Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Reviewed on: PS4
Distributor: Prima Interactive
Developer: EA Dice
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: 20 November 2015
2015 is definitely the year of Star Wars as we’ll see the launch of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Battlefront. I have spent hours with Star Wars: Battlefront and I can officially say that although the game lacks content at launch, and its release structure is based on future DLC, it is a solid Star Wars title that encompasses everything we love from the series, in one truly magnificent game.
Right from the opening of the game you are welcomed by the Star Wars intro song as you watch the logo appear in front of you. To say that the art style is true to the series would be an understatement. Everything from the opening menus, to the 3D models of the guns, scream Star Wars. The soundtrack is composed of classical scores from the series, as well as some new pieces that add the desire to awaken The Force.
It is important to note that Star Wars: Battlefront is mainly an online game. Those looking for a story-driven single player experience, will not find it here. Although there are a handful of missions to play alone or with a friend, they do not offer much narrative and feel like an afterthought than anything else. Saying that, Star Wars: Battlefront does well in what it has set out to do, which is to create a massive Star Wars battlefield that has all the pew pews and intense sci-fi action of the series.
You can select any mode when you start the game. Be it the missions, multiplayer, or training modes. There is a survival mode that pits you against waves of Imperial Forces, battles that lets you face off against a friend or AI as heroes, and training that teaches you everything you will need to know when entering a battlefield. It is important that you do this training as some of the game’s mechanics might be a little hard to grasp when trying them out for the first time. Keep in mind that any experience gained in any of these modes other than multiplayer, does not carry over to your main account.
When entering the main mode of the game, the online mode, you need to become familiar with its mechanics and how a typical match will play out. You are assigned a side, either the Imperial Forces, or the Rebels, and each team has 3 heroes that can be played throughout certain modes. These heroes have 3 special abilities that stand out from your typical character. Each of these abilities are unique to their play set. Although some might argue, the heroes are completely unbalanced. This is especially noticeable when playing as Princess Leia compared to Boba Fett. Princess Leia has terrible stability and next to no advantage when it comes to weaponry, whereas Boba Fett has an arsenal that includes a rocket launcher, jet pack and a high powered gun. It just does not feel fair when you get given a certain hero to play with compared to others. with that being said, when a hero spawn, you know it is time to run for cover and try and avoid them as you alone cannot take down a hero, and often you will die by the hands of one.
Out of the 9 game modes, each of them are reasonably fun to play. Walker Assault and Supremacy are the main modes of the game that truly showcase massive intergalactic warfare at its finest. Explosions and laser rifles going off at every angle, AT-STs walking around you, and the occasional hero appearances all add up to a great 20 minute battle.
Walker Assault sees you and your team either defending or attacking the other team to try and prevent them from getting their Walker Tank to the other side of the battlefield. Supremacy is a all out war against the Imperial Forces and the Rebels across a battlefield. You and your team need to capture and hold five points on the map in order to win. This massive mode is the easiest way to rack up currency and XP.
There are a few other modes that mimic classic shooter modes like Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatchm and Domination, but they are not near as fulfilling as Walker Assault and Supremacy.
If Star Wars: Battlefront does one thing right, is that it looks spectacular. It is by far the best looking Star Wars game to date and the Frostbite 3 engine truly showcases the Star Wars Universe in every way. Each map and location is a marvel to look at and playing a match on certain maps really brings back memories of the movies. From the dry sands of Tatooine, to the frozen caves of Hoth, it is one visually pleasing experience. Everything has great attention to detail from character models, guns, vehicles, to even the people of each planet. It truly comes to life.
Weapons and arms can be unlocked by reaching new ranks and purchasing them with credits. They can’t be modified at all, so what you see is what you get in this case. You can equip Star Cards which are Battlefront’s answer to grenades and side arms, these can be levelled up which give you extra bonuses, but in the end that is all you can really do with your money. The character customizations are boring to say the least, they are minor and feel lacklustre. Only when you get to the bottom of the list do they really get interesting, but you will need to be a high rank and have a ton of credits to unlock the Shadow Trooper or alien heads. This all might sound great, but once you realize how much work it actually is, you will be over it in no time.
When it comes to the game’s overall appeal, I have to say I am disappointed in lack of content. 12 maps, 6 heroes, and just 11 guns is just not enough for a full R900 title. EA are clearly behind this pricing structure as the game’s Season Pass is advertised in the main menu as if they are trying to convince you that it is okay to release a game with half content and sell the rest separately later on. Sure you can spend a few hours reaching new ranks and unlocking new guns and arms, but there is just not enough to keep you enticed. There are more facial unlockable than guns and arms put together, and the previous Battlefront title had 23 heroes compared to the 6 in this title. It just does not all add up to being great value for money.
Star Wars: Battlefront might have a questionable Season Pass scheme under all the Star Wars fandom, but it’s a solid shooter that looks fantastic and plays extremely well. Constant 60fps on PS4 in all its beautiful visual glory is something very rare. There is really nothing else like it, so no matter what you do, if you want a Star Wars shooter experience, this is the best it is going to get.