Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter (Giant Bomb|Wikipedia) is a game I’m not quite sure why I never played when it was originally released in 2002. I had the original Star Wars: Starfighter (Giant Bomb|Wikipedia), beat it, and enjoyed it quite a bit. The sequel is improved, as far as I can tell, in just about every way so it’s a mystery to me why I waited 14 years to play it.
The game has several tutorial missions that are short, simple and to the point (seriously, why can’t more games do this better?). After that, you’re treated to a cut scene that is pre-rendered and does not hold up well at all. Then you’re off to a mission. There are 14 missions in the game if I counted correctly, and most of them take 10 – 15 minutes to finish so this isn’t an overly long game. Basic game play has you controlling a ship in first person view. You have your main weapon (lasers), as well as some secondary weapons. You play as two different characters in the game, each has a unique ship with unique weapons. The pirate’s ship is larger, slower, and can act as a bomber. The jedi’s ship is smaller, faster and lets you use 4 different force powers against enemies. Of the 4 force powers available, I only unlocked 2: force shield and force lightening. Force shield protects your ship from damage, and force lightening destroys smaller ships. There is a mechanic where you hold down the force power button for a set amount of time then release to trigger it. Release too soon and your power fizzles. Release to late, and you get tired out and it takes longer for it to recharge. Release at the right time, and it’s extra powerful. For example, if you release at the right time for the shield, its duration is extended by a large margin – release the lightening power at the right time and it’ll chain to nearby enemies destroying them as well as your target. The game is very arcadey, and is a ton of fun.
Graphics are pretty good in this one for a PS2 game – there were a few frame rate hiccups I experienced, but overall it runs well. There is an Xbox version, I’m curious if it runs any better or worse. Sound is excellent, with official Star Wars themes and great special effects sounds. Voice acting is… spotty at best.
Verdict: Play again! This was as fun as the original and is pretty short – should be a quick one to play through in the future.
Images courtesy of Giant Bomb