Star Wars Battlefront


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Complete Review & Description

A while ago my friends came to call me “Vader”. It could be any number of things; my intimidating demeanour, robotic walk, the cape I might as well be wearing. It might also be because my Facebook name says it. It ain’t just me either. I’m pretty sure the whole universe has a crush on Star Wars. I can even remember when I asked my parents to paint my room green ‘cause I wanted it the same colour as Luke’s lightsaber from Return of the Jedi. That was about two weeks ago.
With my attractive fandom firmly established; turning such imagination into money is something Star Wars games have long been utilising. TIE Fighter, Knights of the Old Republic, Battlefront; these have all succeeded respectably. With another movie comes another game, and another attempt at recreating that “original trilogy feeling”.

The best part is Battlefront does this better than any Star Wars game before; the worst part being it dumps its content at the first sight of an Imperial starship.
Some may equate this game to a “Star Wars Battlefield” of sorts. That description wouldn’t be unwarranted, with its large multiplayer matches of vehicular pandemonium, except in many ways, Battlefront makes some antique choices, considering its industry status. X-Wings and AT-STs aren’t idling about to be occupied, they’re obtained the same way everything else is, through power-ups.
Whether it be a buffer, snowspeeder, or Darth Vader himself, you’ll have to find them scattered about the map. It’s a balancing act to avoid one player domineering with frustrating favouritism. A none-to-common choice considering the action zeitgeist has for awhile now been on greater player rewards. It’s a reminder that old school was such for a reason; it worked in some capacity. Leave it behind for ‘killstreaks’ and you lose something in the process. Plus this is Star Wars, if there’s any time to be retro it’s now.

There’s no ammo to speak of either. This is an unbeknownst time in the futuristic past after all; nobody reloads. Survival mode also allots you lives. I can’t remember the last time I had lives in a game.
The word “balance” gets thrown around a lot as the coveted and delicate bliss of multiplayer. Walker assault was anything but during Battlefront’s beta. Defiantly surmounting two AT-ATs was a challenging endeavour. Now that balance is almost opposed.
Battlefront bets everything on fantasy-fulfilment
During my many matches with Battlefront’s star-mode, few times did the Imperials and their quadrupedal onslaught achieve their goal. Namely because DICE added a weakspot on the underbelly of each AT-AT. It’s also easier for the Rebels to take and hold the uplinks required for this, as their spawn points are allow for ease of access.
Good as balance can be, it’s not a design virtue to blanket across every game. The beta provided a challenge equal to the task of taking down two walking battleships. Now it’s without the same achievement. Winning the Battle of Hoth was never meant to be easy for the rebels. DICE have said balance is what they always wanted, but now it’s another egalitarian mode like the rest, when it could have given Battlefront something different.

Hoth is one of five locations that are home to the game’s 12 maps, the others being Endor, Tatooine, Sullust, and an Imperial base. Iconic as Star Wars’ planets are, this is the issue when there’s one topographical feature between them. You’ll see plenty of sand, forest, and lava. Unlike other games, not every mode can be played on every map. Due to its nature, Walker Assault is only available on the four larger ones. You’ll be entertained, though for how long is another matter.
Survival and versus modes are only the entree for what should have been a bantha banquet. These are your first signs of Battlefront’s missing longevity and complexity. A gnawing you’ll notice after several rounds and several more looks to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
What it does get right is something multiplayer games have long battled with: accessibility. Much as a I cringe for using the word myself and all associations that follow, multiplayer actually intimidates some people. Putting your performance on the stage for possible critique from others, and even yourself, is not so easy for everyone. Learning new systems during competition can be a tough way to go.

Gratefully included, then, are training modes for many of the ships and vehicles. It also makes the best use of any game-install I’ve seen. Not dormantly waiting for your game to calibrate itself, but actively practicing and acquainting yourself for the time when your role as Darth Vader comes. May as well let us do something while we wait.
However this also brings to mind the conspicuous absences lingering over this game: why is there no singleplayer? It’s a little puzzling considering the circumstances. Battlefront 2 simply reused its multiplayer maps within narrative context, along with a turn-based galactic conquest mode. I see little reason why this rendition couldn’t do the same, except to coincide with Episode VII. Star Wars has been annualised anyhow – I’m sure our pockets could have waited for the greater good, had DICE chosen to take some extra time to add a singleplayer mode.

I’ve hinted before that Battlefront achieves the perfect picture of Star Wars. Ordinarily I wouldn’t mention technical aspects like graphics and audio unless otherwise notable. But I kind of have to now, because they are. This game looks and sounds stupidly good, and this is the ace in its hole. Take away the pretty looks, the expressive sound of a turbo laser, paint it with a different shade, and the allure goes too. Battlefront bets everything on fantasy-fulfilment, and it gets this so pristinely right. I only wish there was more.
At risk of repeating other reviews, Battlefront has the form of a Star Wars game that feels like it’s still in the making. Whether from time constraints or by design, every ostensible grandeur and moment of fantasy it does so well to impress can be experienced with a day off. Its glamour and gloss only makes more regretful how little there is. After a ten-year hiatus, Battlefront is only a figment of what it wanted to be.



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