A Long time ago in a place far, far away there was a company called LucasArts that put out awesome games. Those days may have come and gone, but Star Wars: Assault Team has arrived and it still carries the LucasArts name. Call me nostalgic or call me a fool, but Star Wars: Assault Team has had my undivided attention since the soft-launch in February. I’ve been with the game since the first week, and now it’s finally time for my Star Wars: Assault Team review…
I’ll start off by saying Star Wars: Force Collection sucks. It’s a travesty with no redeeming features in my eyes, and if you think Star Wars: Assault Team is a CCG in the same vein, you’d be dead wrong. Both games are card battling games set in the Star Wars universe, but that is where the comparisons end.
Star Wars: Assault Team is a card battler with a new storyline that takes place in the classic Star Wars universe before we ever got a glimpse of the terrible Jar Jar Binks or Mannequin Skywalker. That jab is at Hayden Christensen, not Jake Lloyd just so you know. While we won’t give up the plot, we’ll tell you it’s campy and fun.
As for the gameplay, it’s basically what you’d expect from a CCG, but with a few tweaks. The game takes you through a lot of familiar territory, and you’ll get a first-person view of the action as the game takes you through each location on rails. While you can’t interact with the scenery aside from chests and doors, everything looks great and fans will see more than a few surprises along the way.
You start your journey out as Han Solo trying to escape the Devastator, but you’ll add Chewie, Luke, Leia, 3PO, and R2 to your squad as you progress through the game. There are plenty of other heroes and villains to add to your squad, but some levels require you to use Luke, Leia or one of your droids. This makes things a bit more challenging when you’ve spend the past week leveling up your wyyyschokk spider to 15 while Luke lingered at level 2.
The actual “card battles” are simple, but get extremely tough as you progress though the game. Everything is turn-based, and you have a secondary ‘special’ attack that works after a full charge. You go, then the enemy squad goes and if you can make it through the levels with one hero left, you’ll progress to the next stage and collect all the rewards earned along the way.
At first, you’ll probably just fire away randomly thinking the game is too easy, but that quickly changes. Strategy definitely plays a part as ‘Weapon’ based cards fair batter against droids while beasts can crush a humanoid in an instant. You can play favorites when training and leveling up, but it may cost you by the time you reach “The Mandalorian” in Mos Espa.
As you’d expect, training plays a big part of the game, and there are special mission that let you earn Promotion and Training items. You’ll want to match your characters affinity (Weapon, Smuggler, Force, etc…) to the proper mission to level up, and when you hit the cap it’s time to promote. Therein lies one of the problems I had with Star Wars: Assault Team as the promotion items can be an absolute bitch to obtain. I think I had Han at level 3 for a week before I could pick up a Hyperdrive Motivator in a Smuggler promotion mission. Now I just need that Tier 4 DT-12 Heavy Blaster…
Now for those all-important numbers. Star Wars: Assault Team is broken down into six different areas, each with its own set of levels. I can’t give a final count as I’m currently stuck on Coruscant, but there seems to be 10 levels per area which would give you around 60 in all. You can earn a gold, silver or bronze medal on each one, and there’s an Area that allows you to fight against other peoples squads. Throw in the Special Mission which feature promotion, training, and daily levels and you’ve got yourself a lot of depth.
As for those cards, no idea on that one. I know I’ve had around 20 different characters thus far, and have played against people with characters I didn’t know existed. Aside from the usual suspects, you’ll be able to pick up cards of Terentateks, Rodians, Wookie Hunters, Tusken Raiders, and Ithorians among others. Needless to say, there are a lot of cards to be collected and a slew of characters to level up and promote.
We’ve told you the good, now it’s time for the bad. Star Wars: Assault Team is a “freemium” game so you’re going to get hit with some freemium mechanics including a timer-based energy gauge and premium currency in the form of crystals. The timers aren’t too bad unless you’re impatient like me, but the crystals will become the bane of your existence. It’s $4.99 for 15 of them, and it requires four to refill your energy. If you get killed in a mission you can use one to revive so you don’t lose your loot, and they are also used for “Premium” Hero crates which is where you get the good cards. See the problem?
When Star Wars: Assault Team was finally unleashed a lot of folks were quick to jump the gun and scream to stay away. Don’t believe the bad hype as I’ve been at it for well over a month, and can confidently say that Star Wars: Assault Team is great game and its fans will certainly want to check out. I’ll even admit, I almost got a little misty as the opening crawl rolled by.
The in-app purchases are there, but you can get around them if you play smart and my only knock on the game at all is with the high-prices on the Premium currency as they’re a bit too steep. That said, it’s worth dropping $5 if you dig the game as you are getting a lot of game for free.
UPDATE April 22 – We’re dropping the score on this one due to the fact the company has seemingly made some ‘adjustments’ to the game which make it unplayable at the latter levels unless you want to some money. Not sure of all the changes, but it now costs four crystals to continue a battle instead of one, and the prices/tiers of the Arena crates seemed to have changed as well. Dick move to say the least…