Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
There was a time when any game with the words Star Wars in the title would be a sure fire hit. Of course in recent times this is no longer the case and lacklustre titles such as Obi Wan (Xbox), The Phantom Menace (PC) and Starfighter (PS2) have ensured that gamers will be wary of future titles. In fact in the last couple of years only Rogue Leader (Cube) and Jedi Outcast (PC, Cube & Xbox) have really delivered the goods.
Bounty Hunter sees us in the world of the Star Wars prequels, around the time of Episode I-II to be exact. The story centres around Jango Fett, the Bounty Hunter. The game is played from the 3rd person perspective and like Jedi Outcast is a mix of puzzles, jumps and shoot-outs. The game begins with Jango about to apprehend a target when it goes horribly wrong and he has to battle a kind of pit monster. In fact for a game called Bounty Hunter the game involves a lot of basic shoot 'em up action and simple puzzle solving which comes as a bit of surprise.
Control of Jango is very easy and most of the actions that you have to perform are done so very comfortably. Somersaults, rolls and Jetpack thrusts are all easy to do, which is a testament to a solid control system. The right analogue stick is reserved for camera movement and helps keep the camera in check, not that it is bad by any means. The square button is your primary fire button with the circle button used to cycle your weapons and tools. To make firing easier the holding of the R1 button allows you to lock on to your target. The lock on works well and enables you to wipeout enemies very efficiently indeed. Should Jango run into an obstacle such as a locked door or grate then he can use his cutting laser (the triangle button) to cut his way through the obstacle.
If there was one criticism I could make about this game, it's that it doesn't really encourage you to capture those with a price on their head rather than kill them. The game should pause when you are scanning to see if the enemies have a price on their head. The ID scanner, which is what determines if someone has a bounty on them, must be used from a distance to be effective. This is not always possible and at least to begin with, you'll end up killing your bounty, to save your own skin, rather than cashing them in for the reward. The game doesn't really offer a good enough incentive for collecting the bounty either which is a wasted opportunity.
There are so many graphical errors in Bounty Hunter that the game looks as if it were released in a rush and before it were finished. The game has extensive clipping problems with Jango regularly losing parts of himself when standing next to, or on something. The quality of the cutscenes is impressive and befitting of a Star Wars game. Generally the framerate is impressive but there are occasions where it drops a little, which is unfortunate. The general quality of the game's graphics on the whole is probably best described as OK but does not resemble what I would consider to be the best that the PS2 could provide in a game of this nature.
Whilst not terrible for deaf gamers, Bounty Hunter is not exactly ideal either. The game begins as all of the Star Wars films and games do with the upward, and into the distance, scrolling text. Apart from looking very authentic this also gives the deaf gamer a chance to get an idea of the storyline. This promising start however is spoilt by the lack of subtitles within the game and the games cutscenes. Pausing the game will bring up a very brief mission objective as well as any secondary objectives. Because there are no subtitles you are also unaware of nearby enemies, which on occasions will disadvantage you but for the most part this is not a big problem.
Star Wars Bounty Hunter is not the game I was expecting. It could have been an excellent stealth type game or something completely different where you had to trace your target, familiarise yourself with their movements and lay traps for them but instead we are left with a game which in many ways, pales when compared to games such as Jedi Outcast.
Game Rating: 5.5/10