Removing a lot of teenage drama and useless banter over unrelated nonsense, Star Wars: Battlefront provides gamers with the most successful shot at the original trilogy as a game yet. However, with FPS, it also seems more like a shot in the dark with a lot of hype around it. With that being said, when you are in the middle of a 40-player battle, the screams of X-wings surrounding you, and laser fire killing all hope, you may feel as if you are living in a film. With chaotic battles and spectacular explosions on the Star Wars’ legendary graphical background, it is easy to get lost at the battlefront. That can be marked down as a win.
DICE’s Frostbite engine powers this fantastic, fan-pleasing presentation. With four planets to fight upon and many different maps for each planet, you are able to experience the atmospheres of the locations featured in the movies, such as Tatooine, Endor, Hoth, and Sullust. What makes this aspect of the game so special is not just the featured locations, but also the small details that will have the die-hard Star Wars fans cheering. Things like Ewoks that scurry to their treehouses, Tusken Raiders observing battles from afar, and even imperial bases with mouse droids squeaking their way around.
The main focus of this game is multiplayer infantry warfare, from 3-6-man matches, to up to 40-person battles. This captures the very essence of Star Wars, offering different fighting modes and maps. On top of the assorted battles, you are also able to control and battle vehicles straight out of the movies: AT-ATs, A-Wings, AT-STs, TIE fighters, and X-Wings. These vehicles are accessed by picking up different power-ups, then activating the vehicles provided you don’t get shot in the process. If you find yourself fortunate enough to procure a ‘hero’ power-up, you can even utilize the Millennium Falcon or Slave I.
Exciting as it may sound, it isn’t. When expecting to fly into a dogfight straight from the scenes of Star Wars, you are instead subjected to a tedious point-and-click habitual routine that makes this aspect feel as if it is a chore rather than a game. You might as well be playing Duck Hunt.
To experience the game at its best, slide into the combat boots of a rebel soldier or a stormtrooper. Yet even here you will find that there are some visible holes. Though the images and sounds of the blasters come straight from the films, they all seem pretty much the same, with a few differences that make some a little more desirable than others. Also, for a game with a focus on shooting people, the FPS combat leaves a sour taste. Aside from the big 40-player modes, the gameplay experience is very generic. You find yourself tediously grinding and dying for upgrades just to grind and die some more.
Providing some unique sided ideas, each faction offers the ability to play as famous characters: Boba Fett, Darth Vader, the Emperor, Leia, Luke, and Han. They all have their own special abilities and increased health. However, no matter how feared Darth Vader is at first when stepping onto the battlefield, a well-organized attack will drop him as quick as a regular stormtrooper.
In a couple of game modes, you are able to spot occasionally Vader or Luke charging with lightsabers in hand, or see Fett hovering above and shooting rockets. But in the mode of Heroes vs Villains, you are able to watch all six characters engage in one epic daft battle. The voice acting is atrocious, and some of the fighting graphics and attacks are hopelessly generic.
After 20 hours of gameplay, you can pretty much say you have seen everything multiple times. You find yourself bored with only a handful of maps. From the outside, it appears as if the developers created an expansive game full of fun experiences. You buy a portion of the experience for £50, while the rest is offered as a DLC with a season pass costing another £50. Naturally, to follow up such an esteemed franchise as Star Wars is not an easy task. As a competitive shooter, yes, this game is lacking. But for a simple game that is easy to play at any age, it is actually quite respectable.
There is a very vaguely spun story in this game, with no single-player campaign available, which creates the feeling that something is missing. Honestly, the most rewarding feature of the game is not its gameplay or mode options, it is the fandom that surrounds it. Weaving in and out of trees on speeder bikes, watching the imperial troops march on Hoth, and facing the twin sons of Tatooine will win the hearts of the most demanding Star Wars fans. The DLC does make the experience more in-depth, but you will have to ask yourself whether or not you are willing to spend £100 on a game that is all graphics and little play.