Screw you, people. I love Star Wars, and I like this game. However, I realise that, yes, it is a little flawed; and I never played the first or the second games of the apparently amazing Battlefront series. Consequently, this review will presumably be a little different from most reviews of this ol’ game, or, well, new — ish. It’ll have no comparisons, basically.
Anyways, what struck me first about this game is how great it looks. Almost ominously realistic, the snow glistens on Hoth like it just landed on your doorstep, and the sand, grass, water, sky and all the textures in general look a lot better than you see in your average game — in other words, it’s breathtaking. Explosions, blaster rays and lightsabers also look spot on, and sound great. As you run through the forests of Endor, whilst blaster rays and explosions are thrown past you, it feels perfectly dynamic, and sounds perfectly Star Wars-y – with the blaster noises on point.
Each world is meticulously detailed to every grain, and whilst the game looks and sounds fantastic, it runs perfectly on what seems a very good engine. Every map, also, is well designed, as there are nooks and crannies to hide behind, take cover and mad open settings where even the most daring stormtrooper can be pummeled by even the least douchebaggy guy – and that’s what you want. There are also high points and low points for tactical reasons, and many different areas in pretty flexible maps.
However, the music isn’t quite on point. Sure, the theme comes up every now and then, the Imperial March comes round at times, but though the music is fantastic, fittingly Star Wars-y and all that; a lot of it isn’t licensed, and so is, frustratingly, not 100% authentic. Notwithstanding, EA have done a good job with what they’ve got, and their custom tracks to make up for the partial lack of licensing sound good, just unrecognisable — and though I applaud EA for what they’ve done with the scraps they’ve got, it is an issue, and it is frustrating.
Now I’ll talk about what is the most important part of any game, and that’s how it plays. Sure, it looks and sounds great, but that in itself can’t make a game good – whether it’s Star Wars or not. As shooters go, Star Wars Battlefront is a decent one. Gunplay works well and is good fun, whilst most guns aren’t too scatterous, and the controls work with no hesitation most of the time. However, there are some issues. Firstly, there seems to be a bit of an issue with balance. There are a few guns which are definitely overpowered, or at least are strikingly better in ease of use and in killability (I’m pretty proud of that one, if I do say so myself) than a lot of the others, like the DH-17 (no wonder I use it! Heh…), and there are a few which are difficult to use, inconvenient and render pretty useless to me, like some of the heavy guns. On top of this, the selection of guns is definitely too limited.
Hands wise, I also think it’s too limited. The amount of combinations you can use is pretty scarce, especially considering some of the star cards are pretty hopeless – impact grenade, anyone? – and others are glorious – like the ol’ Jump Pack; so there’s a balancing issue there too. Also the fact that the ability to upgrade star cards and trait cards comes so late is frustrating, because you’re left pretty incompetent until you play it for the 8th hour (in game).
Also, has anyone else found themselves annoyed when you die and when you respawn your three quarters of the map away from the action? And when you do finally unlock the jump pack… Is it really that useful? Only when you can upgrade it does it get glorious, and that is irritating.
Now, there’s that glaring lack of any story mode, isn’t there. That’s just brilliant. Oh! And 4-player splitscreen. Great. Consequently, you’re left with a few survival, battle and training missions to do yourself and the online modes, and that’s it. Thankfully, the online is very addictive, and it runs perfectly. However, there are 10 modes, yes, but… It would really be the same if it was just Turning Point, Walker Assault, Drop Zone, Cargo, Blast, Heroes Vs Villains and Fighter Squadron. Supremacy, Droid Run and Hero Hunt are very similar in their objectives to Turning Point, Drop Zone and Heroes Vs Villains respectively, just with slightly different skins. If these three modes could be replaced with modes more unique, I’d be much more happy. Nonetheless, as it is it is okay for modes, as there is enough variety on show, although 40 player modes are definitely the best in their grandeur. Fighter Squadron, disappointingly, is one of the weaker modes out of the first 7 I mentioned. Flying is hard to get a hold of, and the mode just doesn’t have enough tactical motivation. It’s just, flying… ‘nd stuff.
Visibly the biggest issue with Star Wars Battlefront is its bland presentation. It’s a perfect example of modern developers trying so hard to clean up their games, to make them look nice and modern. It’s got a bland white background, scarce amounts of images and artwork while the fonts used are just too damn rounded. It’s the same on the corners of the in game screen too, and I just don’t like it.
Moreover… Some more maps, please!
To summarise: Star Wars Battlefront is a good shooter which looks and sounds fantastic, and is aptly addictive as online based games go, whilst it is pretty damn fun most of the time. Sure, it has issues. It’s pretty bland, the music isn’t fully licensed, there are a few balancing issues and it’s stripped of the content it deserves. But man does it look nice, and those blaster fires sound, well, Star Wars-y — and how does it run so well? For now, I like this game, and I would say that unless you’re desperate to get it, don’t buy this game for its full asking price, because there is definitely a glaring lack of single player content in particular. Although, the online is fun enough to warrant the purchase, but it’s made a lot easier if you’re a Star Wars fan.
Oh yeah! The heroes are pretty good, other than Emperor Palpatine. He sucks.