Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Sam's Take: Modding Battlefront 2

Call me ignorant, but until recently I had absolutely no idea that Battlefront 2 - possibly my favourite game of all time - had mods. Don't get me wrong, I've had a ball with Battlefront for years without the help of mods, thanks to its excellent Galactic Conquest and XL modes, but seeing all of these new mods made me so much more excited to play it again.

After fumbling with files and pissing about with the program, I was finally able to install the Conversion Pack, the ultimate Battlefront 2 mod that you should definitely install if you own the game thanks to its absurd amount of content.

Being able to play Battlefront 1 maps was a breath of fresh air - or rather a breath of laser-filled, spaceship-polluted air - since I could finally, finally experience the chaos of Cloud City all over again. Probably the flagship map of the original Battlefront game, being able to play it on XL mode gives the map a completely new dimension: not only are there tens of ships flying within a whisker of each other, but there's a genuine terror when either side has a hero, as they can cut through swathes of cannon-fodder AI and no sooner come for you.

Messing around with the skiffs on Tatooine's Dune Sea was another of a catalogue of great moments that the Conversion Pack gave me - knocking in gaggles of droids into the Sarlacc Pit will always be satisfying, no matter what year it is. It was on this map that I also discovered the sheer amount of changes that the pack brought: sure, some new classes are added (including the Clone Commander, who can call in Orbital Strikes at will, and the double-staffed MagnaGuard) but also every map changes the cosmetic looks of the teams on each side - clones, for example, will have sand-dusted armour and skirts, presumably in order to prevent the coarse, rough, irritating substance from getting stuck in their clone pants - it gets everywhere, after all.

And then there's the 50(!) new heroes and villains that the mod adds, not only adding variety but also enlightening me on the many, many Jedi and Sith from the sadly non-canon Expanded Universe that I idiotically never delved into. From the awesome - Tuskan Raider Jedi Shared Hett and Legolas look-alike Cin Drallig - to the downright weird - the blue-skinned Grand Admiral Thrawn and sword-wielding Wookiee Zaalbar - I felt simultaneously happy and sad to have discovered all of these new characters that will sadly never be developed anymore.

Still, the most impressive part of this excellent mod is the Knights of the Old Republic content - seeing the Old Republic soldiers and the Sith forces clash together on maps such as Jango Fett's homeworld of Concord Dawn, lasers flying everywhere and swordsmen clashing, is easily one of the best experiences I've had in a game to date, and convinced me download KOTOR, which I'm currently playing through (and loving) now.

And that's not all - the Conversion Pack also added a load of new modes, my favourite of which is Order 66, an expansion of the infamous bookcase-defending campaign mission that allows you to play as either the clones or a bunch of randomised Jedi.

Still, that mod was somehow bettered by the simply-named +123, which allows you to play any mode on any vanilla Battlefront 2 map. Playing Hunt on the Death Star or Hoth is a lot of fun, but be wary of some combinations - playing XL mode on the Tantive IV, Princess Leia's diddy little ship, crashed the game multiple times for me.

And those mods are only the beginning...

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