Hype makes people do strange things at times. Case in point, I know that EA’s Star Wars Battlefront comes with a 50 dollar Season Pass at the very beginning. From my experience with the Beta, I also know that Star Wars Battlefront isn’t going to be content heavy. Despite knowing that purchasing this game might come back to haunt me at some point in time, I pre-ordered Battlefront anyway. After playing it for the past week or so, have I come to regret my decision to buy it? Not really, and let me tell you why.
If one sets out to create a game set in the Star Wars universe, the first thing one must do is to make the game feel like it is set in the Star Wars universe. In that aspect of the game, DICE has managed to ace that requirement, both in the visual department and the audio department. Leveraging both the Frostbite 3 engine and their visits to the locales where the original trilogy of films were shot at, DICE has managed to perfectly recreate the settings of Hoth, Tatooine, the forest moon of Endor, as well as creating an entirely new planet in Sullust. Blaster models and props were also recreated with such detail that it is amazing. Remember those pre-release trailers that EA showed off before the game was released? If you have a powerful enough computer to play it at max settings, that’s how the game will look like, and it is awesome. If you don’t have a monster of a gaming rig, the lower graphical settings are still impressive enough to wow you.
Sound design has always been a forte of DICE and they’ve brought their mastery to Battlefront as well. Almost every sound effect in the game has been ripped directly from Lucasfilms’ archive and transplanted into the game as is. From the sound of a lightsabre, to the shrieking TIE Fighter, to the sound of a laser blast impacting an energy shield, all of these are authentic to the movie. They’ve even managed to implement the Wilhelm Scream into the game, which is hilarious if you ask me. That said, the voice acting for the Heroes and Villains sticks out like a sore thumb as they didn’t receive as much attention when compared to general sound direction of the game.
There is no point in denying that the presentation of Star Wars Battlefront is nothing short of stellar. From the looks to the sound of a battle, to the background events that happens above the battlefield, Battlefront is quite possibly the most immersive Star Wars game I’ve yet played, managing to edge out Republic Commando. Unfortunately, for the ridiculous amount of hard work that DICE has put into recreating the Star Wars feel, they dropped the ball when it comes to the gameplay aspect of Battlefront.
Battlefront starts out with 9 gameplay modes, with one additional mode coming when the Battle of Jakku DLC drops. Most of the modes in Battlefront are identical to ones that can be found in almost any other shooter. For example, Blast mode is Team Deathmatch, Drop Zone is King of the Hill, Droid Run is Domination and so on. Heroes vs Villains mode makes a return from Battlefront II, allowing players to control a hero or villain character tasked with eliminating the opposing team. The mode that is somewhat unique to Battlefront is Walker Assault, whereby the Empire is tasked with escorting an AT-AT to its destination while the Rebels are tasked with destroying it.
Having 9 modes is fun and all, but the problem is that these 9 modes revolve around the 4-5 planets. It really doesn’t take long for you to feel that the game doesn’t really have much variety, and truth be told, it really doesn’t. After roughly 10 hours of gameplay, I can safely say that I’ve mostly seen and done everything there is to do in the game. The skill celling for the game is rather low too, as Battlefront is a casual shooter meant to appeal to the general public. This is great for people who just want to have some fun every now and then, but it causes Battlefront to lack the depth that some shooters, such as Battlefield, have.
Balancing isn’t particularly well done in Battlefront either. This problem is particularly obvious in Fighter Squadron where the TIE Fighters and Interceptors feel inferior to the X-Wings and A-Wngs. The Hero ships in that mode, the Millennium Falcon and Slave I, are ridiculous laser sponges that can take obscene amounts of damage, so much so that taking down those ships are a rare occurance. Problems that were present in the Beta are still present in the game right now, such as bad spawn points and the ability to flank the enemy from deep within their spawn points.