Set in a during the derelict times of the galactic civil war but on a console not so far away is Star Wars: Battlefront (2015). Jam packed with exciting, explosive action, this is something that we won’t soon forget, but is that really a good thing?
As a player who thoroughly enjoyed the previous games and I mean thoroughly, to the point where the amount of hours spent would probably put today’s Fallout players to shame. I was a little disappointed with some aspects of the final product.
Lack of playable planets and offline gameplay modes for the price of some cheap “COD-like” features that are exclusively online and are fuelled by increasingly competitive but less enthusiastic players that will only further fund its DLC. I feel that this game is forcing me to play online. Whilst I enjoyed the “Fighter Squadron” game mode, I cannot help but feel this could easily have been added to offline play, given that a good majority of the vehicles flying around are A.I.
“You do have your moments. Not many, but you have them.”
The online gameplay is breathtaking. As a player who doesn’t regularly play online I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. It isn’t a game that presents the player with a competitive atmosphere. It was casual arcade gaming that came with a good mix of different game types.
“Fighter Squadron” and “Heroes vs. Villains” were amongst my favourites. I found these both exhilarating and challenging at the same time. “Fighter Squadron” throws the player into the cockpit of either The Rebel Alliance or The Empire. This fast-paced, action packed game mode surrounds the player and engulfs them into something an entirely new experience.
The objective is to prevent the oppositions ships from escaping but mostly players are just focused on trying to find the token to fly the Millennium Falcon and Slave I or just generally blowing each other up. Each side has two available craft to commandeer which have different abilities that range from a protective shield to a speed boost.
“Heroes vs. Villains” is a game mode adapted from Battlefront II (2005) but is slightly different. Unfortunately not every player gets to force-jump around the map, hacking and slashing or shooting and blasting. Instead, teams as small as 6 go head-to-head with only 3 players being randomly selected to play as heroes or villains.
Something that old fans will appreciate is the “Supremacy” game mode which is the closest that Battlefront gets to the original games. 40 players split into two teams attempt to capture control points from one another. Fly a TIE-Fighter, TIE Interceptor, Snowspeeder, X Wing, A Wing or crush the enemy in an AT-ST. Of course you could always find the hero token and force the opposition into submission…
…I’ll get my coat.
“Your overconfidence is your weakness”
As Luke Skywalker once said to Emperor Palpatine, perhaps Dice and EA should take heed of his wise words.
Fans of the older games will find the offline play disappointing to say the least. The “Missions” are split into three categories, “Training” which consists of short but reasonably fun stories that lack any attempt at an engagement with the player. On the plus side, however, you can experience a handful of moments from the original Star Wars saga.
The second is a set of survival modes which actually pose the greatest task. Challenging the player to survive 15 separate waves of powerful vehicles and clusters of footsoldiers. This game mode carried an element of replayability and is by far the best offline mode, especially when playing with a friend.
The final offline mode is misleadingly named “Battle” which is as close as the game allows the player to get to the original gameplay when playing offline. The player can either play as a regular soldier or as a hero as they kill enemies and pick up their tokens to win. This was pretty fun to play when using Boba Fett as a character but the novelty wore off pretty quickly and felt very cheesy and arcade-like. The idea of collecting tokens in order to win strikes me as something that would be on a less serious game platform like the Wii U.
Some aspects of the game can be frustrating due to the perks that other players can utilise. These range from jet packs to personal shields and although they can be useful to get out of a sticky situation, they can be equally as frustrating.
These perks, like many other competitive online shooters can give the player an advantage that will work in favour of the way they play, but at the cost of losing a game that requires only skill to prevail. Although some of these are pretty awesome, they are an acceptable way of helping less experienced players. As much as I am for equality, sometimes it’s better to learn the hard way and have to work your way up. It’s like playing the game from someone else’s save point.
The sense of customisation fell a little short. Although the player isn’t limited to character types in the online modes (unfortunately the player is limited to these for the offline section of the game), the ‘customisation’ is a selection of helmets and outfits, selecting a blaster and choosing cards for your hand, which is essentially rechargeable perks for your character online.
“Apology accepted, Captain Needa.”
Dice’s attempt to execute a replication of what we new Battlefront as is about as accurate as a Stormtrooper’s aim but despite the game’s faults, it’s still very enjoyable. Players just need to remember that it is a completely separate game from the previous two. Although, Battlefront I and II were arcade-like, they still had aspects of story telling, whereas Battlefront is a straight-out arcade shooter.
As many are saying, it’s something I would grovel at for full price but definitely grab this game when the price drops a little.
A lot counts on the next instalment in the series, I really hope that they feature the Clone Wars and add more offline content or just don’t bother featuring offline play at all. It felt as if DICE didn’t even want one in the first place but instead had offline content for the sake of it.
This is a game designed to be enjoyed with others, particularly for those that enjoy team-based play. Those that take advantage of the game modes and work as a team will get the best experience.
As Yoda famously said: “Do or do not, there is no try” but it looks like Dice tried a little too hard to impress players with extensive online play and forgot what Battlefront is really about.