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SummaryLacking in too many ways (Revised)
The GoodThe Basics: Star Wars: Rebellion is basically a resource-managing strategy game, with real-time 3d combat when the inevitable conflict occurs. You attempt to win through sending characters from the books and movies on missions such as diplomacy, sabotage and abduction, managing resource gathering on a lot of planets, organizing your fleets well and winning the battles.
Rebellion uses a Windows-like control system for managing planets. Once you get the hang of it, this works pretty well. There are a few convenience features for when, later on in the game, you'll have a lot of planets to manage, which makes using them easier. A sidebar shows your reports and the bar at the bottom allows you to access things such as the encyclopedia and find specific characters and fleets. It doesn’t take up too much screen space, and I like that.
Things go downhill in the real-time combat. The designers obviously had very little experience with this kind of game device because the mechanics here are poorly done. Moving the camera around is a royal pain and it's far too difficult to issue basic commands to your fleets.
The graphics in the tactical game section are generally decent. Every character has a mug shot which, in reports, is pasted over a different background depending on the mission they're on; there are special pictures for informing you of sabotage, fleet arrival, etc. This is all okay, but the color scheme is far too drab and the images often feel very unprofessional, as if they were slapped together in a very cheap paint program. As far as artistic merit goes, it's all right, but there wasn’t a single image in the whole game that really wowed me.
The handful of cut scenes are fairly high quality and don't suffer from the drab colors the rest of the game does. They're quite good actually.
And like all the rest of the mechanics, it goes sharply downhill in real-time combat. Ship meshes are so low detail that they look blocky at the minimum zoom level, and snubfighters are something like 32x32 bitmap sprites. It's really, really low quality, and not even two huge fleets with full bays of snubfighters colliding manages to look impressive unless you squint (sniffing glue might help, but should not be required to make a game look nice).
Sound effects are rare and when you do hear them, only mediocre quality. In real-time combat they're as drab as the colors; I'm not sure if it's low sound quality or just poorly designed effects. Possibly both. Altogether it's quite unremarkable.
The musical score is, surprise, from the movies. It's not context-sensitive or anything as far as I can tell, so basically it's just a few tracks looping in the background. I eventually turned it off. We all love it, sure, but it's overused and there is far too little of it here.
Single Player Gameplay/Balance
I really like the concept here. You manage fleets and ground troops, handle research of new technology to help the war, control your commandos and use the rare ones with the Recruit ability to find more. There are some neat gimmicks thrown in like finding and training Jedi and assassination missions that only the Empire can perform. The mission system is well done and the most enjoyable part of the whole game.
Resource management is strictly mediocre. You mine ore that refineries transform into resources which are used to make things. It's not supposed to be in-depth and I never found it hard to deal with, but it’s not notable either.
The ships were disappointing; basically, there's an Empire and Rebel version of each one, with slightly tweaked statistics and a different graphic. There is no very unique unit on either side. This is especially annoying because with all the ships they put in, you'd think there'd be some more originality.
Battles ultimately boil down to who can shoot the capital ships up the fastest. There are some advanced tactics options for various styles of attack that, I know from extensive play, are absolutely pointless and only exist to make it look more complicated than it is. Hit points and firepower are really all that matters. There's no navigation, no organization, and no tactics.
I never played this game on multiplayer because I never found anyone to play with. I'm not rating this category, but I'm putting it here to let readers know it exists.
The Bottom LineLucasArts has been going steadily downhill since the great game that was X-Wing. There is no innovation here and it doesn’t even get the tried and true concepts right. This title has little to offer to turn-based strategy games and Star Wars fans and absolutely nothing to anyone else. If you fall into both the previous categories, like me, it might be worth picking up and playing once as both the Empire and the Rebellion. Otherwise, don't waste your time.
Total Value: 2/5