Release date: February 19, 2001
Genre: Arcade simulator
Consoles: PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox
I wasn’t planning on getting to another review quite so soon, and that right there should tell you something about Starfighter right off the bat. Before we get into anything dealing with the actual game, this is my first video game review, not just for the site but in general. I’m not going to try and review a video game the same way I would a movie, novel, short story or TV episode. That format wouldn’t work. There won’t be an official division point, but essentially the review will be broken down into two parts. The first portion will deal with what I care about the most, the story. How good is the in-game story, do I care about what happens, is itfun, interesting, etc.. The second portion will deal with a subject that I don’t consider myself an expert on by any means, the gameplay and other technical aspects. Like usual I will end with a small conclusion, but you should know that by now. As is always the case with my writing, maybe this approach will pan out, maybe it won’t, but life doesn’t wait for you to see what will work and neither does my keyboard.
Breaking down the story in a video game isn’t the same as in any other medium. Because video games are such a hands on experience the story needs to not only be cool, for lack of a better word, but it also needs to gel with the gameplay in some way. To be perfectly honest there isn’t much to go into in regards to the story of Starfighter. The story in Starfighter is the equivalent of a short story manuscript with all the essential meat stripped away. At no point do you develop any sort of relationship with either of the three main characters, most times it’s easy to forget who you are playing as, what world you are on or why you need to complete the mission objectives. The story presented in Starfighter isn’t bad persay, but it falls into the category of paper thin and very inconsequential.
Where Starfighter manages to keep the player interested is in the gameplay. As I already admitted I’m no expert, especially on flight simulators, in regards to gameplay. But, what my limited video game experience tells me is that Starfighter presents an addictive style of gameplay. It isn’t the deepest, the most original or at times the easiest to handle, but it keeps you interested in what is happening on screen. This is where the lack of story I spoke of earlier doesn’t hurt the game tremendously. In the video game world fun gameplay can make up for the lack of a good story, and that is the case most of the time in Starfighter. There are times when the controls are a bit unwieldy, or the game becomes too repetitive of a shooter. But, as I alluded to in the beginning, even on the hardest difficulty level Starfighter is a quick and easy game and that helps to balance out some of the lesser facets of the gameplay. If you didn’t notice already I’m struggling just a bit to properly voice my thoughts on the gameplay aspect. In an attempt to keep it simple and easy, Starfighter’s gameplay is far from perfect, but it is easy to pick up and helps to enhance the fast and loose feel of the game. One small aside I forgot to mention earlier, as with most flight simulators it is very easy for one to get a bit dizzy or sick while playing Starfighter, but then again I am more susceptible to such bouts due to my motion sickness issues.
You can find better Star Wars video games on the market, but that doesn’t mean Star Wars fans should ignore Starfighter. It’s an easy game to pick up, it’s a rather quick game, and at this point in time you can get the game from the used bin for five dollars so the fact that it is such a quick game isn’t a major issue. Story wise Starfighter doesn’t bring much to the table, but it brings just enough for a Star Wars fan to think about what is happening during the cut scenes. At the end of the day Starfighter is a middle of the road video game, it’s neither great or terrible. If you have five bucks to spare then give Starfighter a shot and fill in a very tiny gap in your personal Star Wars universe.
3.0/5.0 Kath Hounds
Reviewed by Bill Thompson
The Domain Of Nihilus
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