|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: EA DICE|
|Pub: Electronic Arts|
|Release: November 17, 2015|
|Players: Single-player, Multiplayer|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i||Violence|
by Patrick Tretina
The original Star Wars trilogy has always been one of those pure forms of Western entertainment that’s seemed to flawlessly carry over from one generation to the next. We all remember the first time we were exposed to the cast of epic Star Wars characters and the indescribable feeling of vicariously living through those heroes and villains on the silver screen. For me, the original Star Wars trilogy is quite possibly the purest and most innocent form of Hollywood entertainment to ever be produced. Developer DICE promised the Star Wars fan base that it would preserve that guarded purity and provide a gaming experience that would not only rival the big screen but also add to the overall nostalgia and love of the brand. Thankfully Star Wars: Battlefront does just that, but where its strong points are clearly capitalized on, its weak points shine through like Anakin Skywalker in Episode 2 and 3.
My initial reaction to the game was cautiously optimistic, as I could feel my inner Star Wars fan desperately struggling against my will as a righteous game reviewer – it felt like an epic battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader for the prize of an honest review. With that being said, the title as a whole looks absolutely stunning in just about every regard. Everything from the weapons to the beautifully replicated planets, the carefully sculpted landscapes, the spot-on character models, and even the authentic trilogy vehicles took me right back to days of my youth. The controls and core gameplay mechanics are very similar to that of Battlefield 4 in they feel a bit heavy and unrefined at times, but they still manage to get the job done. The sounds of laser weapons firing and bombs exploding off in the distance perfectly complement the wonderful aesthetics, and seeing your favorite Star Wars characters trek across the multiplayer maps is definitely cool.
Traditionally, the Star Wars: Battlefront games have been known for their strong multiplayer modes, and this year’s version is no exception. The game is essentially broken up into two separate parts, online multiplayer and local missions mode. The multiplayer offering houses nine separate game modes such as dog fighting, big 40-player battles, and even a few smaller offerings for variety. The local missions mode provides players with four separate offerings including training missions, one vs. one battles, hero battles with up to six players, and a survival mode, which sends approximately 15 waves of enemies that include everything from AT-ST’s to probe Droids and Tie Fighters.
The multiplayer maps are gorgeous and flawlessly blend weather conditions with the peaks and valleys one might expect from being in a galaxy far, far away. Every map contains some unique aesthetic from environmental conditions, to crashed vehicles with over grown vegetation, to even a clear picture of what’s off in the distance. At one point, I kept getting killed by enemies simply because I was marveling at map details and terrain renderings. Yes, it looks that good. The overall map layouts, however, ran from average to above average with a few tweaks needed in spawn locations and battle hot zones – I found it difficult to stay engaged as the zones continually changed without any rhyme or reason. However, this is to be expected from a completely new offering and I have no doubts DICE will address these issues going forward.
Walker Assault is by far the best multiplayer option, which pits two teams of twenty players against each other, all while AT-AT’s, AT-ST’s, X-wings, and Tie Fighters rain death from above. It’s pure madness and chaos is literary unfolding right in front of you. The goal for the Imperial forces is to protect the AT-AT walkers and blow up the Rebel bases while the goal for the Rebel forces is the opposite. If you’re going to buy Star Wars: Battlefront, it’s certainly going to be because of this mode in particular – I can imagine spending hours on end engaged in this epic gauntlet of destruction.
Fighter Squadron was probably my second favorite game mode as it closely replicates a few of the ridiculous space battles seen within the original Star Wars films. The goal in this unique dog-fighting mode is to destroy as many ships as you can and rack up enough kills to give your side the victory. This particular game mode looks stellar, but the controls are what keep it from being a truly superior offering. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of fun to take the skies with twenty-plus players. However, the ships are clunky and tend to over or under-steer as you’re chasing down opponents - and the general concepts starts to become repetitive over time. The fun factor is present but certainly has its noticeable flaws.