Star Wars Battlefront Review
A long time ago, in a galaxy… well our galaxy, actually our planet, there was a trilogy of movies that hit the world with a great force. I promise I will try to keep the puns to a minimum from here on, but come on we are talking about a great love of mine, and many others, Star Wars. Since Star Wars: A New Hope graced our screens, science fiction fans have had a strong connection to the series, fans of Star Wars are cut throat. Many games have been set in the universe and many have felt the backlash of criticism when the fans have felt that these entries have bought disturbance to the force. The Battlefront series however was a shining light among many releases spawned from the dark side. Finally, after a ten-year hiatus there is a new Battlefront entry, or shall we call it a reboot?
There was much joy when EA announced that DICE, the famed creators of the solid Battlefield series were designing a new Battlefront release. There was also a lot of worry, fans of Battlefront, full of nostalgic memories had a fear of this new Battlefront being made simply as a Battlefield game with a Star Wars skin. Myself I didn’t care, the fact that DICE were concentrating on bringing the Star Wars universe, seen in the original trilogy, to gaming at a time that things rarely look anything but shiny was enough for me. So what is the end result? Is it Battlefield in a Wookie costume, or is it a true sequel to Battlefront? The answer is neither really.
Star Wars Battlefront offers a healthy array of game modes to partake in. Missing is any sense of a story mode, but let’s be honest we know this story well and decent multi-player shooters of today rarely offer on worth playing through. It does however, solo or co-op play modes for those who want a more personal feeling. There are training missions to play which involve flying an X-Wing through Beggars Canyon, riding a speeder bike on the forest moon of Endor, taking control of Darth Vader, and AT-ST and taking down AT-AT’s with a T-47. The variety is great and I found myself playing through each a few times, trying to top the friend’s leader-boards which are shown for competitive, quick competition.
There are also Battles and Survival modes to engage in. Battles sees you take the role of either a foot soldier or hero in a Rebels Vs Empire fight in which the team that reaches a score of one hundred wins. Points are awarded by picking up tokens that are dropped by downed enemies that award your team points. Vice versa, picking up tokens dropped by comrades saves points, it is very similar to the kill confirmed game mode in Call of Duty but takes place against AI. Each planet from the game is represented here with Hoth, Sullust, Endor and Tattooine all playable. Each are also playable on survival mode, a horde mode in which you must complete fifteen waves of various enemies for success, it gets quite difficult after the first five or six and on the harder settings can feel near impossible. Both of these modes offer co-op play and playing side by side in survival on master difficulty is a great, tense experience. However, neither mode offers too much time investment, the multi-player portion of the game is where you will spend most of your time.
There are nine different game modes on offer across the four different planets. Most of these feel like spin offs of tried and proven game modes seen within the genre. Cargo is a capture the flag mode which takes place on small maps with two cargo (flag) points, capture the enemies and return to your point, defend your cargo from capture. Not the most imaginative mode but it does offer some quick dash fun. Blast is simply death match mod and Suppression is conquest. However, the other modes offer some variety.
Dropzone sees you trying to capture and defend escape pods that crash at random places on the games map, with each needing to be controlled for an allotted time before the next arrives. It is quite fun and the battle lead can see saw till the finish. Droid Run has three droids on a map that need to be captured and defended, the difference is that the droids are walking capture points that move around the map, all be it slowly. So although the game offers quite a few modes as you can see many revolve around capture and defend. Luckily the next few were quite unique.
Hero Hunt sees one player take control of one of the games heroes or villains. From the Rebels there are Luke, Han and Leia. The villains, my personal favorites in the game are made of Boba Fett, Vader and the Emperor himself. Each of these characters have their own advantages and disadvantages and many of the maps seem tailor made for each. In the mode the hero is the target as other players hunt them down. The winner is the player with the most kills, so essentially the one who plays the longest as the hero as that is where you get the majority of the kills. Becoming the hero is achieved by landing the kill shot against the last hero. This mechanic feels unfair, if you do most of the work, sustaining huge damage to the hero and someone gets the lucky last shot all of your work counts toward nothing. Likewise, if you die when the hero has low health the spawn points make the chance of a kill shot impossible. I think a turn based set up would bring some balance, and unfortunately the mode is more frustrating than fun, so much so it is the least enjoyable mode I have played in any multi-player game.
If Heroes or Villains are your fetish, then Heroes Vs Villains may be more to your liking. Two teams of eight play-off with three from each team assuming the roles of the heroes and villains. The objective is to wipe out the other team’s hero players. If you die as a hero, you respawn as a foot soldier. The mode is great fun and many times as a foot soldier I have simply stood in awe watching battles between Jedi and Sith, Solo and Fett, with a cheesy grin on my face.
Walker Assault is a truly unique mode. The Rebels are defending a power station from two AT-ATs. The AT-ATs can be attacked by activating uplinks that gives co-ordinates to AI Y-Wing bombers that take out their shields making them vulnerable to attack. The Empires job is to make sure the uplinks are not active and if the Y-Wings attack, to defend the AT-ATs from attack. It is the largest and most popular mode and is great fun to play in.
However, my personal favorite is Fighter Squadron. This flight sim mode sees you pilot either an X-Wing, A-Wing, Tie Fighter or Interceptor in a massive dog fight over the surface of the planets. There is also the possibility of taking control of either the Millennium Falcon or Slave 1. There are twenty players and seemingly hundreds of AI craft which makes for an epic battle of air supremacy. There are also objectives in the way of ai carriers to destroy along the way. This for me was the most nostalgic experience with Battlefront, being able to pilot these ships is fantastic and the battles are never dull.
Overall however Battlefront is simply that, a nostalgic experience. What an experience though, there are so many Star Wars moments here, and all are displayed in great detail in one of the prettiest looking games available. Likewise, the sound is phenomenal, helping bring the Star Wars galaxy to life in spectacular fashion. The greatest worry is the lack of variety on offer. Yes, there are plenty of game modes, however once played and broken down there are realistically only four that offer variety. Also, after seeing all of the games Star Wars moments there is little awe to behold. Under the crust of it all this is just another shooter. A shooter with nostalgic flair and set in one of the most beloved setting ever.
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