Star Wars season is currently a go. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is in cinemas on December 17th (December 18th for the United States), Star Wars Battlefront, developed by DICE and published by EA, has been released for next-gen systems, and merchandising has already run rampant. Another, yet much smaller, cog in the machine is Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes (also published by EA), the first ‘proper’ Star Wars title for mobile phones that promises an experience with turn based battles.
The main problem is that it doesn’t deliver the excitement or atmosphere that is present within the original trilogy. Instead, it boils down to who has the highest level.
After booting your game up, you are presented with a hefty and sluggish tutorial about the rules of the game, despite the simplicity that it offers to you. This simplicity in question is evident everywhere you look in the menus, and this is, in reality, a sore disappointment. It feels shallow once you’ve played for thirty minutes – you know the menus front-to-back eventually.
Those menus allow you to level up your characters, buy resources for forging parts of armour to upper the character’s defence, and play all of the different modes (depending on what level you are). Once these modes are selected, you’ll probably find yourself burnt out on the gameplay.
It plays as a turn-based affair that gives your character two attacks, one normal and one special. The regular move is usable every turn, but the special moves have a cool down after they are used. This therefore means is that battles have an illusion of strategy, but don’t actually carry over any non-superficial aspects that other games benefit from. The structure of this gameplay is slanted against you, as well – it is a series of three smaller skirmishes that don’t refresh your special attacks between battles, so it’s common to find that you get a load of thermal detonators from Recon Stormtroopers lobbed at your team in the story scenarios, causing your team to be completely wiped out.
So, how would you actually level up to combat these issues? The answer is grinding, sadly. By replaying the same situations over and over, you can get training droids to offer you experience, but after a certain point around Level 25, the difference is tangible, which makes the grinding all the more monotonous. Please note that unlike experience points in regular RPGs, these are given to you after the battle, not after an enemy is taken out. This makes otherwise barely possible challenges undoable at that level, unless you spend money on crystals, this game’s premium currency (which is shoved into your face non-stop).
Even the graphics are disappointing. George Lucas once stated how Star Wars to him was about the visual effects – from that line of thinking, this game is nothing to brag about. Graphical glitches plague the experience while an attack animation is going on, which is quite strange, as this game looks more like a small-scale Disney Infinity environment than a realistic duel in a multitude of areas. Even if these glitches were not there, it’s still be disappointing, as there’s no flair to the duels. The sound is similarly uniform, and utilises barely any tracks from John Williams’ scores. If there was anything else to talk about, believe me, I would.
I wish there was more to it, but there is nothing more to it. I’m guessing that it’s sold on the premise that you get to play as your favourite Star Wars characters, but it’s all gated off for later levels and the versus mode, which has exclusive characters; hell, it locks off Bespin’s Luke Skywalker and the regular Han Solo, instead offering you a gun-wielding Luke and Stormtrooper Han, which feels like regular Han, but is not as powerful. It’s the exact same gameplay with no frills, though, so I’m not sure why you’d even bother.
Star Wars Battlefront has gotten mixed reception by critics, but this game got a free pass because of how it’s a mobile game. Here’s the issue, though; if Star Wars Battlefront had a thinly-veiled curtain disguising its shallowness, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes has no disguise at all. It’s not worth grinding through to see your favourite heroes barely getting through a group of four Stormtroopers before being decimated by General Veers.