When it was released for the PSP, Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron represented a significant leap forward from its predecessor. It's been two long years since that game's release, though, and the landscape of online combat has evolved a lot since then. Renegade Squadron advances the series in small ways and tells a good story as its epic battles play out, but it still feels a bit behind the times.
There's always plenty of action happening on the planet's surface.
The single-player campaign is certainly the series' best to date. It tells the story of twin brothers X1 and X2, unique members of the Clone Army who were cloned from the DNA of a Jedi. Fighting together to crush the Separatist movement during the Clone Wars, they find themselves on opposite sides during the Galactic Civil War that follows. Star Wars purists may find it hard to accept that there were Jedi clones holding prominent roles in both the Rebellion and the Empire that somehow went unmentioned during the films, but if you can get past this, you'll find that the story is easily the most engaging to yet accompany a Battlefront campaign. It's also told well and makes good use of footage from the films. The story's constantly shifting objectives and changing locations keep the gameplay interesting as it familiarizes you with all aspects of the action, preparing newcomers for their foray into the multiplayer competition.
Like earlier games in the Battlefront series, Elite Squadron is primarily a multiplayer, team-based third-person shooter. There are a few Capture-the-Flag modes, but by far, the best and most popular mode is Conquest. In Conquest, two factions--either the Separatists and the Clone Army or the Empire and the Rebellion--fight to be the first to reach a point goal. When playing online, these battles are always eight versus eight, with bots stepping in to fill any slots not occupied by players. While the bots are no substitute for human players and are generally very easy to kill, they do ensure that battles always feel like they're being fought on a decent scale. There is lots of activity on the ground with blaster shots constantly flying across the battlefield.
The action isn't limited to the ground, though. In Elite Squadron, huge capital ships belonging to each faction loom over every battle on a planet's surface, and one of the most effective ways for a team to earn points is by destroying the opposing team's capital ship. To accomplish this, you must first take control of the ion cannon on the surface and fire it at the enemy capital ship until its shields are depleted. Once this is done, you can hop in a starfighter to fly right into the enemy ship's docking bay and then make your way to the ship's reactor core on foot to destroy it. You then rush back to the docking bay or to an escape pod and rejoin the battle for control of command posts on the surface. Boarding an enemy ship and assaulting its reactor certainly feels adventurous and daring. The way that the three fronts--the surface, space, and interiors of the capital ships--are linked also gives the action a great sense of scale.
Mortal enemies take time out to reenact a favorite movie scene.