The Force is strong in this one. Sneaking in prior to the release of Episode 7 ‘The Force Awakens’ Star Wars Battlefront made it’s timely return to the world of gaming.
While the original Battlefront and it’s sequel battlefront 2 where hot on arcade action, their where a few question marks prior to release on both the longevity of the title, and the potential direction that new developers Dice might have taken the franchise.
First things first, there’s Battles which are ideal for training, or to get used to the maps, characters and complete a few challenges, but the core of the game-play is online, and don’t be under any influence that Battlefront is worth considering if you’re not an online player as there’s nowhere near enough offline content.
However head online and you’ll find yourself with a selection of 9 game modes,
Blast is your basic team death match on foot, with Air Supremacy following a similar route for the skies, strapping you into a X-wing, Tie fighter or other popular craft from the Star Wars universe. Hero Hunt follows a TDM system with one player selected as a much more powerful Hero, while Supremacy, and Walker Assault follow a more objective set, while including Vehicles and Heroes which can be used after picking up a power-up that will drop randomly across the map.
Initially there’s 6 Heroes to choose from, 3 each dependent on your alliance, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia with Darth Vadar, Bobba Fett and Emperor Palpatine from the Empire. Each plays quite differently to the next, however given the choice most will go for Skywalker, Vadar or Bobba Fett. Initially there’s a few balancing issues, trapped in a corridor and Vadar or Skywalker will rip a group of enemies into shreds, whereas in the open, Bobba Fett’s jetpack and blaster makes slim pickings especially on objective based modes.
For the Heroes & Villains the best game mode is sufficiently called, Heroes and Villains, this match plays a number of rounds with a team having all 3 heroes, and whoever dispatches their opponents heavy hitters win the round.
there’s also a handful of other modes, Cargo is a Capture the flag mode, Droid Run similar to Domination tasking each team of 6 with capturing and holding 3 droids, and Drop Zone which plays like a mobile King of the Hill where you rush to control Escape pods.
Within each mode, there’s a few choices to make with your approach, firstly your appearance will fall in line with the standard Rebel soldier or Storm Trooper, you can change the face/hair and unlock a couple of outfits if your still playing past level 40.
Your main choice will come down to three things, Weapon, power-up and Star Cards. As diverse as the Star-Wars universe is, there’s never been a massive emphasis on individual weapons, and likewise within Battlefront, descriptions got part way to explaining whether they’re more a pistol or rifle, but even then there’s Pistols that fire more like an Assault Rifle and Rifles that seem more like an SMG, overall you’ll no doubt find a favorite, but due to the constant balancing by Dice, even Han Solo’s pistol fell into the group of similar options meaning the choice of weapons is simply down to personal preference rather than which is better.
next on the list is Star Cards and Power-ups, Firstly star-cards range from Grenades, a quick-burst jet-pack and personal shields there’s plenty to choose from when you’ve ranked up enough to unlock a few, you can select two which tie to your bumper buttons, and allow a nice way of letting people choose their support options without giving too much additional power, there’s also the main focus card which is a single powerful ability such as viewing enemies through walls or potentially gaining a power-up with each kill, these require a focus point to use, and these can be collected around the map or by buying a bundle with your earned credits.
Power-up’s are a slightly different kettle of fish, these are found across the map and give a kill-streak like addition ranging from smart-rockets, auto-firing turrets & droids and my favorite two the air-strike inspired orbital drop and the super-powered Thermal Imploder grenade.
After all is said and done, your weapon, choice of appearance and star-cards serve a minimal purpose, you’ll win, you’ll lose, and sometimes you’ll get annoyed, but one things that Battlefront get’s spot on is the atmosphere, and the feeling of stepping out as a Storm Trooper, with a AT-ST striding beside you and Tie-Fighters flying overhead, With the exception of a handful of actors, not many know what it’s actually like to be in a Star Wars film, but I’m pretty sure Battlefront is damn close.
This is achieved with an impressive graphical performance regardless of your chosen console, sharp, detailed characters and environments, sure you could knit-pick a few jagged edges or bland textures, but overall the Graphical performance is top-notch. Likewise with Audio, the thud of the AT-AT stamping to the floor, the wiz of the blaster fire or the squeal of the Tie-Fighters everything sounds exactly as you’d expect and all helps to immerse you in the Star Wars universe.
Sadly it’s not all amazing, and that comes down to longevity, while there’s a nice selection of maps, the lack of real single player mode is a poor move, EA even allow a 10 hour trial on EA access and I’ve heard time and time again that people feel they’ve had their fill within that time frame, of course there’s the option of DLC and the £40 season pass, but that’s a lot to pay for a extra maps and modes, when having more included at the start would have surely sold more.