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Joseph Rositano
13 Aug, 2007

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron Preview

PSP Preview | Could the Force be moving to the PSP exclusively?
Back in May, LucasArts made the surprise announcement that Star Wars: Battlefront: Renegade Squadron was in development and that it would be released in October this year. Of course, the surprise itself wasn’t in regards to the game’s announcement but rather the fact it would be a PSP exclusive. After some thought on the matter though, it does make sense. The PSP has, unfortunately, been treated to more than its fair share of inferior ports of home console titles but by developing a title from the ground up for the system, all the development team’s resources are spent on the one version which means the game can make better use of the PSP’s capabilities.

Much like how Battlefront II’s single-player campaign focused on the 501st legion of clone troopers, Renegade Squadron follows the story of the Renegade Squadron – a team of the galaxy’s toughest Rebel forces who have been brought together by Col Serra under request of his old friend Han Solo shortly after the events of A New Hope. The squad’s main objective is to provide support for the Rebel Alliance and take the fight straight to the Empire by conducting various retrieval, sabotage and rescue missions. To clarify things, although the story does centre around the original trilogy, players will still be able to take part in Clone War-themed battles in Battlefront’s staple Instant Action, Galactic Conquest and multiplayer modes.

A lot of the criticism the PSP version of Battlefront II received appears to have been taken aboard with Renegade Squadron. First of all, the control scheme has now been tightened to allow enemies to be locked onto by simply holding down the right shoulder button and similarly, when you’re in space, you can now activate an autopilot mechanism to hone in on unsuspecting targets. On the topic of space battles, PSP owners will be able to choose whether they land automatically or manually in a hanger bay as well as finally being able to explore the interior of capital ships which was left out of the previous PSP title. More importantly, space levels have been promised to include more objects such as space junk and asteroids to make them seem less empty and more action intense.

He currently seeks revenge on Obi-Wan for slicing off his lower half.

He currently seeks revenge on Obi-Wan for slicing off his lower half.
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One of Renegade Squadron’s biggest features is that the unit class system from previous titles has been completely removed and replaced with a new customisation system. Here players are given 100 credits (the Star Wars equivalent to money) in order to hand-pick their unit’s abilities which includes speed, health, special ability (eg. jet pack), 3 types of weaponry and even the rate that they catch command posts. In turn, this allocates tactics on the battlefield based on your preferred style of play. For example, if you’re the sort of person who likes to go out in the open with guns blazing then you would have a bigger emphasis on offensive capabilities and health in order to take fire from multiple targets but also be able to deal with them quickly and effectively. Additionally, players will also be able to choose from four different head and body types for each character in the game and choose the colour of the uniform to add a bit more personality on the battlefield. In the case that you decide your unit doesn’t quite suit the terrain or opponent, you’ll be able to freely change any of their attributes at a resupply station mid-way through battle. Arguably one of the best functions of the customisation system is that each ability, weapon and body has an alternative for each affiliation and the game will automatically adjust your setup to correspond with this when you “change sides.”

Once again, hero characters are set to return in Renegade Squadron with the likes of newcomers Episode IV Ben Kenobi, Admiral Ackbar, IG-88, Kit Fisto and Asaji Ventress joining the entire cast from Battlefront II. Accompanying them, however, are new hero vehicles including the likes of the Slave 1 and Millennium Falcon as well as a new Hero Capture the Flag mode which turns the flag holder into the hero of the respected affiliation and level. Also new to game are a few selected weapons which offer some fairly unique uses to players such as the Carbonite Freeze Gun which can freeze targets and leave them exposed for an onslaught. Another new weapon is the Orbital Strike which apparently attaches a beacon to a target and has an after effect that causes an energy strike to build up and lay absolute wastage onto its victims.

Much like its predecessors, Renegade Squadron will not disappoint multiplayer fans and manages to have support for the surprising numbers of up to 8 players via Ad Hoc and up to 16 players in an online infrastructure match complete with leaderboards. In terms of the maps you’ll be playing on, it’s been confirmed that there will be a total of 20 new and redesigned maps ranging from the likes of Korriban and Alderaan to tweaked versions of the Hoth and Geonosis battlefields.

Renegade Squadron clearly puts Battlefront II to shame. Just look at the detail alone.

Renegade Squadron clearly puts Battlefront II to shame. Just look at the detail alone.
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On the visual front (talk about bad puns), Renegade Squadron will be one of the first PSP titles take advantage of the full 333MHZ speed of the PSP's CPU with the unfortunate exception of multiplayer/online sessions due to the power consumption of Wi-Fi technology. The game will also boast a much higher texture resolution and drawing distance than that of Battlefront II – in fact you’ve probably already marvelled at a comparison shot we’ve included in this preview. We won’t comment too much more on the visuals until the game’s release but at this stage many of the first impressions that were based from first screenshots can safely be put to rest as Renegade Squadron is looking quite brilliant.

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron is slowly looking like it will be another million-seller for the Battlefront franchise. Given the fact it will be exclusive to the PSP as well, we wouldn’t be all too surprised if the system sells quite well over the upcoming holiday season as eager Star Wars fans prepare to tear off the wrapping paper and once again, enter that galaxy far, far away.
Overall:
With new gameplay modes, customisation options and tweaked controls being a major focus, Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron is looking like another million-seller for the Battlefront series. The game is also showing a lot of promise in the multiplayer department by including support for up to 8 players via Ad Hoc and 16 players via online infrastructure.

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7 Comments
6 years ago
Well if there's one plus out of this, it's the fact that Rebellion are developing this title. Im still a fan of that studio due to the amazing Aliens versus Predator on PC and later on, Rogue Trooper.

Lets hope they scrap the ridiculously over paced crapfest of Battlefront II to something a little along the lines of the original Battlefront which actually included proning. It was near impossible / pointless to snipe in Battlefront II because the gameplay was just on crack which forced a single play method onto you, making it completely unenjoyable. The various classes were useless because it was just a matter of spray something with a thousand laser rounds while they're spraying you and hope more of yours hit them in the blinding fraccas.

Im crossing my fingers but not holding my breath.
6 years ago
Joseph, any mention of the Star Wars PSP bundle coming to Australia?

Great article by the way. Looking foeard to this immensely.
6 years ago
I haven't seen any official word that the bundle was definetly coming to Australia, otherwise I would've included it in the preview. icon_wink.gif

I am hopeful however that the bundle will make it here as SWBRS is looking really good and I would probably pick up the bundle myself seeing as how PSP is getting quite a few great releases over the next few months.
6 years ago
Looks like we might have to import, eh? I'm happy to if it comes to that, as long as Renegade Squadron doesn't get delayed or anything.

I want my PSP Slim now!
6 years ago
Does anyone beside me think that its looks better than its predecessor but still not that great icon_confused.gif
6 years ago
It looks like excretory matter, and we all know it'll just be a slightly re-worked port....
6 years ago
No "Han shot first" jokes about screenshot 2?
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  LucasArts
Developer:
  Rebellion Studios
Players:
  1-16

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