Review: I never liked the Star Wars prequel trilogy much. But I do like space fighter games. So deciding whether to buy Star Wars: Starfighter: Special Edition was tough. In the end my taste for space fighter sims outweighed my distaste for what George Lucas had done to his own brainchild. Besides, Lucas doesn't have a direct hand in the novels, games, and other "Expanded Universe" materials. So there was a chance of goodness.
I'm glad I did buy it, for this game is fun. It's one of those rare gems I can't put down. I start the game intending to just do one mission, and an hours later I'm still saying to myself, "Just one more..." Any game that engaging goes on my "must play" list.
The plot is a side-story that takes place in the same time frame as the first prequel movie, but only occasionally intersects with its events (for instance, assisting the Queen's starship in its escape from Naboo). It ends up working rather well, and tells a more interesting tale (for me) than the movie's.
The presentation is extremely slick and well-produced. Everything looks and sounds like it should, vibration is well-integrated, and the voice work is outstanding.
Gameplay is equally solid. Wingmen are pretty stupid and get in the line of fire from time to time, but that's so common in space shooters it's virtually a tradition now. Everything else works smoothly. Controls are well-laid-out and responsive
Star Wars: Starfighter: Special Edition is recommended. It's not for the hardcore sim fan, but everyone else should enjoy it. Even if you're not a fan of space fighter games, give it a rental. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Xbox 360 Owners: You're out of luck. As of this writing it's not on the compatibility list.
PlayStation 2 Owners: This game was released first for the PS2 (minus the "Special Edition" in the titile), and I owned it. As best I can remember, everything I said above about the Xbox version applies equally to the PS2 version.