Star Wars Rules/Sucks

Lucas' best-selling video game shows which trilogy is better

Lucas often says he felt limited by technology when making the original Star Wars movies. It now seems that limitation was Lucas' accidental muse the first time around. Then, the excitement hinged on anticipation. Intense set pieces were sparingly applied, and the meanwhiles were filled with tantalizing details: an Imperial shuttle folding its wings; Boba Fett stepping in and out of the shadows; an AT-AT first glimpsed not directly, but in grainy black-and-white through the rebel's viewfinders. It was a Star Wars realm that unfolded in hints, and in retrospect we should be thankful that Lucas couldn't afford to create an army of Bossks, because then Bossk wouldn't have felt so important to us. (Although I can't resist the thought that a compromise may have worked, like, say, a small squad of Bossks.) Same with the Wookies, whose long-anticipated en masse appearance in Episode III was predictably disappointing, underscoring the artistic paradox that there is such a thing as too much freedom. And although Episode III was a huge advance over the other two prequels, it was still a wildly overwrought, computer-generated mess stitched together by the flimsiest of drama—a run-of-the mill video game, essentially, with the usual throwaway “cinematic cut scenes” that plague today's games.

Battlefront's departure from that mode is probably what made it the best-selling Star Wars video game to date. That and its synergistic mojo from a simultaneous box-set reissue of the original trilogy. Because, despite all the hype surrounding the prequels, a recent fan poll of favorite Star Wars characters had all of the Top 10 coming from the originals except for Anakin Skywalker, and he was number nine. Likewise, on Battlefront online and in the forums, nothing beats the basic appeal of good old Hoth. If it was annoying, after all, that Naboo's digitally perfect marble columns looked just like a movie version of Myst, why would you want to import that back to your Xbox? This is why the most anticipated additions to Star Wars: Battlefront II, due out this fall, are not new lava levels from Episode III, but the Death Star and Princess Leia's blockade runner from the opening of Episode IV. Now if they could just include that squad of Bossks.


Glossary:

Bossk: A reptilian humanoid bounty hunter, originally from Trandosha.

X-Wing: Incom's T-65 starfighter, the rugged symbol of the rebellion.

TIE Fighter: Single-seat Imperial starfighter (lacks hyperdrive).

Massively Multiplayer: Online gaming environment where thousands of players participate in real time.

Tauntaun: Sure-footed snow lizard on Hoth, used by rebels for transport.

TIE X-1: Darth Vader's customized ship with the sleek angular wings.

Wookie: Chewbacca, et al.

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