“…unparalleled immersion and battles as epic as any other shooter on the market can offer.”
As gamers, we all have a game that we can put our finger on right away that we have been waiting to come around for years. For me, that was Star Wars Battlefront’s third instalment. The two original games were probably my most played of all time, and I still love them to this day. When the new Battlefront game was announced by EA and DICE at E3 a couple of years back then, I verbally shouted and started running around the house. As footage began to appear and the beta came along, my excitement and anticipation only grew. Some worrying details and rumours emerged over the path from then to now, but finally the game is here. Naturally, I have been playing rather a lot of it, so as a huge fan of both the Star Wars Universe and the original Battlefront games, here is my honest review of it.
One of the big concerns for many gamers in the build up to Battlefront was that it would emerge to be little more than a Star Wars-skinned Battlefield clone with DICE at the helm. In truth, this is not what has been created. Equally, the game does not play much like its predecessors either. What we have been given instead is a total reimagining of the franchise, and so it is best to consider the game in its own right rather than comparing it to those that came before. There are however a couple of old elements which are not present that are indeed sadly missed. No Galactic Conquest mode or space battles and a lack of variety in planets all prevent this game from being the perfect relaunch of the Battlefront franchise. These factors cannot be entirely ignored.
Diving into the gameplay of Battlefront there is a lot to talk about. There are a variety of different types of gameplay experience involved in the game, but predominantly you will be playing as either a Rebel Alliance or Imperial foot soldier. Customisable loadouts give a more personalised and refined gameplay experience to individual players, offering a greater variety in characters to choose from. The levelling system behind this customisation can be criticised however, requiring you to both earn and purchase (with in-game currency) upgrades for your solider, rather than just one or the other. This system also puts newer players at a distinct disadvantage.
Once you have created your perfect arsenal from a combination of guns, power-ups, grenades and whichever character model you find most aesthetically pleasing, you can enter the battle. Battlefront allows you to play in your preference of third and first person, and the former even allows you to choose which shoulder of your soldier to look over. Many of the dynamics such as aiming, moving and the general physics of the game find a perfect balance between classic Battlefront and DICE’s advanced experience from Battlefield. The combat, from the weapons to the way it looks, sounds, feels and plays out, is all profoundly reminiscent of Star Wars and is a highly immersive experience to enjoy across almost all of the game modes on offer.
If you aren’t fighting it out on the frontline there is a good chance you will instead be in the skies, piloting a starship in an aerial battle. Again, much of this experience is offered in both first and third person, which makes for an incredible rush when piloting epic vehicles from X-Wings and Tie Fighters to the Millennium Falcon and Slave I. Aerial combat is easy to get the hang of, and feels as realistic as any good flight simulator. Dogfighting in Battlefront is a pleasure. Of course, this is not the only epic experience on offer, as you might also find yourself leading your allies as a hero. Only a few are available at launch, with three good and three bad heroes being playable, but each has their own unique abilities to master. For a Star Wars fan this is the ultimate opportunity to be one of you much loved characters, including the popular inclusion of Boba Fett on the Imperial roster. Lightsaber combat feels a little too tight however and is not very fluid or dynamic, but the use of force powers by applicable characters has been designed well. You can only play as the heroes in third person though, making the gun-wielding options a little difficult to master for the FPS gamer. Otherwise however the experience is just as good as that of playing the soldier.
There are one or two less good features in Battlefront, which are not inherently bad nor game breaking but do take away from the experience as a whole. One of these is the fact that on maps where vehicles are available you enter these by finding tokens, rather than them being dotted around the map. This is a strange choice which takes away from the flow and immersion of the game, and it is unusual that DICE handled this element in this way. There are also very few maps available, with four launch maps and a fifth coming in just before The Force Awakens hits cinemas. This doesn’t live up to the variety of the previous Battlefront games, taking away the feeling of a huge galaxy being out there to explore and making the game’s content feeling limited. Being an EA published title, many fans have already jumped to the conclusion that this has been done on purpose to sell the expensive season pass.
What the game lacks in its variety of maps it makes up for in quality, with the visuals and sounds of the game being nothing less than perfection. Battlefront looks, feels and sounds like Star Wars (with the exception of some hero voice acting which is poor), and the classic John Williams soundtrack supports and enhances this. The lack of variety is also remedied by the number of game modes on offer. Many of these follow traditional shooter models, being comparable to the standard capture the flag, king of the hill and deathmatch modes which are common in the genre. Others are uniquely Star Wars-y however, most notably the Walker Assault mode. As the Empire, you must advance your Walkers towards a target, whilst the Rebel’s task is to destroy them before they can reach it. This is the most heavily pushed mode of the game in terms of marketing and attention, but every mode has its unique challenges to offer and not one game mode in Battlefront is badly made or dull.
A final feature worthy of mention is the inclusion of local multiplayer in the game. This was extremely high up fans’ wish lists for the game, and with its exclusion from many recent games in which it was once a staple, such as Halo 5 Guardians, the feature is very welcome and important here indeed. Locally you can play standard or hero battles, training missions or Survival mode. The latter is most interesting, playing out like Halo’s old Firefight variant, challenging you to push back against Imperial forces over 15 increasingly challenging waves of troops. With local multiplayer being such a rare diamond in the rough these days, its inclusion in Battlefront will surely make the game a few extra sales for console gamers.
Star Wars Battlefront was a game that I and many others wanted to be amazing. Whilst it did not tick every box that fans would have wanted it to, the evolution from the classic games to this one has not left the franchise in ruins as it might have. In fact, the experience is a very strong one, offering unparalleled immersion and battles as epic as any other shooter on the market can offer. What the game truly falls short in is variety, and the expensive season pass which is on offer for the game makes this feel as though fans have been held to ransom over content that should already be included. The other key problem with the game is the initial disadvantage the new players will feel due to the levelling system that is in place. Otherwise, Battlefront is a strong offering which hopefully marks a positive rebirth for one of my all-time favourite franchises.
- The game is viable in its own right, neither conforming to the Battlefield or former Battlefront styles but instead opting for a fresh take on gameplay.
- Customisable loadouts allow for a more personalised gameplay experience.
- You can choose your preference between third and first person perspectives.
- Combat looks, sounds and feels profoundly like the Star Wars universe.
- Soldier, Hero and Starship gameplay are each highly immersive experiences.
- The visual quality of each planet and map in the game is extremely strong.
- There is a strong variety in uniquely Star Wars-based game modes to play.
- Local multiplayer is a fantastic feature included in the game.The Bad:
- No Galactic Conquest mode or space battles.
- A lack of variety in different planets is disappointing.
- Levelling system leaves new players at a distinct disadvantage.
- The need to both earn and purchase new equipment is a senseless combination.
- Lightsaber combat is not particularly fluid or dynamic.
- Vehicles are utilised via tokens rather than being found around the map.
- The expensive season pass holds content that feels like it has been stolen from the main game, almost holding players to ransom.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.