Attention, soldiers of the Rebel Alliance. The Empire is coming, so man your battle stations! On Nov. 17, 2015, “Star Wars: Battlefront” was released on PC, PS4, and XBOX One. The resulting game, a reboot of the “Battlefront” franchise now published by Electronic Arts and developed by DICE, does many things excellently, and yet there is something missing in almost each section.
Visually, this game is flawless. There is a visceral sensation in looking at this game. From the frozen fields of Hoth, to the dense forests on Endor, “Battlefront” provides a feeling of actually being inside the game. The environments are mildly interactive as well. Blaster shots will kick up some sand on Tatooine, and the rain on Endor will bead on the screen, just as it does to a car’s windshield. The detail of the soldiers is marvelous as well. Blaster burns appear on armor, and the blasters themselves look as if they could be real, not computer generated.
Unfortunately, gameplay is very diverse, yet distressingly monotonous. Players can choose to play either offline or online. Offline features two game types: battles and survival. Battles are score based matches, where the objective is to kill as many enemies as possible and collect the tokens that fall from their bodies. The first player to 100 points is victorious.
Survival Mode is a wave based game in which a single rebel fighter must fight off 15 rounds of enemies to win. Both modes have punishing learning curves, where the easiest mode is manageable, but if the player ramps up the difficulty, it becomes nearly impossible without help. Help can be obtained by linking up with a friend and playing these modes as a co-op, which may be the most fun way to play “Battlefront.”
Online Mode features nine game modes. These modes vary from capturing control points, to racking up the highest kill score. These modes offer different options, such as piloting Starfighters, to playing as one of the iconic characters from the “Star Wars” movies. It is quite thrilling being Darth Vader and throwing a lightsaber at an enemy, or running around as Luke Skywalker and using the force to push opponents away.
Fighter Squadron and Blast are both team deathmatches, involving 20 players, in 10 vs. 10 team battles. Supremacy, Droid Run and Drop Zone involve capturing different control points, or objects, and protecting them until the game is over. Cargo is a new take on capture the flag games, where competing teams fight to steal the enemy supplies, while also protecting their own. Walker Assault is a massive, 40 player competition where the Rebellion defends against the massive Imperial AT-AT Walker that is aiming to destroy their base. Heroes vs. Villains pits Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia against Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Emperor Palpetine in a fight to eliminate the opposing heroes. Finally, Hero Hunt is a free-for-all contest, where seven players attempt to take out one other player who is one of the six heroes.
Unfortunately, that is as much variety as there is. The modes feel as if there should have been so much more in them, and it is puzzling why DICE spread itself so thin. Had they cut the modes down to four game types, they could still have everything that is already in the game.
The Starfighter mode, for example, features a battle for air superiority. The Empire has two ships at its disposal, the TIE fighter and the TIE interceptor. The Rebellion counters with the X-wing and the A-wing fighters. This is a tragic lack of depth. There could, and likely should, have been so many more fighters at this game’s disposal. TIE bombers and TIE defenders would add more to the Empire, and the lack of B-wings and Y-wings for the Rebellion are even more puzzling, especially since Y-wings make an appearance in the game.
Gameplay in each mode is fine, as it is a basic first person shooter. The ships are smooth to control, and everything flows, so there is nothing major that is problematic. The hardest part is the learning curve. Online play leaves beginners quickly overmatched, and unless they learn quickly, this can be discouraging.
This is a game that does not live up to the “Battlefront” title. Yes, the game is a very fun first person shooter. It is a technical marvel in terms of graphics. Smooth controls and good hit detection means that when a player is shot, there is no mistaking it.
That said, there is more to “Battlefront” than being a first person shooter. The original games were very open, with multiple strategies a player can use win. This “Battlefront” is very linear, and there are only so many times “kill them all” can be a fun way to play. That is the biggest disappointment of the game.
Had DICE and EA decided to name this game anything other than Battlefront, this review would probably be better. Unfortunately, this game, in trying to pay homage to the past, fails to hit the mark. This game gets 3.5 stars out of 5.