Star Wars Jedi Starfighter
Star Wars Jedi Starfighter is the sequel to last years smash hit Star Wars Starfighter. This time around everything's based upon Star Wars Episode 2. You take the role of Adi Gallia, a Jedi, and occasionally Nym, a former pirate through fifteen missions in order to combat the evil plans of Captain Cavik Toth, his Sabaoth Squadron, and the evil Trade Federation in the game's story mode. This is the first chance that you'll have to experience the Episode 2 world with 40 starships included from the film.
First of all let's get the bad news out of the way. The game has no subtitles whatsoever. There is a well thought out tutorial mode but there is no subtitles so it will prove difficult to say the least. Don't get me wrong you can muddle your way through but the tutorial shouldn't be hard work. The story mode, which is the heart of the game is also without subtitles. Here the problem is more disappointing as it takes away from the atmosphere of the game. Your mission briefing is given verbally but this is not too bad as pressing the start button allows you to access a text objective list. The problem is that during the missions the objectives will dynamically change/be added to. Of course all the new information is given verbally. There are additions made to the text objectives but you have to look at the mission objectives, via the start button, when you see the objective complete message. You can progress through the game as long as you check your objectives upon completing the current objective. You lose the advantage of having your wingmen warn you when enemies are approaching though as well as not being able to be aware of other comments from them.
These problems aside, Jedi Starfighter is a very good Star Wars air/space combat game. The key feature this time around is the force powers. The game allows you to use force powers from the cockpit of your spaceship. To begin with you only have access to Force shield but as the game goes on you are able to use Force lightning, Force reflex and Force shockwave. Of course it takes practice to capitalise on these abilities. In the missions in which you play as Nym you will be back in the Havoc, the spaceship that you were in, in the first game. Whilst playing as Nym you will return to more conventional weapons. Energy bombs, cruise missiles, cluster missiles and proximity mines replace the Force powers whilst you are controlling Nym. This gives the game some welcome variation and helps to avoid the gameplay becoming too repetitive.
One of the nice touches is that there is a variety of bonus features that can be had by completing bonus and hidden objectives. The hidden objectives are not given to you so it's up to you to figure them out. This of course is a nice touch that extends the replay value of the game. Bonus features include extra one or two player missions and extra spacecraft (one of which is the TIE fighter) which can be used in the missions.
The game comes with three difficulty settings as well as a co-operation mode which enables a second player to accompany you through the missions. Your companion will either play as Reti, a Toyarian mechanic, Jinkins, a technical genius who designed the Havoc spaceship and finally Siri Tachi, a Jedi. You get to choose the difficulty level or co-operation mode before each of the missions so you can play each mission as you like and if a friend comes round for the night you can carry on an existing game which is a great feature.
Graphically the game looks very good. If you've played the original Star Wars Starfighter you'll notice more detail in the landscapes in Jedi Starfighter. The weapon effects, explosions, force effects and spaceships all look great and the framerate rarely dips when there is a lot of action on screen.
The control system has been well implemented and is quite simple to control. Movement is carried out via the two analogue sticks and feels very comfortable. By holding down the R1 button you can zoom in on your targets and this enables you to hit them from a greater distance than normal accuracy would allow. This gives the game a sniper feel to it which makes a pleasant change in this genre. Pressing the triangle button allows you to cycle through your targets. One curious omission is radar. There are no radar panels and after playing earlier Star Wars space combat games this does seem a little weird.
Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10 Star Wars Jedi Starfighter, whilst a superb game for the hearing gamer and one that would easily get 9/10, is not as good an experience for the deaf gamer. Despite it's problems for the deaf gamer, Jedi Starfighter is still the best air/space combat game the PS2 has to offer.
Deaf Gamers comment: This is one of those games that you desperately wish had subtitles. The game has a good storyline but it is wasted as there are no subtitles. Mission briefings can be accessed and the game can still be enjoyable but it lacks atmosphere as you can't follow the story which is a real shame because the game and it's events are a sneak preview into the Episode II film that will be shown later this year.