelvic thrust].”