Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron sports all the features we wanted to see in a new Battlefront game. For the first time, you can battle on land, hop in a ship and strafe ground units from the air, and blast into orbit to dogfight and assault your enemy’s capital ship, all on the same map. We recently got to sample multiplayer with 16 other players, and the transitions between ground, air, and space combat work great.
Ground combat works much like it did in Star Wars: Battlefront II. The main difference is that your team wins by gaining a set number of points instead of depleting the number of points your opponent’s team has to zero. You’ll pick from a selection of classes with different weapons and special skills. The soldier is best for running and gunning. Pilots drop ammo and health packs for teammates, and can repair dispensers and vehicles. The heavy weapons class sports a rocket launcher and is good for taking out enemy tanks. Snipers are also back. Guess what they’re good at.
Above: Ground battles are still the heart and soul of Elite Squadron
Control points are spread throughout the map. Capture one, and your team will have the option to spawn there, allowing you to move about the map to contested areas more quickly. As always, killing enemy units and controlling more points helps your team score points more quickly.
One great addition for Elite Squadron is the ion cannon control point. If your team captures it and can hold it long enough for the cannon to charge, any teammate may man the giant gun and fire it at your enemy’s capital spaceship. Destroying a capital ship earns major points for your team, so the ion cannon control points are always highly contested areas.
Above: Hero units are also back. Yoda, Boba Fett, and Darth Sidious all made chaotic cameos to turn the tide of battle during our multiplayer demo
There’s only one major problem: it’s on the PSP. With only one lonely analog nub to work with, Elite Squadron has taken the auto-lock route, turning most ground encounters with enemies into lengthy strafe-offs limited to the horizontal plane. There was much jumping and rolling as we circled opponents in an awkward dance to decide who would survive. That being said, the controls don’t feel better or worse than other shooters we’ve played on the PSP.