Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds Saga Review

Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds Saga is not a new game, but rather combines Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds and its Clone Campaigns expansion in a single package.  The game is therefore aimed at those who don't own Galactic Battlegrounds, as those who do should buy the expansion game on its own and save a few bucks.

Galactic Battlegrounds Saga is based on the Age of Empires II engine, and shares many similarities with that game.  If you've played that game, then you'll have no trouble jumping right in and playing Galactic Battlegrounds as the control and interface is nearly identical.  You'll see a lot of correspondence between the games.  You have four resources to collect (in this case carbon, food, nova crystals, and ore) using your civilization's worker unit, priests have become Jedis and Sith, castles are now fortresses, you still have walls and siege weapons to destroy them, ages are now tech levels, etc.  The good thing about this is that Age of Empires II is a great strategy game, and Galactic Battlegrounds Saga certainly benefits from this.  On the down side, the game must take a few liberties with the Star Wars universe to fit into the Age of Empires mold - for example, naval units and droids that require food and housing.

Even though it shares the same engine as Age of Empires II, the move from a game set in the Middle Ages to one set in the Star Wars universe necessitated some changes to the game.  The first and most obvious is the addition of air units (and anti-air units to counter them).  Some of the ships appearing in the movies make an appearance in the game, but all things considered they behave a little strangely.  You don't get space battles per se, the spaceships fill more of a ground support role in the game.  After watching Y-wings maneuver down a trench at high speed in Star Wars, it's a little odd to watch them approach a target and then just sit in place while launching salvos at it.

Also new to the game's engine are high tech concepts such as power and shields.  Buildings require power from special generator structures, and if they are not powered they become very slow and inefficient.  Special power droids can be built to act as mobile generators, but suffer from the drawbacks of a reduced radius of effectiveness and vulnerability.  Some civilizations can also build shield generators that provide to extra measure of protection to their forces.

Galactic Battlegrounds Saga spans all five Star Wars movies, and lets you take command of one of eight different factions that have appeared in those movies.  These factions are the Galactic Empire, Rebel Alliance, Wookies, Trade Federation, Royal Naboo, Gungans, Republic, and Confederacy.  The factions all have their own unique units and some unique technologies, and each has ts own strengths and weaknesses.  For example, the Gungans have great naval units, but weak air units while the Naboo have strong air units and weak troops.

Many of the weapons appearing in the movies appear in the game, and Star Wars fans will be happy to see X-wing and TIE fighters, stormtroopers, clone troopers, and battle droids.  Planets appearing in the movies serve as settings in the game including Tatooine, Naboo, Endor, Hoth, and Geonosis.  Adding to Star Wars fans' enjoyment of the game is inclusion of many of the famous characters from the movies.  A lot of these characters will be controllable by the player, and include Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, Darth Maul, and Count Dooku.