Maximum Star Wars
LucasArts’ dark lords, grunts, commandos, and mercenaries command attention

True, there would never have been a LucasArts without Star Wars, but no other E3 in recent memory has had so many Star Wars games as featured attractions.

One reason LucasArts’ latest slate of games is being met with such anticipation is that 2003 was a great year for Star Wars titles—chief among them, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. KOTOR’s blend of action and adventure captured imaginations and extended the franchise. Set for a 2005 release on Xbox and PC is Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords, developed by Obsidian Entertainment using BioWare’s engine. Five years after the end of the first game, players find themselves as the last member of the Jedi order, fending off the dark side of the Force wielded by the Sith Lords. The game features all-new Force powers, weapons, locations, characters, and classes.

Following up on the successful introduction of Star Wars Galaxies is the promised Jump to Light Speed, expected for PC this fall. This first expansion to the massive online game gives roleplayers access to 10 different interstellar craft, including TIE and X-wing fighters. The Sony Online Entertainment team has crafted 10 sectors that can be traversed, with more than 100 missions to support the new space-flight gameplay.

Blending both action and strategic warfare is Star Wars Battlefront (PC, PS2, Xbox), developed by Pandemic for fall. Battlefront lets gamers play as one of dozens of foot soldiers from opposing sides in either the Imperial or Republic eras. Each campaign stretches over many worlds and gives players ample opportunity to control 15 famous ground and aerial craft as they vie for control of the battlefield. Up to 32 people can join battles online via consoles, and up to 64 can play at a time on PC servers.

This fall’s Star Wars Republic Commando (PC, Xbox) is set during the Clone Wars, prior to the events that will take place in Episode III. As a Republic commando, a new character class, you’ll lead a team on special-operations missions. The game will include online play for both PC and Xbox.

Also from Pandemic is the very un-Star Wars third-person action game Mercenaries (PS2, Xbox). Set in the near future on Earth, the game is framed around a destabilizing coup in North Korea. Hired by a contractor of dubious loyalties, players choose between three characters: a Swedish or American male operative, or a British female operative. Special talents make each of the characters attractive for the 52 available missions.

Game trailers courtesy of gametrailers.com

BY GEORGE T. CHRONIS


 
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