Star Wars Bounty Hunter (PS2)

Review

posted 12/18/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
If you need an idea of how bad this game is, solve this analogy. Obi Wan is to Xbox as ____ is to PS2. If you guessed Bounty Hunter, then you’re absolutely right.

What really upsets me is that this is a game that had a lot of promise. It’s a Star Wars game that diverts the focus from the light-saber wielding do-gooders and places it squarely on the dark shoulders of the galaxy’s most infamous bounty hunter. Give him a huge arsenal, a badass persona and you can’t go wrong right? Well, not exactly.

When you’ve got gameplay as uninspiring and repetitive as this, it doesn’t matter how cool or an arsenal you have. Most of the game feels unintuitive and as a result, most of the game feels a bit counterproductive. For instance, you can mark bounties and capture them as a secondary goal. How do you mark bounties you ask? Well you’ll have to switch from your weapon over to the visor, press R2 to enter first person mode, move the cursor to scan your target and then press O to mark them. Then you’ll have to change weapons a lasso-like object so that you can tie up your bounty. If you think that sounds inane consider the fact that you’re already wearing the visor at all times and it just becomes a complete exercise in frustration. How am I supposed to scan a large group of enemies for a single bounty, especially when I’m rendered defenseless as they’re raining fire down upon me?

The rest of the game’s functions are equally as puzzling with the camera system being the biggest offender. It’s simply too tight, following your character much too closely, leading to far too many headaches. The camera system’s limitations really rear their ugly heads when you’re in small confined spaces, as it seems to become confused with even the simplest of corridors. The game’s enemies suffer from the same problems as well, being relegated to performing only the most effortless tasks. The controls are also a bit too tight as your character feels like he has no weight or momentum to him. Sometimes it’s just all too erratic and uncontrollable. I was assured at E3 that the AI (along with many of the same gripes I had above) would be fixed and while the game wasn’t as rough around the edges as it was about 5 months ago, it’s still pretty coarse.

What’s really strange is that the features of this game tend to reside on either one end of the spectrum or another. While the gameplay and visuals are rather sub-par, the pre-rendered sequences that help advance the storyline are just breathtaking. With good cause, they’re all done by Industrial Light and Magic and the end results are nothing short of spectacular. The other portion of this one-two tandem is the sound effects, which are all done by SkyWalker Sound. They too are just incredible and remain truly faithful to their cinematic counterparts. The speech is a little muffled and hard to understand, however, especially during the course of action. Thankfully the more intriguing dialogue is relegated to the cutscenes and kept out of the action.
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