The Magic of Star Wars EU Video Games: Battlefront II
By Tyler Campobasso
Imagine this: you just got home from school, work, wherever it may be. You switch on your PS2 and select Star Wars: Battlefront II. While entering the game you hear the epic John Williams’s score “Battle of the Heroes” play from your TV. In the menu background are scenes from the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy so you know what you’re about to play will be one of the most immersive experiences a Star Wars fan can have. Pandemic’s 2005 title Star Wars: Battlefront II delivers on almost every level one could imagine; gameplay, music, sounds, atmosphere, you name it. Battlefront II has it all.
Now this will be a shorter review, as Battlefront II does not have a massive campaign and certainly not as much story as Knights of the Old Republic. Battlefront was predominantly an online shooter that had a campaign, instead of vice versa. Developed by Pandemic Studios, Battlefront II was released in November in North America. It was a sequel to, you guessed it, Star Wars: Battlefront. Thanks to its massive success, Battlefront was given the green light for a subsequent game.
The campaign of Battlefront II begins during the Battle of Geonosis in 22 BBY. The player takes control of an unnamed clone trooper of the 501st legion, and follows the story of the group through the Clone Wars and beyond. Beginning with Geonosis, you follow through the Clone Wars into Revenge of the Sith, taking the war to Mygeeto, Coruscant, Felucia, Kashyyyk and finally Coruscant again, during Operation Knightfall. The campaign then evolves into fighting for the newly-crowned Galactic Empire, completing missions for Darth Vader. The first chapter takes you to Naboo, where a new regime change is in order. You are tasked with assassinating Queen Apailana, who first appears in Revenge of the Sith. The 501st is then sent to Mustafar to eliminate a Seperatist holdout, led by the Geonosian Gizor Dellso. Dellso is said to have evaded Lord Vader’s elimination of the Seperatist leaders in 19 BBY. After quenching the pseudo-droid rebellion, the 501st is sent to Kamino to squash another insurgency.
This time led by rogue Kaminoan scientists, a separate clone army was constructed in secret to oppose the Empire. Assigned to the mission to assist is Boba Fett, for the knowledge of the Kaminoan facilities. The kaminoan facilities are later shown in the 2011 game The Force Unleashed II, fully under the control of the Empire. After Kamino, you are dispatched to the Death Star for guard duty. As the Empire phases out clones, the 501st are recalled from the front lines. While on the Death Star, a prison riot occurs, and some very “sensitive” individuals escape. Quelling the riot, some prisoners are able to escape with the Death Star plans in tow. Now commanded to track down these rebels and retrieve the plans, the 501st are sent to Polis Massa. Another location from Revenge of the Sith, the player is able to fight in the vacuum of space (in hovertanks) and through the medical facility.
Pushing the rebels back, the story converges with A New Hope. Taking place in the attack on the Tantive IV, assist Lord Vader in capturing Princess Leia Organa. Playing through A New Hope, follow the Empire’s retaliation after the destruction of the Death Star by assaulting Yavin IV. The story culminates on Hoth, following the Empire’s invasion during The Empire Strikes Back. The campaign ends here, with an Imperial victory, instead of its defeat at Endor.
Worth noting that the entire campaign is narrated by Temeura Morrison, who is the voice dub for Boba Fett in the original trilogy special editions (sorry Jason Wingreen).
The main focus of the game at least now, however, is the multiplayer. Without getting into that too much, here is a list of available planets/locations to play. Some planets had an available space section, for dogfighting and capital ship battles. Also playable was a galactic conquest mode, where galactic domination was up to the player.
- Death Star I
- Polis Massa
- Tantive IV
- Tatooine (Mos Eisley)
- Jabba’s Palace
- Yavin IV
A DLC released in 2006 made all maps from Battlefront I available to play, which may be reviewed in a future article.
Now what are some Expanded Universe connections we can make from the story of this game and it’s content? As mentioned in the campaign portion, Queen Apailana’s death occurs during this story. Add one movie character killed off in the EU here. The Kamino Uprising in the campaign is mentioned in the Legacy of the Force series twice, in Bloodlines and Sacrifice (both by Traviss, who knew!). The TX-130 Fighter Tank is a playable vehicle, which first appears in Boba Fett: Crossfire.
I truly can not spread enough praise to this game, which I grew up with basically. I have many fond memories playing with my family and friends, just wasting hours on it. The EU connections are there, but more connections are made to the movies, as this game was released in conjunction with Revenge of the Sith. The first Battlefront title indeed has more, which may be reviewed in the future!