Fans have waited a long time for Star Wars: Battlefront, and for the most part, EA delivered quality game with impressive graphics, but not without its own issues.
Star Wars: Battlefront
Publishers: LucasArts, Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive Studios
Available on: Xbox One (tested), PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
The first you notice in Battlefront is that graphically, is stunning to look at. It doesn’t matter which platform you play in, besides some minor differences the game looks amazing everywhere. Locations are exactly what you imagined from the movies, with such a high level of detail that it is impossible to say anything but good things. All landscapes are captured with extreme accuracy.
And the impressive work doesn’t stop at the dusty Tatooine or the desolate ice spans of Hoth, you can find the very same quality work in weapons, grenades, and every tiny little asset that you can make use of to unleash hell in the battlefield. The same goes for player models and outfit options.
In a similar vein, the sound department is equally outstanding. Every single pew pew shows a level of polish unmatched by any other gunfire sound in other games. Grenades and explosions, vehicles and special weapons are literally a blast to use, and it is very unfortunate how DICE dropped the ball with the voice acting. It just doesn’t fit. It is painful, it doesn’t make justice to anything I described so far, and is insulting, almost like if the only requirement for the actors were to be alive and not drunk. The voice acting is so bad that it will take you out of the immersion everything else accomplishes. It is that bad. It doesn’t stack up.
Mechanically speaking, DICE shows again that it is more than capable of developing a smooth and tight multiplayer shooter. Any newcomers will find it accessible, and they knew it had to be this way. There is no campaign mode and very little to do for solo gamers. And you read that right: a franchise like Star Wars with such a deep lore, doesn’t have a campaign. Apparently they gave up with Battlefield 4, and instead of improving over that silly TV show-like campaign, they simply discarded it altogether. Solo players are able to do short missions against AI-controlled enemies, but it serves as a simple tutorial for the really simple shooting mechanics and power-ups. There are other single-player offerings, like a generic Horde-type challenge or a bot-driven deathmatch, but they are so uninteresting that you won’t be playing them by yourself even when having internet connectivity issues.
If you can get past that to realize that the main focus is online, the title has some interesting modes like the 40-player, land and air Supremacy mode. It’s pure joy to any Star Wars fan. Here you are tasked with the goal of controlling a series of points on the map. It doesn’t sound like anything new, but it’s focused enough to keep teams on task, while open-ended enough to allow newer players to contribute along the way while enjoying all the chaos. You also have classic modes like Droid Run (escort) and Blast (team deathmatch). They are there for smaller and more unified teams that like to organize themselves better, and where you can actually show off your online skills instead of suffering from unlucky situations.
For those who prefer chaos, a more elaborate mode exists: Walker Assault. This fun mess full of air-to-ground deaths will drain your precious hours. The game divides into two teams: the empire, marching slowly into a rebel base with their massive AT-ATs, and the rebels, trying to capture uplink stations to guide their Y-Wings into attack the walkers, then unleashing on their targets with everything they’ve got when the Y-Wings bring them down. The match plays out in three acts: three sets of uplinks, three chances to damage the walkers, three paths in and out of the sprawling maps and three distinct stages. It’s got a rhythm to it that few shooters can match, and in the Star Wars universe. This is pure fun fan service.
Unfortunately, the game is simply too shallow in its current incarnation. It honestly doesn’t have much more to talk about. The weapon upgrades and loadouts are extremely limited, and the card system was done much better in Titanfall, almost 2 years ago. There are tons of promises out there to expand the game in many, many ways thru DLCs, but is this really the right move? Several free add-ons have also been announced in addition to a paid season pass, but it would be nice to have something else to chew at launch. The lack of depth and content makes things even harder, especially with the other big shooters out there.
The game is gorgeous, authentic, highly detailed, and rife with potential to grow into something much bigger, but it isn’t there yet. The play is far too limited for shooter veterans, and too intimidating for multiplayer Padawans.