It’s a big year for Star Wars: not long now until the long-awaited sequel hits cinema’s and we’ll be back exploring that galaxy long ago and very far away. Of course that means we’ll have lots of Star Wars games and merchandise to look forward to and the first of that new batch is Star Wars Battle Pod.
The game came as quite a surprise and was first shown in 2014 then last week it was revealed at the 2015 EAG Amusement show in London. The game features an impressive 180 degree wrap around screen and puts the player directly in the action. This is supported with a suitable sound system and fan for blowing the player when moving at speed; it's all very effective. I took a few moments to interview the Vice President of Bandai Namco Amusements America Frank Cosentino about the history of the project and how it came to fruition – you can see that in the video below:
Star Wars enjoys a long heritage of video games, albiet it of a mixed quality, but in terms of the arcade, the original Atari vector graphics title stands tall. An incredible experience for its time, it maximised the 3D gameplay and was supported with speech clips directly from the movies. This experience had always formed as the benchmark in later years. While Sega’s Virtua Star Wars was impressive, the visuals failed to match its ambition. Then in the late 90’s we saw the new Star Wars Trilogy Aracde, which great selection of visuals but marred with imprecise gameplay, making for an impressive and fun, if ultimately dull, experience.
This new title aims to combine several elements from all previous titles, granting the atmosphere and incredible visuals but with gameplay that is simple yet intuitive. It might not be the deepest or longest arcade adventure, but it’s certainly the most impressive and will leave you walking away having experienced the true magic of the Star Wars universe. Check out the video below to see all of the initial levels. Suffice to say, if you see one in the local arcade get on it now and may the force be with you.