Star Wars Battlefront, perhaps one of the most anticipated games of the last ten years is the successor to the original Battlefront and Battlefront 2. This game as well as its predecessors put the WARS back in Star Wars. Throwing you headlong into all of the biggest ground battles seen in the original trilogy its easy to feel all the nostalgia pouring in. From the cold and bitter tundras of Hoth to the rich and lush Forest Moon of Endor this game will grab you. Remember that first trailer when everyone thought that there was no way the game looked this good? It’s nice to see that a game lives up visually to the hype.
Visually the game is brilliant with character models that are modeled after the actual source material and original props from the Lucas Archives. Every scratch and nick in the armor is present. Dirt and snow as well as blaster hits appear on players over the course of the game. Heck even the menu screens are very well done and one could spend quite a lot of time looking at the models as they are displayed in the loading screens. The environments are impressive and recreated to such visual fidelity sometimes you forget your playing a game and not sucked into the movie. The Forest Moon of Endor is easily the best looker of the maps and I still can’t believe they got that planet to look that good with all the action and keep it running at 60 frames per second. Usually stuff like this is what tech demos are made for. We are truly living in an age where our games are beginning to really meet our expectations and surpass them. Particle effects and explosions as well as blaster bolts have never been better. Dice in this category you deserve a serious award.
The sounds are just as impressive and every audio detail and tidbit from the movies will literally be music to your ears. The epic John Williams scores sweep through the high points in the battle. Moments when the Walkers are vulnerable on Walker Assault are just some of these moments where the music really hits a high note. The weapons and even some of the famous death screams are all here. Tied in with the visuals this will make any Star Wars geek smile with glee. Dice is no stranger in the sound department and other than some of the Hero Voice acting everything here is on point. There is one super highlight in the sound department and that is when the Thermal Imploder goes off. Often refereed to as the Dubstep this makes a very unique and awesome sound that has a huge blast radius. Terribly satisfying.
Gameplay wise this game is simpler to its cousin Battlefield and is geared to a more casual audience with simpler mechanics but there is plenty of depth for veteran First Person Shooter players. There is a healthy choice of screen recognizable weapons as well as Hands and Traits which are equivalent to perks from Call of Duty. Luckily I was able to play the full game with all unlocks a week before launch and while the game plays spectacular during launch I feel that some of the later hands and cards may be abused later in the endgame. Cards like Explosive Shot and Barrage will become no brainers and in ways may ruin some of the gunplay. Lets hope that gets patched.
Other than that the gunplay in its current state seems fair and balanced with each weapon having a unique feel along with strengths and weaknesses.
One weak point is how some of the vehicles handle. They just don’t seem quite as tight as they should be. Flying on PC is practically impossible with out a controller or a joystick but hey if your playing this on pc more than likely you have those.
The power-ups and other battlefield pick ups are what the developers want players to use to mix things up. Bubble shields, Orbital strikes, Rockets and other items give Infantry a fighting chance against AT-STs and other various threats. Nothing sucks though like needing a rocket launcher and getting an infantry turret. Why!!! Why!!. The Orbital strike is self explanatory. This is the coolest pickup and truly a sight to be seen when employed on the battlefield.
Game mode wise Multiplayer is thick with content but some of it could have been cut to say have another whole planet of a few more maps. Walker Assault or Supremacy and Fighter Squadron give you the biggest Star Wars feels by dropping you into 40 player scenarios or epic dogfights. Fighter Squadron while fun has terribly overpowered hero vehicles. Even though during development fighters would mob the hero vehicles they just don’t seem to take much damage. Unlike their ground counterparts a player can easily be the hero the whole game. Even a Tie Fighter crashing into the Falcon does little damage to it. Dropzone, Cargo (CTF), and the other smaller modes are fun but not nearly as cinematic. These gives you the smaller infantry based combat and may work for competitive play or for simple casual fun. Heros vs Villans offers folks a chance to see several of the galaxies greatest characters duke it out. Vader vs Luke? Han vs Boba Fett? The way the Heros and Villans play altogether is quite interesting. Vader and Luke are strong Melee classes while Leia and the Emperor play a more support role. Han and Fett are incredibly good ranged classes but Boba Fett has the best weaponry and hands down the best mobility. The fan favorite Hero is going to be Fett no doubt. I only wish more characters were involved but Battlefront only really focuses on the first trilogy.
Singleplayer and Coop mode are still quite fun but they simply don’t hold a candle to the full on Multiplayer suite. Training missions, Battle, and Survival offer some temporary fun but out of the bundle Survival is the clear winner for folks going solo. The lack of a campaign or full multiplayer matches with bots like the predecessors hurts this category. Even though this is a multiplayer first title. It would still be great to have Walker Assault with AI.
While the game is great it’s not perfect. Some missed opportunities on the maps could have drastically driven the immersive experience even more. Wampas on Hoth? Traps for the AT-ST’s on Endor? Many of the old tidbits that helped breath life into the original Battlefront don’t seem to pop up here but hopefully DICE will take some of these suggestions to heart. I feel that Less game modes and more Planets out the gate would have been a great way to start. One big downfall is that it does feel like there could be so much more but there isn’t You still need to shell out 50 bucks for the season pass to really get the full experience. Luckily folks with deluxe edition will get the Battle of Jaku soon. Still despite any setbacks the game is solid and a visceral experience 10 years in the making. If you are a fan of the original trilogy this game is like a dream come true and very much worth grabbing this holiday season. So grab your E11 blaster and your helmet. Time to slay some rebel scum! We will see you on the Battlefront!