Title: Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
Developer: Lucas Arts
Game Type: PlayStation Portable
Download: 853 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Currently Unavailable
PSTV Support: Yes
How many of you are looking forward to the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront game? If you are, then you should be preparing yourself for the game with your PS Vita and PlayStation TV. If you didn’t already know, there are three Battlefront games available on the Vita as backwards-compatible PSP titles, allowing Star Wars fans to dive into three of the previous games in the series as they wait for the new Battlefront to release.
I’ve already reviewed one of these games, which was Star Wars Battlefront II. A very flawed port of the PS2 game, but it wasn’t bad for quick-play sessions. After this, the developers tried to enhance the portable formula with two more Battlefront games, both set in different eras of the Star Wars Universe. In diving into the first of these games, here is my official review of Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron!
*Spoiler Warning: This section contains possible spoilers for Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi*
Unlike the PSP port of Battlefront II, Renegade Squadron has a story campaign of its own. Much time after the events of Return of the Jedi, the New Republic is trying to gather and create logs of all events during the Galactic Civil War. In their endeavors, they ran short on brief mentions of a team of Rebel fighters known as Renegade Squadron. To help shed light on this, they contact the disbanded group’s leader, in the hopes of completing their logs.
The plot you follow is their leader’s recollection of a handful of missions and accomplishments of Renegade Squadron, a squad of smugglers that Han Solo assembled to help fight the Empire after the events of A New Hope. The plot shows a lot of hidden events that take place during some of the major events of the movies, particularly the assault on Echo Base, and the Battle of Endor.
The story of Renegade Squadron isn’t a heart-gripping tale, nor is it as epic as the stories of the movies. However, it does show a lot of background information and will put fans of the original trilogy right at home with doing missions alongside Han Solo and Chewbacca. If you’re a fan of the original movies, it is certainly enjoyable.
Just like Battlefront II, Renegade Squadron is a mix between third-person shooting and aerial combat. In most of your mission, you will be in control of a ground unit running around the battlefield with various firearms and weapons, such as blaster rifles and rocket launchers. Since the gameplay mechanics remain mostly unchanged from Battlefront II, this is mostly a Star Wars-themed third person shooting game.
When you go into the game, there are three main game modes for Single Player. You have Campaign, Instant Action, and Galactic Conquest. Campaign is where you play the game’s story. Instant Action is where you can pick one of the couple dozen maps available and set up whatever types of stages and battles you want. Finally, Galactic Conquest is where you go onto a map and take turns against another faction to move from planet to planet to try to conquer and control the entire galaxy.
Campaign is where you’ll be spending your time with the storyline. This progresses in various types of missions, each following a scene to describe the story events behind what you’re about to do. When the stage starts, you will either be doing a space mission or ground mission. In the space missions, your goals will be to fly around and attack enemy fighters, destroy specific parts of enemy ships, or infiltrating enemy ships to rescue comrades.
Ground missions are similar with various objectives, though a bit different. When you’re on the ground, you could be tasked with taking over an area of the map, defending outposts, destroying shield generators, or just fending off enemies while repairs are done on your ally’s ships. Overall, you’ll have various objectives to perform throughout each mission. Once you finish one objective, you’ll automatically be tasked with the next.
All of these are thrown together with the basic concepts of Battlefront gameplay. You’ll have to go to Command Posts to change equipment, pilot vehicles and starships, and more. Even the Capture the Flag games are thrown into aspects of some levels that have you flying through space to collect an important object and take it back to your base.
Outside of Single Player, there are Multiplayer features as well as Customization. Customizing allows you to go into each model for the infantry of the factions and modify their colors to look however you want. Multiplayer is a neat feature as well, but an unfortunate one. Renegade Squadron had Online Multiplayer when it launched, but it can no longer be connected to. So, the only way to do multiplayer is by Ad Hoc with a Vita, PSTV, or PSP in the room.
Renegade Squadron, overall, isn’t a very long game. The Campaign has 11 missions to go through, each of which take 10 minutes or less to complete. The entire game can be cleared in about 2-3 hours, less than half the length of the campaign of Battlefront II. It’s a fun game with its mechanics, but without online multiplayer, it’s a short-lived journey.
Controlling the game isn’t all that much different from controlling Battlefront II. The first thing I suggest you do is switch to the Alternate Control Scheme, which changes the camera movement to the face buttons, which can then be redirected to the Right Analog Stick for a more comfortable experience.
You move your character with the Left Analog Stick and the camera/aim can be done with the face buttons/right analog stick. The L button can re-center the camera and the R trigger can be used to fire off your weapon. The D-Pad can be used for setting explosives, interacting with major checkpoints, and entering the zoom/scope aiming mode for certain weapons.
All in all, the control scheme isn’t too hard to get accustomed to, but the camera is a large complaint I had throughout the entire game. When you fire off shots at enemies, you have to move the aim to fire upon them. Every few seconds, the camera will then automatically reset to its original position, making you constantly move the aim again and again and again. This can get very tedious over time and is something you should be able to disable, but you can’t.
The visual presentation is a bit of a step down from Battlefront II. While Renegade Squadron is clearly based around the same gameplay engine, there is far less detail in the models and environments. It runs nicer than Battlefront II did, but it looks a lot more grainy, even without accounting for the stretching to the Vita and PSTV screens.
The rest of the presentation is much improved. The load times now never exceed 8-10 seconds, easily half of what they were in Battlefront II. I never encountered any sort of lag or slowdown, either. The game may not have looked as nice, but it played a lot smoother.