Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron PSP Review - 05/02/2008

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron is the second outing for the Battlefront series on the PlayStation Portable, and has some serious competition after 2005’s brilliant action-shooter.

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron is basically the game that Battlefront 2 should’ve been, with several important features missing from the first portable instalment, including an online infrastructure mode. This is a new addition for Renegade Squadron, and the game also boasts a customisation feature, and no remnants of the previous game's class system as a result. This is a good change and is widely welcomed. There are over 300,000 different combinations of clothing/skins and weapons. You choose your appearance for all 4 of the different sides and then choose a weapon set to go with them. You have 100 credits to spend on different weapons for each slot, which include a wide variety of blasters and guns, even freeze weapons! This may be a good addition, but can be extremely frustrating when you go over the 100 credits provided and have to get rid of an item or two. Having said that though it’s a good restriction for online play as it doesn’t allow you to have everything, instead, forcing you to balance out your decisions.

As for the story, the game is set between episodes 3 and 4, with the assembly of the Rebel Alliance. You play as a rebel who is mean, tough and deadly. As mentioned earlier you can customise your character to your heart's content for hours on end, creating a soldier that fits your style of play. The story takes you through all of the available modes in the game and introduces you to the various features of the title. With the default settings I found certain things to be a pain, with no camera control and harsh nub movement. After only a few minutes, I opted for the controls applied to the previous title, Battlefront 2, which I had gotten used to from playing before. These controls use the nub for movement and the face buttons for aiming, very much like a first person shooter. The only thing that is missing from this is the ability to roll. But the game doesn’t need to be played with a roll, so it’s not the end of the world if you're using this option and think that you're missing out. Another change that is implemented regards the space combat, with auto-piloting now available. This has taken the role of the lock-on system in the previous games, it allows you to automatically pilot towards an enemy aircraft and follow it as you blast at it using various weapons on your ship. This can be a pain though, for example when you target a turret on a ship inside an aircraft hangar and it sails you into the wall!

You may be the envy of all the other AI players, but playing as a lightsaber-wielding hero isn't the best way to enjoy Renegade Squadron.

Also returning to the series are the Heroes in all of their light sabre glory. But this time round they are pretty much worthless. They feel clunky and hard to move and turn around, they have little health and everybody seems to move ten times faster than you. This can be a pain at the best of times, especially in a frantic online match. So your best option would just be to say no when asked to play as Obi-Wan or Darth Maul. But that’s just for the Jedi's; I found that the heroes without the infamous retractable blade worked perfectly, almost acting just as a stronger version of your character. My personal favourite would have to be IG-88, a robot assassin with dual blasters. He can really destroy the competition.

Vehicles remain and feel a lot smoother to handle and control when compared to Battlefront 2’s efforts. The game boasts a few new vehicles, and even a choice to be a hero in a space battle and use that hero's signature vehicle. So now you can re-enact your favourite moments in the films, such as chasing Darth Vader in the Millennium Falcon as Han Solo.

The space battles are great, with intense and nostalgic set-pieces bound to bring a smile to the face of any Star Wars fan.

As for the new Wi-Fi features, they are fantastic. You simply create an account and then log in and you're ready to blast anyone from around the world (provided that you have a wireless internet connection of course). You can use all of the modes and maps from instant action and create or join a thriving game. You can also add bots, though these are extremely dumb simpletons who will occasionally stand around a command post for most of the game. Unfortunately as far as communications to other team mates and friends goes, there is none, and this is a real shame as the game heavily relies on support and team work from your buddies. So when you want somebody to man the turret on your droid tank you will have to keep nudging him, trying not to run him over – not the ideal method, but the only option available…

So all in all, this is the game that Battlefront 2 should have been, and with the additions of an infrastructure modes and customisation, it adds great variety to a great title.

- Sam Foster