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PS2 Reviews: Star Wars: Starfighter

Star Wars: Starfighter screenshots

The Final Say!

Star Wars: Starfighter - reviewed by Edwin Millheim (contributing writer)
Review Date: 01 May 2002
Review Score: 9.5/10
Distributed By:
Electronic Arts

Lucas Arts seems to have exploded into the realm of Playstation 2 with Star Wars StarFighter. The game has an original story line that gives the back-story to Star Wars: Episode I the Phantom Menace. The game story centers on three characters that all have their own reasons to go against the trade federation. Rhys is a rookie Naboo fighter-pilot recruit and is the game's main character. He does end up teaming up with two others, Vana, who spends most of her time in deep space, and Nym, a space pirate who targets Trade Federation convoys.

The game starts with Reyes, but the game and storyline shifts back and forth between characters. This serves to explain their own storylines and how they soon merge into one story. The presentation is well done and not confusing at all. If nothing else it gets players the chance to learn what's behind the characters motivations, which in turn causes you to care more about the characters.

Now of course we can't talk about this game unless we also point out the graphics. To say the graphics are impressive is of course an understatement. Star Wars Star Fighter has incredible backgrounds bar none in any game I have ever played. The games graphics run so smooth and look so good you almost think you're in a movie and not a game. Lucas Arts made a good choice to program this one for PlayStation 2. PS2 is one of the video gaming hardware platforms powerful enough to display what Lucas Arts wanted to achieve in Star Wars Star Fighter, in the end some incredible intense starship/star fighter combat that makes you feel like you are really there in the middle of a Star Wars movie.

Game play is for the most part, easy to pick up, the dualshock 2 analog controller has some good functions here. The left analog stick is used as directional controls and pitch of the craft. The right analog stick is for roll of the craft. This only gave me problems for a few minutes in canyon missions.

 Flipping the craft the wrong way in the excitement of the game was common for me. The other buttons have the basic functions you would expect in a flight combat style game weapons and target controls. The directional buttons serve as wing mate command keys. There are many missions that there are game controlled craft that fly alongside the player in missions. Players won’t be able to see this function till after the fourth mission though. They are pretty basic commands, Attack my target, Protect my target, Report in, and Cancel order and protect me.

A few special moves and flight combat can be achieved using the controls and they do come in handy. Using the boost button then brake you can get the ship into a turbo slide, this is really useful for turning around and out manoeuvring an enemy craft.

The game has 14 story based missions that span over three worlds and outer space. After the first mission, others are unlocked when you complete the previous mission. There are some bonus missions as well and these are unlocked by getting certain medals during the game. Each menu screen for bonus missions indicate what medals are needed to unlock them. You can get medals by achieving bonus goals during regular missions.

Star Wars Starfighter took two years to make and it seems the development team worked hard on it every step of the way. A very good plot/storyline, incredible visual effects and movie quality sound all of it comes together to make Star Wars Starfighter a real treat to play.

A pleasant surprise is the games port over to the PC platform and an XBox special edition.  Star Wars Starfighter special edition features a number of changes, such as dynamic lighting, lots of landscape enhancements, and if that was not enough there are five bonus missions, Five two player games, in addition there is also a two player dog fight mode with a capture the flag type game.

 For the PC even on a modest system such as a Pentium II 400 machine the graphics and game play look just as good. This game title is a real treat to play and carries the coveted Star Wars franchise banner well, Star Wars fans unite, you're going to enjoy this one.

- Edwin Millheim (contributing writer)

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