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Rise of the Empire #5: Shadows and Flames


Not only is this the long-awaited fifth installment of the Rise of the Empire series, but it is also PR-0927\'s (Majin Revan) final map for Star Wars Battlefront II. Yeah, it\'s sad, but perhaps
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what\'s most sad is that his final map is also one of his weakest... The map takes place on Tatooine under a starry night sky. The rebels (who mostly consist of droids now) are scavenging the site of a brutal ambush that occured during the Clone Wars for old machinery and weapons that they can use to further their cause. It just so happens that a clan of tuskens has set up camp in the middle of the wreckage, hence complicating things further. The Empire catches wind of the rebel\'s plans (they must have been bored) and sends a large group of Clone Commando\'s to ambush the rebels, thus paralleling the ambush that occured several years before. The map looks and feels like Tatooine. It was like being in the scene from Episode II where Anakin sneaks into the tusken camp to rescue his mother. The only thing that could have made it perfect would be those dog-like monsters the tuskens kept as pets. The map is littered with Republic vehicles; mostly partially functioning AT-TE\'s. The rebels start off with two CP\'s: one to the west of the camp and one to the north. The Empire starts out south of the camp with two UT-AT\'s. The actual layout of the map is rather unimaginative and boring since the command posts are perfectly aligned with one another rather than spread out. And the fact that there are only four CP\'s (two of which cannot be captured, I think) turns the map into a frustrating \"CP goose-chase.\" And to top it off none of the command posts, other than the tusken camp or the little rebel mobile command center, are very exciting to look at. They\'re basically just empty patches of sand without any cover to use or make it interesting. This presents a problem which I\'ll get into in a second. The rebel side consists of super battle droids, an engineer, and battle droids armed with that repeating sniper rifle. There are also a couple of dwarf spider droids helping out by they don\'t seem to hit anything. So as you can tell your choices of units are limited and rather boring. As for the Empire... well they strictly consist of Clone Commando\'s and nothing else. The only plus side to that is that they now come with cloaking devices. Now I have to rant about how unbalanced the map. For starters, the rebels are limited in their selection of weapons. The only thing they can use against the UT-AT\'s are the engineer\'s det-packs, which don\'t do much damage at all. The super battle droids are very slow and very big which makes them easy targets, and the battle droids\' sniper rifles aren\'t very useful against an army of invisible clone commandos. The clone commandos are [i]always[/i] invisible. They have an unlimited cloaking device which makes it very easy for them to go around the map killing enemies while they fire aimlessly in attempt to hit their attacker. To add fuel to the fire the UT-AT\'s sweep into the rebel CP\'s, which as I mentioned before have no cover, and just spawn an endless number of invisible clone commandos that just tear the rebels apart. I remember playing as the engineer and every time I\'d spawn while our CP was under attack by UT-AT\'s I\'d be gunned down in a second by commandos. Not two seconds. A second. If you\'re lucky you\'ll be able to last a little longer. It\'s no fun to play as the rebels because you\'re just absolutely [i]raped[/i] by the commandos, and it\'s no fun to play as the commando\'s because you completely dominate the rebels without breaking a sweat. I got in more kills as a clone commando in one spawn-time than I did as a rebel in an entire [i]match[/i]. That should say something. Also, isn\'t it a little odd to send an army of [i]handless[/i] super battle droids to salvage machinery from a wreckage field? I\'d have thought that the rebels would have sent some actual humans to do that. They couldn\'t have anticipated such an attack during what is an essentially minor mission. Overall I was pretty disappointed with this one. The map design is fine and all -- it\'s pretty. But the CP layout is totally bland and unimaginative. And, of course, the map is very unbalanced. I know it was PR\'s intention to make the map unbalanced but it simply isn\'t fun. There needs to be some sort of balance to make the map enjoyable. It\'s a shame that this dud will be PR\'s last map. The series so far has been fun though and a unique gaming experience. But who knows, maybe he\'ll find time to do another installment in the future. ;) -[GT]EraOfDesann PS: It should also be noted that PR himself states that this is his weakest map. Also I\'ll be taking over the Rise of the Empire project, assuming that PR doesn\'t kick me off for this ill-favored review. :p

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