So Star Wars Battlefront is finally upon us. It came, it saw but did it conquer? It’s a game with no campaign mode that has opted to focus almost purely on competitive online play. So EA had a lot to live up to in terms of making a solid game here. Needless to say, it is has been lovingly crafted from the ground up to represent our Star Wars fantasies as accurately as possible. Ultimately to have a really good stab at bringing us the Star Wars game we always wanted.
Developer: EA Digital Illustrations
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Certificate: PEGI 16
Avg Game Length: For as many online matches you can enjoy
The technology wasn’t previously available to do iconic Star Wars battles justice. Now that it is, has it really been put to good use? Preparing this review was like a love/hate relationship with Star Wars Battlefront. One minute I’d be grimacing and bolting my arms in the air to protest. The next, I’d be crawling back to it, addicted and begging it to take me back. Such is the way I feel with EA. Without further delay, lets crack into why I feel this way.
Join Me, On The Dark Side
Speaking of joining, lets first take a look at the lobby system of Star Wars Battlefront and the multiplayer experience as a whole. Any game mode you choose to jump into is instantly accessible as lobbies are very busy indeed. While the system finds a pairing of teams you’ll never be waiting around for more than thirty seconds. If there’s one thing EA made sure they got right, it was their servers. I have not once encountered any lag on any of the matches I played. Nor were there ever any frame rate drops which is especially surprising. That is, considering the sheer quality of graphical presentation on show.
The same fluidity of connection leading to gameplay also applies to you and your buddies. The invite system is simple and easy to use. Once your friend is invited into your Battlefront party, you’ll both be popped into the next lobby. Sure this is pretty much the same system as any other multiplayer game. Although I have to admit, I was expecting problems. Too many times before have I seen lobby systems get confused, have a hard time connecting you both or simply losing connection altogether between matches.
None of these things have happened in my experience of Star Wars Battlefront and I can promise you this – you and your friends are going to have a great time playing together, whatever mode you choose. Almost as if flaunting their hubris, EA had put in an amusing little clause halfway through their opening Terms and Conditions. I don’t know if these T’s&C’s are standard across gaming. However, EA may as well be saying ‘Hey, guys! Be careful with this game, it may lead to divorce or a loss of your job because its so frikking awesome’. Admittedly, EA has become the cocky kid in the playground who doesn’t feel he needs an older brother to stand tall in the playground.
Star Wars Battlefront Brings The Modes
So Star Wars Battlefront’s game modes are as follows. 1) Droid Run a.k.a moving King of The Hill. 2) Hero Hunt a.k.a Survival. 3) Drop Zone a.k.a um, just King of The Hill. 4) Blast a.k.a TDM 5) Fighter Squadron a.k.a dogfighting, but NEVER in space! What the hell EA?! Double check the title of your game. 6) Supremacy a.k.a large TDM. 7) Walker Assault – an actual original game mode where rebels must fend of AT-AT walkers by calling in Y-Wing bombers. If you’re the Empire, you must prevent them from activating these bombers. Its pretty good and fast paced, although you’ll know about halfway through a match if you’re going to lose. 8) Cargo a.k.a CTF. 9) Heroes vs. Villains. This is pretty much TDM with, um, heroes and villains.
Phew, rather a lot of game modes we have here, eh? Well I certainly hope you enjoy them because you’ll playing them all across a vast array of four planets… FOUR PLANETS?? Ahem, yeah it’s not much. Tattoine, Endor, Sullust and Hoth, with a few varying areas depending on game mode. The fact that there are so many game modes is great, don’t get me wrong. But the fact that you’ll be playing them in a game package so lacking in content will only serve to make you feel like you’ve purchased a really expensive demo.
Speaking of lackluster content, elitist gamers will find playing Star Wars Battlefront is like attending a buffet to the homeless. They’ll gobble it all up, happy as Larry. Once they’re fat and sated on all they’ve taken advantage of, they’ll leave. Buckled and slightly disappointed that the buffet wasn’t better or that their stomachs weren’t larger. What I mean by this is that, yes, the game is freaking awesome. But once you’ve played for say, ten hours, you’ve done everything, seen everything and probably unlocked everything. That’s right. There’s not really much to unlock. So I’m just going to go right out there and say it – this game is targeted at casual gamers. Yup.
Mind Tricks Do Not Work On Me. Only Money!
I think the man in charge of Star Wars Battlefront probably would have gotten on well with Watto. Or the man in charge of EA or whoever it was that thought it was a good idea to create a Season Pass of £50! A gamer stands in front of this man, calmly waving his hand ‘a loyal and existing fanbase will do fine’. To which he replies ‘NO…THEY WON’T’.
I went onto the little Season Pass section of the menu. It felt a bit like being a minimum wage earner in a Gucci showcase. I went through these little black segments of DLC that didn’t exist yet. I squinted for some kind of caption or blurb to tell me what to expect. Nothing. There’s no information whatsoever on what’s coming in this £50 season pass. Except for a little nugget of what EA considers a New Hope at the bottom. ‘Two free maps on the way’. Oh thank you for my extra porridge, says Oliver.
Are EA Being Smart? Or…Not So Much?
Was this a smart move on EA’s part? Unfortunately, it probably was. I, like many others, am a massive Star Wars fan and EA knows this. I suppose they’re lucky in owning this game franchise. They could easily create a game that was blatantly rubbish and still make millions on the Star Wars name alone. So I guess there are going to be a lot of suckers out there reaching for their wallets. What I don’t appreciate as a gamer, is how developers like EA are essentially releasing half a game. THEN charging all over again for the other half. That makes them double the profit on one release before the final content is even released! It is total madness and is the highest caliber of disrespect to its consumer base.
Do you go out and buy a book that only gets you half way through the story only to find the back page says ‘Purchase the rest of the story online to find out what happens next’? NO. You get the whole damn book because you paid for it!! They will keep doing this to us if we keep throwing money at them. Boycott. Let them see a loss and make them re-think their strategy. Vote with your wallet, guys. Sigh <pinches bridge of nose>. I fear I’m getting a bit carried away so I will get back to the topic at hand.
Together, We Will Rule The Couch
So let’s say you want to sit down with a pal and play Star Wars Battlefront together in your living room. What are the options there? Well, mercifully EA has deigned that we do at least have split screen. So many games today deprive us of that. I know its nothing to do with Playstation but Halo 5 – part of a hallmark franchise of playing together in the living room, has no split screen. This is what its come to. At least we can blow AT-STs to bits on our PS4 consoles together. I’ve ranted enough already so I’ll cut to the chase here.
Online multiplayer does not allow split screen. You need to have a friend in a different living room with a different PS4 to do that. What we can do together in the same room is Survival and Battle missions. The Survival missions will have you defending pods to get pickups,. These make your team that little bit stronger to push back the invading Empire forces. Although, these drops are pointless on the lower difficulties, they are essential on higher difficulties.
In fact, if you want any challenge or application of tactics at all, just go on a higher difficulty. C’mon, you’ve played FPS games before, just do it. The other mode, Battles, is frankly NPC Team Deathmatch with you and a friend taking part. That’s your lot for co-op in the living room.
That’s No Moon. It’s The New Frostbite Engine
If anything, this game is a little taster of what to expect visually in the next Mirror’s Edge game. The Frostbite engine always looked extra tasty, be it on Mirror’s Edge or Battlefield. Now that it has come confidently strutting into the next gen, this is where I will give the game some praise. Star Wars Battlefront looks absolutely magnificent. Textures are incredibly sharp. Droplets of rain spatter the screen and mud splashes everywhere beneath the AT-AT’s feet.
Dogfight battles are especially praiseworthy. You fly into battle, seeing a plethora of red and green lasers dashing about all over the place amidst ships on fire, spiraling out of control into a fiery explosion. The same can be said of on foot battles as grenades go off, splattering the ground around them. These kinds of visuals, combined with organic, player controlled battles mean that EA did fulfill one promise they made on the back of the box. This really is enacting Star Wars fantasies on your console.
Scruffy Lookin’ Nerfherder or Jedi Master?
When all’s said and done, I think your love affair with Star Wars Battlefront will be an amazing thrill but only for as long as it lasts. If you absolutely love Star Wars, like I do, you’ll be playing this for a long time to come. I really do hope those two free maps freshen things up a bit. I should also warn those who played the Beta that Walker Assault is no longer 40 v 40. It is actually now 20 v 20. In a way, EA lied to us with the Beta and tried their best to rub epic in our faces to make us play the game. I guess it worked on me. This game, therefore, is the unfortunate pinnacle of where the gaming industry is at these days.