Star Wars Battlefront

The brilliant PC game Battlefield 1942 was an ambitious amalgam of the best in first-person shooters. Simplified strategy and vehicle sims, writ large on huge playing vistas for up to 64 online players. This unique setup created a new genre of online action, and just a year after its release devoted gamers created a level called Galactic Conquest, in homage to the battle on Hoth in the Star Wars universe.

Although that was fun while it lasted, this type of gameplay was screaming out for a full-on Star Wars hairdo. Well, someone, somewhere deep in the bowels of Pandemic Studios must have been taking notes, because this game pilfers shamelessly from Battlefield 1942. And who cares? It's a well-executed idea and the result is a Star Wars multiplayer action game of epic scope. While the gameplay is not as rounded as Battlefield 1942, the focus is on all-out action. In this game, the force is strong enough to pull the ears off a Gundark.

Battlefront revisits all the big fights from the Star Wars films, putting gamers in 15 environments across 10 planets, including a superbly executed Hoth. Like Battlefield 1942 you can choose to play several classes of grunt, but now you can fight for the Empire or the Rebels. You get 15 ground and air vehicles, including the monstrous AT-AT walker, X-Wing and speeder bike. Be in absolutely no doubt: this is great fun. Manoeuvring a Snowspeeder around the legs of an AT-AT, on a server that supports up to 32 players, has to be seen to be believed.

Battlefront looks very good and is surprisingly smooth given the amount going on. It also sounds superb, thanks to its license to take everything up to and including Vader's wheeze from the franchise. The downside: if your team has no communication or strategy, you will get whipped by the enemy, despite your lone heroics.

Visuals: Smooth physics and expansive outdoor environments
Audio: Great sound effects, the official Star Wars license is a bonus
Gameplay: Action packed and similar to Battlefield 1942, but with a Star Wars flavour
Score: Four out of five stars
Publisher: Lucas Arts
Developer: Pandemic
URL: www.lucasarts.com/games/swbattlefront/

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Spencer Dalziel

PC World
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