STAFF REVIEW of Star Wars: Starfighter - Special Edition (Xbox)

Monday, December 31, 2001.
by maneatingcow

Star Wars: Starfighter - Special Edition Box art For anyone who has played Star Wars Rouge Squadron, you know how killer of a Star Wars game Lucas Arts can make. But Starfighter SE falls short of a perfect game... MUCH shorter than it should have. SFSE, being a PS2 Port, could have had many more improvements. SFSE could have been more dynamic in it?s modes, and it became boring quickly into the game. The game is not much fun in single player, but multiplayer can be fun if you play it with a friend that can tolerate the controls.

The left joystick is used to turn and point the nose up/down, and the right is to roll the ship. I would have liked it better if the ship auto centered itself, but you need to press the right stick down to center the craft. The right trigger allows you to boost your ship, and the left allows you to brake. I found this odd as well, as I later changed the triggers to the primary/secondary weapons. The controls were a bid uncomfortable, and if they had not included the option to customize the controls, it would be the final nail in the coffin. SFSE allows you to play as one of three characters. This could have been an interesting feature of the game, but of course, you can be one of three no-name characters never before seen in the series. The only noticeable thing among the three characters is that the character you start as flies a Naboo fighter from Star Wars Episode One. Each ship has a different secondary weapon than the last, which is a nice touch. The levels are quite simple in design. Find target, shoot, survive. Slight variations to this theme exist, but do not add much more depth to the gameplay of SFSE.

You can tell this game was ported from the PS2. This ?Special Edition? was supposed to improve graphical elements, but if they have improved greatly, then god only knows what the PS2 version looked like. The main 3 ships are nicely rendered, but the larger ships just look plain. The textures on these ships are very bland and simplistic. The planets and stars look ok, but there are not many amazing things you can do with them. The graphics are choppy in some parts, as the games seems not to take advantage of the Xbox?s anti aliasing abilities (not that the PS2 has no built in anti aliasing abilities) Overall, the graphics could use some work.

The music in the game is very nice, and the voice acting is ok, but the story and vocals are quite lame. The music features many classic John Williams music as heard in all of the movies. The music comes through the Xbox flawlessly, offering quality similar to that you would hear in the theatres. There have been reports of problems with the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, a problem with the voices not coming through. I was not able to test this out, as I do not have a 5.1 receiver. Overall, the sound is decent, but the vocals are not up to par with the music.

Lucas Arts, we love you and all (We can move past the whole ?Jar Jar? thing?.) but we are willing to wait for a new game. We do not want Xbox to get bad ports. Lucas Arts should have worked on the story a bit more (How about NOT basing it on Episode 1?. We need some more old school ships and characters!). The graphics could have utilized more of the Xbox?s abilities, as well as updated character/ship models. One factor that would have made me enjoyed the game more and made me want to play it more is different missions that are more than just seek and destroy missions. This game has much room for improvement, and I hope Lucas Arts will use this game as an example of what NOT to do on their future game developments.

Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 4.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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