It may be a little played out at this point, but needs to be said. The force is strong with “Star Wars: Battlefront.” Ever since EA received the “Star Wars” license and it was announced that DICE, the studio widely known for their work on the “Battlefield” series, would be tackling arguably the most popular “Star Wars” video game franchise, fans have been chomping at the bit to get their hands on the game. After around 20 hours with the game, I am happy to report that “Battlefront” delivers on a majority of the hype and is one of the best “Star Wars” games ever made.
Holy Fan Service Batman!
Even in the beginning, it is very clear that DICE knew it had to nail the “Star Wars” aesthetic and feel for fans to truly get behind this new entry. Luckily, the Swedish developer knocks it out of the park.
If you have ever dreamed of being part of the Rebel Alliance or a Stormtrooper for the Empire, this is your shot. The evidence is in the details. The blasters look and sound right out of the original movies and seeing the explosion of sparks cascading off the environment threw me into a state of fanboy glee almost every time. The same can be said of the different vehicles in the game as well.
Every detail is accounded for, from blaster holes to how the ships sound. The vehicles work so well because they move and feel like players would expect from the movies. TIE-Fighters and quick and deadly as they scream across the sky while the AT-AT is slow moving, yet powerful while blowing up the battlefield.
The trend of DICE being detail oriented continues on to the maps. Fans were initially disappointed when it was reveiled that there would only be four planets present at launch, but Hoth, Endor, Tatooine and Sullest have never looked better. It feels as though every one of the 12 maps has been gone through with a fine tooth comb, making sure every detail is right.
The attention to detail here is superb and is a huge selling point. None of this would matter though if the game wasn’t that much fun to play. Luckily, DICE delivers in the gameplay department as well.
One of the main worries fans had with the game was the fact that DICE’s version of “Battlefront” would just be “Battlefield” but with a Star Wars skin. While there are some elements of the military shooter, “Battlefront” mixes elements of both games to create something that stands on its own. Once players enter the fray, battles are frantic and chaotic as Stormtroopers and Rebels duke it out during the different game modes.
While the shooting is fun and feels great, you will have to run a ways to get there. On some of the bigger maps, it feels like you have to run half way across Hoth to find the action. Equipping the jetpack star card helps alleviate this problem a bit, but running a marathon to get to the fun can be a bit of a buzz kill. Players won’t notice this on some of “Battlefront’s” best game modes though.
“Battlefront” offers a mostly fun and engaging suite of multiplayer modes for fans to get lost in. In the top tier, I found myself spending a lot of hours in Drop Zone, Walker Assault, Fighter Squadron and Blast, but for all different reasons. Drop Zone is one of the most intense game modes in recent memory as I found myself on the edge of my seat, always on the attack and scrambling at the last second to capture a pod.
Walker Assault offered some of the best “watercooler” moments for me. I found that while my kill/death ratio went down during the 20 on 20 matches, I was still enjoying my time because of how epic the fights would be. Seeing X-Wings scream into the ground to blow up an AT-ST will never get old. It also helps that it feels like the Rebels have a chance against the behemoth AT-AT’s, compared to how the game played in the beta.
Fighter Squadron is a nice change of pace and allows you to fly through beautiful vistas while blasting the opponent. Flying has been streamlined compared to the more advanced controls of “Battlefield,” which makes for a quick, enjoyable time. Blast is for those who want quick games in the smaller variations of the maps. While there is nothing revolutionary in the mode, it is a fun way to kick back and enjoy the firefights.
Then there is the middle tier of game modes, which consists of Supremacy and Heroes vs. Villains. Supremacy is a fun game mode that has its merit, but does not really speak to the kind of gamer I am. Heroes vs. Villains is fun, but didn’t really hook me like it did back in “Battlefront II.” They are both the kind of game modes I can play a couple rounds of and be satisfied for a week or so.
Then there is the bottom tier of modes that I won’t be going back to for the foreseeable future. Cargo tries to be a capture the flag variant, but doesn’t capture the spirit and isn’t engaging, while Droid Run just seems like a tacked on mode DICE threw in to add another game type. Overall though, the majority of the game types are engaging, challenging and most importantly, a lot of fun.
Finally, with “Star Wars: Battlefront,” players come for the epic battles, but stay for the chance at playing the heroes and villains, which does not disappoint either. Seeing a hero battle in the middle of a match will make you stop fighting and watch as characters such as Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker duke it out in glorious fashion. Playing them is even more fun. My personal favorite is flying around Tatooine as Bobba Fett, with Luke and his lightsaber in at a close second. The third person view can be a bit clunky at times, but overall make for a great time.
The Rule of Two
The aspect of “Battlefront” that really surprised me is Survival. While I didn’t pay it any mind at the start, the co-op play is one of the game’s most engaging modes. The first difficulty setting may be a bit too easy, but once players enter normal and master, they can expect some serious challenges from the AI Stormtroopers. Add collectables in the mix and a capable friend and you have another great addition to an already enticing shooter.
The Final Verdict
While not without its problems, “Star Wars: Battlefront” delivers on most of the potential fans of the series were hoping for. The majority of its gamemodes are exciting and will have you talking about them the next day, while aesthetically, it utterly hits the nail on the head. You feel as though you are in the Original Trilogy. And with the Battle of Jakku and more free modes and maps, along with the planned DLC, “Star Wars: Battlefront” will not be leaving my disk tray anytime soon.
Final Score: 8.5/10