The original Star Wars: Battlefront offered an experience never seen before in games related to Star Wars, with Star Wars: Battlefront II offering an even more refined take on the formula that pleased fans in the first place. Star Wars Battlefront, on the other hand, retains none of the uniqueness of the first two games, instead choosing to rely on the Battlefield engine, Frostbite. For all intents and purposes, this is Battlefield: Star Wars, but does it deliver on the same quality that fans have came to know from the Battlefront name?
Starting with the graphics, it is obvious that these were toiled over. The world is full of detail, with vivid environments to scour to find the best routes to battle. The Rebels and Imperials all look better than ever, while even the cockpit of a Y-Wing is included. The animations of every single item feels authentic to the original films, including the heroes’ movements, which it absolutely nails.
On the other side of the presentation spectrum is the sound. Some of it is, of course, the first three John Williams scores, and battle beats are underlined by the instruments of the orchestra. However, the other half of it is just generic and uninspired, and, sadly, it will be heard a lot. There is not even that much music, either, so expect to hear the same ten second tune over and over again.
However, if there is one definite thing it delivers on, it is surely wish fulfillment. Playing as a regular Stormtrooper attempting to flank similar Rebel troops is fun enough, but what about being able to pilot a TIE Fighter and kill X-Wing pilots by pursuing and hunting them down? Nailing down an objective feels great, but what about how slicing through enemies effortlessly while trying to defend an objective as Luke Skywalker? Many scenarios can be played out in this game, and the love the developers have for Star Wars shines through the overall experience.
Many different multiplayer modes would also help to add to the sheer amount of fan service, and this is where the game begins to falter. Walker Assault is the main draw of this game, with many people attempting to capture the zones as the scrappy Rebels to disable the AT-ATs’ shields, while the gargantuan Empire rains down on their parade, so that it cannot be destroyed. This mode is the second high point of the entire game, with the sprawling landscapes leading to some pretty intense matches, with entire teams battling each other to hold the point, whether the objective is to take down or to aid the two AT-ATs.
However, there is no other great mode. Two other good modes would be Droid Run and Cargo; in the former, the aim is to capture three droids while protecting your team’s droids from the enemy. It benefits from being on smaller scale maps, which results in a larger struggle between both teams. However, it would benefit from more players, as it only supports a six against six battle.
The latter is probably my personal favourite game mode, as it invites less of a beeline towards the battlefield and more of slinking around the map and trying to infiltrate the enemy while also defending your cargo. It is a frenzied all-out battle that requires careful usage of the environment to aid you. It feels too small, though; maybe larger maps could be implemented, so the unease felt in the game would probably quadruple.
All of the other modes just see to be filler. It is either objective-based or kill-based, with no inbetween, so every mode begins to feel the exact same. There is not much variety, which is bad for a game which was touted to be one of a massive size; if it felt more unique, this would be fine, but it just blends in with other shooters, instead of deciding to go into a unique direction.
Another massive issue is the lack of maps. It feels as if you have already cycled through all of them in about two hours, and even then, the environments are not varied enough. There are snow maps, swamp maps, and desert maps, pretty much, with no other places to explore. With some of the most recognizable iconography of the 20th century, this is quite a poor showing. Even without the blandness, most of them are smaller maps reserved for smaller modes, meaning that if you want to go to many different maps on Walker Assault, there are not many to choose from.
The blasters themselves are greatly diverse, but to get the full experience, you need to get Star Cards, which are essentially reusable items. The problem is that most of the great cards unlock near level 20, meaning lots of struggling against the higher levelled players is needed to not be decimated. It feels as if the power is balanced towards those who have played for longer, which is strictly unfair.
There is not even any single player component that does not feel shoehorned in. No campaign is a massively bad thing for any Battlefront game, but the scenarios that are there all feel hastily added in. They all feel similar, which is a great way of ensuring no replayability. You cannot even play the online modes with AI if you wanted to, so you can only replay those scenarios that get old quickly. Without online, it does not even have anything to play, but at least the disc functions as a coaster.
If free maps and modes were coming our way, I would let it slide. That would not be the EA we know, though, so instead, they will all be locked behind paywalls. Not only is this a ridiculous scheme that undermines the base game, but it also splinters the fanbase who already stuck with the miniscule amount of maps, meaning that, eventually, there will be no one to play it with: it would be as good as useless once everybody playing leaves.
I feel like I did not get nearly enough content to enjoy in Star Wars Battlefront. It, quite obviously, rides on nostalgia for the thrills, but once that feeling disappears, it just feels very empty. The aesthetics are fantastic, and it is a shame that all of that effort from DICE was wasted on EA’s money grabbing schemes. Just a fairly average game, when separated from all of the DLC nonsense.