Retro Review Takes to Space: Star Wars Jedi Starfighter

Daniel Anderson

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A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…
Actually, about a month ago in my living room playing on my Xbox One. I have been a fan of Star Wars about as long as I’ve been a fan of Halo, and some of my favorite games from the Star Wars franchise is the original Battlefront games, the Force Unleashed, and the game I’m reviewing from the PS2 days… Star Wars Starfighter. Or it’s Jedi based sequel that’s backward compatible on both Xbox One and Xbox 360. Thanks to Xbox’s free games with Gold (and my having to spend $60 to get a year’s worth of Gold before knowing this game was coming to the program) I now own the game, so that I can review it for you guys. I did a little research and found out that this game actually came out before Attack Of The Clones in theaters. While the first game took place in The Phantom Menace back in 2001, Jedi Starfighter took place during Attack Of The Clones as you play as Jedi Master Gallia, as she tests out the new prototype starfighter for the Jedi, and investigate an illegal Trade Federation weapons operation alongside two protagonists from the first game. Those two protagonists are Reti, and Nym, two outlaws with good ships.

Story

Now I’m not going over every detail in the story I’m just going to give you the summary as well as my thoughts and opinions of it. Like I said before, you play as Jedi Master Gallia as she both tests a new starfighter prototype and investigate the new and very illegal weapons operations in carphax system, (don’t know if I spelled that right) conducted by the Trade Federation. Along the way she helps lead a campaign against the Trade Federation alongside the pirate captain Nym, and his buggy friend (pun intended) Reti, just like the last game, only this time you can use the force. Along the way, they discover that the Trade Federation is experimenting with a hex weapon called “trihexalon” and plans on mass producing it to use against the Republic. Leading the operation is a mercenary leader named Captain Toth, after finding out about these weapons as well as mercenary involvement, Master Gallia (on orders from Mace Windu) heads to Geonosis to fight in the first of many battles of the Clone Wars. While this is happening, Nym retakes his base claimed by the Trade Federation almost 10 years before the events in this game. Eventually, Gallia and Nym regroup with each other outside of Geonosis’ orbit for the final showdown against Captain Toth and his mercenaries. I thought the story was done well but there are only two gripes I have with it, halfway through the story, Jango Fett appears with a bounty on Reti… why would anyone have a bounty on a gas gut like Reti, and correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Jango on Geonosis for the last few moments of his life in Attack Of The Clones? Also, when Jango cripples Reti’s ship and is forced to retreat why didn’t anyone break away from the fight and help him? You’d think that Nym would at least order one of his men to help him, I mean after the first game, Reti was by Nym’s side for 10 years, and not many people in the fight sounded very concerned for him aside from Nym’s chief engineer, Jinkins. Like I said, only two major gripes about the story.

Gameplay

On the flip side, the gameplay is very simplistic, and this game was made in 2002, so it’s not that surprising. You use the left thumbstick to control the pitch and turn of the starfighter, the right thumbstick controls the role, this is on the controller so take what I said with a grain of salt. You can also speed up and slow down your starfighter but keep in mind that this also worsens or improves your turn radius (slowing down helps you turn more while speeding up causes you to turn less). This being a flight simulation game, and using the Star Wars license you will need to be able to defend yourself, otherwise, you’re just flying around a starship with nothing but a joystick. Similar to the previous game you do get a primary and secondary weapon, meaning that you use your laser cannons to shoot down enemy starfighters and destroy ground troops with ease. Your secondary weapons depend on the ship you’re flying, if you’re playing as Master Gallia you can use the force to shield yourself, send out a shockwave, electrocute small enemies clustered in groups or slow down time. Nym is a different story as he utilizes his bomber to strike at the enemy, which means he has pulse bombs, guided torpedoes, a rocket barrage, and even timed proximity mines. You can use all of that firepower to complete objectives varying in range, from destroying buildings and key subsystems, defending a spaceport or strike team, to even taking out top lieutenants, and with gameplay this simple that’s the bread and butter of this game. You can also set wingman priorities from defending you or a target to just attacking a high key target and just minding their own business. This can make the game much easier for you as it can be a pain to protect starships and tractor tugs, so set your wingman’s/wing men’s priorities accordingly. A starfighter also has a few key displays I need to go over. The main HUD (Heads Up Display) has a static crosshair so that you have a more accurate shot, it can also give you the name and shape of the target you have locked on as well as display your shield and hull strength. If both drop to zero then your ship is scrap metal. The crosshair also changes according to what secondary weapon you have equipped, such as the plasma bombs having an extra crosshair that helps you calculate where the bomb will go. The HUD will also show you who’s talking by tracking the ship that’s in dialogue, for example, if an enemy is talking to you their ship is tracked with a yellow indicator that turns into an arrow if the ship flies off-screen. You can also manually track ally or enemy ships (in my case “lock on”) with allies being highlighted green while enemies get highlighted as red. You also have one bonus, and one hidden objective per-mission, which unlocks you more content in the special features. This can fall under concept art, movies, bonus missions, or playing the game using ships from other movies such as the X-wing or TIE Fighter. This game also has 4 difficulties, which are Easy, Medium, Hard and Co-Op… yup, co-op is a difficulty in this game. This difficulty will allow a friend or family member of yours play the game’s story with you in split-screen cooperation, I can’t even count how many times we failed a mission because I killed myself with my own bombs… kind of embarrassing. This game is also surprisingly short as I’ve completed the game in 4 and a half hours on normal difficulty. Compared to other games of its generation, that’s short.

Summary

This was a fun game to play and a definite must-play gem from the 6th generation, my final verdict for the game is a decent 9/10. While there is a lot of good in this game, there is also that little bit of bad, such as the few parts of the story that makes no sense in context, especially if you’ve paid attention to the movie, and there are a few instances where I see the AI clip through solid objects like Danny Phantom, as if it isn’t even there, but if I do it I crash and lose half my shields. This breaks the immersion factor of the game just a little bit but it doesn’t make the game unplayable, just unsettling. Till the next article, good luck with that starfighter, and may the force be with you.