A late review, but unlike some, I want to spend some quality time with a game before taking a look at it. Star War Battlefront has been a game long awaited by anyone with a passing interest in the films. For those of a certain age, this is a perfect game.
For a start the game is aimed at the adult fans of the original trilogy. There is no reference to the prequel trilogy and we are solely in the realm of the classic struggle between Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance, with all the main heroes featuring. The graphics and sound of the game are beyond faithful and real Star Wars buffs will even be able to tell what weapon killed you by the noise. Also there is nothing quite like the shrill of a Tie Fighter roaring overhead as you try to pick your shots in the ground battle. Better still the heroes aren’t some impossible kill streak away, you have the ability to transform into Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia or their dark side equivalents, Vader, Emperor Palpatine or Boba Fett, simply by finding the relevant token on the battlefield. For example in a game of supremacy, Battlefront’s large team territory grab mode, the Rebels could be successfully defending a choke point on the map for some time. The token that lets you become Vader is as much of a game changer as jumping into a Titan in Titanfall. Vader strides through the map, deflecting laser blasts and throwing his Lightsaber through groups of enemies. You can decimate the enemy team and capture the point. As thrilling as this is, you are not invincible, a concerted effort by the enemy or a confrontation with an enemy hero can make you run as a hero a wasted experience. Use them correctly, and you will leave Battlefront making Lightsaber sounds as you walk away.
However this good feeling comes with a strange sense. The game itself shouldn’t be this accessible, or even dare I say it, this easy. This is an online shooter, that aims to compete with Call Of Duty, Halo and Battlefront, yet it doesn’t have the same issues they have. Playing any of the others requires a concerted effort and time commitment to achieve any level of skill. You also cannot diversify and play another game during the week, less your hard earned skills dull with every hour you are away from the machine. Like Titanfall, Battlefront doesn’t punish you for taking a break from the game. You can bounce back in a after a few weeks and no-one is any better than you, allowing you to jump back in and keep a respectable kill to death ratio. Try doing that in COD or Halo and you may be so put off that you dump the game. Battlefront seems to have been designed for the mature gamer, who doesn’t have the time to be a pro gamer anymore. In my case, this is perfect, for others the lack of depth could hamper the games longevity like Titanfall. Unlike Titanfall this game has the greatest IP in the world behind it and with content like Jakku from the new films appearing and more DLC planned it should outlast the mech themed shooter easily.
In play Battlefront is very much like the battlefield games, with a few exceptions. You are more of a bullet sponge for one. It takes a good few blaster hits to take you down, even with an overpowered blaster like Han’s. This means any player with a decent level of skill can take cover and wait for their health to regenerate, before getting the drop on their assailant. There can be a bit of frustration as you fire a few perfect shots off only for your enemy to scamper behind cover, but this is balanced out by the chance of stealing other peoples kills or avenging them if they don’t survive a shootout. The easiest way to get kills in this game is by slowly walking around the map and listening for the sounds of conflict, before going in and mopping up the leftovers. Not the most honourable way to get a decent score but since when was the online community fair in first person shooters.
The game modes are a mixed bag. The excellent walker assault is a perfect long game mode lasting at least 30 min. The rebels have to take points on the map to imitate bombing runs on the AT-ATs and the Empire have to prevent this and protect the Walkers as they reach their destination. The chance to get decent scores and have a real game changing impact is high in this mode and even when your team is getting destroyed, you feel there is always a chance for a comeback. Similarly, Supremacy allows for epic comebacks as well. You storm forward trying to take a point on the map before your enemy does. If you succeed you have to move forward and then try to take the next. If you do this too quickly, the enemy force can regroup and take the point back before advancing as well. It makes for a very fluid game experience, when the teams are evenly matched. There can be squash matches, but these are few and far between.
Heroes vs villains is another excellent mode, however this is ruined by length. It is just simply too long. All heroes are spawned at the beginning and the other players have to keep them alive. Had this been a three round match, then it would have had great replay value. At five it takes up too much time and is only useful to give you a chance to play as all heroes. Otherwise, when would you pick Leia? Simple deathmatch takes place on smaller maps, that are fun if a little chaotic and yield too much xp, making them a crowded affair at this stage.
The other modes are mostly misses, with variations on escort types involving droids. The standout mode however is Fighter Squadron. This is as the name suggests a straight fight between Tie Fighters and The rebel craft, with a few transports threw in to score points. Unlike the rest of Battlefront, this is short, brutal and competitive, making it the go to mode if you only have a set amount of time. It is every bit as competitive and addictive as a good game of COD and scratches the competitive itch. Hopefully there are some expansions for this mode in the upcoming DLC.
So there you have it. Star Wars Battlefront is a nostalgic and user-friendly shooter. The only issues are a lack of competitiveness and a lack of content at launch. Despite this anyone who has any love for Star Wars will enjoy this game long after episode Seven hits theatres.