Reviewed by Mark Isaacson
Following in the footsteps of George Lucas himself, LucasArts has put together a "Special Edition" of Starfighter, the Playstation 2 hit from earlier this year. New multiplayer elements, improved sight and sound and a different control style are included, but does it work the second time around?
It's difficult to say. Being the first Star Wars title on a brand new system, while trying to tackle Rogue Leader (possibly the greatest Star Wars game of all time), and having so many fans from the PS2 on its back, all at the same time!! That's certianly not easy.
In the case of Starfighter SE, these factors have had a telling effect on its performance. Let's have a quick comparison over the original PS2 classic:
Starfighter PS2 (S2) had the advantage of using the Dual Shock controller, allowing the use of two sticks for complete control of the craft. And with the many buttons on offer, including the L & R buttons on top, just about everything was taken care of.
Starfighter SE (SE) meanwhile uses Microsoft's controller, very similar to that of Sega's Dreamcast system. The slightly different control layout didn't change the overall control of the craft too much, although I prefer the two stick method of the PS2.
S2's graphics, while not as stunning as Rogue Leader, used the PS2's power fairly well. And as a 1st generation title for the system, LucasArts did a very good job indeed.
Even so, jumps in the framerate and not so smooth edges appeared every so often. So it's good to see that LA improved this side of things for SE. But comparing SE to Halo and Dead or Alive 3, the overall appearance is dissapointing. So much more should have been done. Considering the power that the X-Box provides, the improvements over the S2 are a minority change.
Taking into account the fact that the control systems are different, the game still plays at the same great pace. As long as you can get used to the X-Box controls, you shouldn't have a problem. Those that are used to the PS2 will. The story and gameplay itself hasn't changed at all.
Here's where SE shines over S2 in a big way. Capture the Flag, Dogfight and Tag are your basic multiplayer options in most titles these days. Hunter/Hunted has one player as the hunter, the other the hunted. Simple, yet heaps of fun. And Steal the Bacon is similar to CTF, except there is just one flag on offer for both teams.
They all add to the factor of how long you will play SE. But whether they are enough to warrant a purchase if you have already played S2 is your choice to make. From my point of view, I would only buy SE if I were yet to play S2. I have, so I'll save my cash.
Calling Starfighter on the X-Box a "Special Edition" doesn't mean it's actually worth the money. Slight improvements to the graphics and multiplayer options are areas that could have been covered on the PS2 alone. Still, if you are yet to dive into the world of Starfighter, this is the best way to go.
Keep in mind, however, that Jedi Starfighter: Starfighter 2 is not far away, and already it's looking like a worthy sequel. When released, Starfigher SE will be a thing of the past.
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