Playing out childhood fantasies.
While the hype surrounding EA and Dice’s Star Wars Battlefront has a lot to do with the impending release of the new Star Wars movie, no small amount of that hype will have come from the Star Wars fans that are just yearning for a decent Star Wars shooter. The idea of playing a game like Battlefield with a Star Wars skin is the stuff that keeps gaming Star Wars fans awake at night. It is a worthy dream, and one that has now become reality … almost.
The thing is that Star Wars is such a big deal that the developers would want their new game to appeal to as many of the fans as possible. To make this happen, many aspects of the game would have to be more simple than, for example, the Battlefield games. While Battlefield fans may lament this fact, Star Wars Battlefront’s more casual nature will make it supremely easy for any Star Wars fan to jump in and have some fun, while enjoying the whole Star Wars experience.
And what an experience it is. You can see how much trouble the developers have gone to so that we, the players, can enjoy an authentic Star Wars experience. The game is simply stunning, easily one of the best looking games so far this generation. The memorable locations from the original movies, such as Hoth, Endor and Tatooine, have been recreated and brought to life with such detail that it is easy to imagine being in the actual films. Vehicles and characters have been brought to life in the game with what is obviously a lot of love for the subject matter. And the maps across which the game takes place are living, with all manner of things going on tempting the player to just stop and take it all in. To put it simply, it is breath-taking.
The love for Star Wars doesn’t stop there either. When it comes to the sound in the game, again major effort has been put in. From the beautiful soundtrack, through the sounds made by the various different blasters, everything is kept as authentic as possible, and the result is enough to raise goosebumps on any fan.
The game has some 12 maps spread across the different planets, giving way to a variety of different environments through which to play, from snow to desert. This is not a large number of maps, and as some are limited to certain game modes, this could affect the longevity of the game. Of course, new maps would be easy to add for the developers, but as they would likely come as paid DLC, the core offering will always remain a little lacking.
Of the different games modes, a lot has been made of the lack of single player story. Battlefront is primarily a multiplayer online game. There are a few things for the co-op player to do, but if you are looking for the perfect solo Star Wars experience, then you will have to keep looking. Outside of the multiplayer goodness, there are some tutorial missions to work through, along with a couple of co-op modes. One mode will allow the players to play as heroes, the iconic characters from the movies that can sweep into the battlefield in multiplayer and cause so much chaos. It is a good idea to try this mode simply to get the hang of the heroes and their various abilities, just to make the most of them in multiplayer. Otherwise, this mode is not really worth much time. The other co-op mode is Survival which pits the players against waves of Imperials and is surprisingly good fun. But in reality, it is all about the multiplayer.
In multiplayer, there are nine different modes, most of which replicate common modes from other multiplayer shooters. You have Blast, which is your basic Team Deathmatch, and Droid Run is Domination. Supremacy is a Conquest style mode in which each team battles over command posts. Then there are modes such as Fighter Squadron which are all about aerial combat, and Hero Hunt which involves a number of infantry facing off against one player as a hero. Players will quickly congregate to their favorite modes. On the mode selection screen, small icons will show the player how many players will be in each mode, along with whether or not the mode includes heroes or vehicles.
When it comes to the gameplay, things are a lot more simple than expected. There are no classes as such, instead the player can choose from a selection of unlocked cards to alter their loadout. This is alongside the blaster that they choose, which all vary in different ways, but not by as much as would have been nice. The cards themselves represent pieces of equipment or weapons that can be used in battle, such as grenades, a sniper rifle of sorts, and even a jetpack. They add the variety to the load out, and clever players will tweak their cards to perform different roles and playstyles. It is a clever system that makes the game more accessible to the newcomers, whilst perhaps alienating to more seasoned gamer a little.
The problem here is the lack of content. A handful of maps, limited number of modes, and a small variety of weapons and cards make it difficult to see this game lasting for the long haul without some major additions. Sure, the game is more casual than many shooters, and as such can be picked up easily by as many people as possible. However, on paper, it would be difficult to imagine still playing this game in three months time.
However, that is not taking into account the Star Wars magic. Once you start playing the game, it really is quite difficult to stop, even with all of these limitations. In fact, I have seen players with absolutely no interest in Star Wars (yes, they exist) pick up a controller and play for hours. Star Wars Battlefront is a cinematic shooter that seems to have a very broad appeal.
It may well be that in a few months time, Star Wars Battlefront will be sitting and gathering dust, or be deleted to make room for the digital buyers. The limited content and casual nature would suggest it is not going to stay around for long. However, I could be wrong, and there is no denying that, at this very moment, I am having an absolute blast with the game. If you want to play in a galaxy far, far away, nothing else comes close.