Star Wars Battlefront: Nostalgic Dream or Broken Promises?

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Editor Note – This is a retrospective review:

As a kid, I loved the Battlefront series. Running around as a Clone Trooper or Stormtrooper, battling both bots and my younger sibling across various planets, filled me with joy and allowed me to experience what my imagination has always dreamed of. Whether it be controlling a hulking AT-AT across the snowy surface of Hoth, piloting a TIE Fighter above Yavin, or engaging in an epic battle between Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi on the fiery planet of Mustafar and reenacting the scene from Revenge Of The Sith, I absolutely loved it. So you can imagine, like millions of other Star Wars fans across the world, the excitement I felt when EA and DICE announced that they were making a reboot of the series. My heart leapt into my mouth and I began to feel nostalgic.

Up to the release of Battlefront, I defended all of the negative accusations about the upcoming game. “How it didn’t have single player like the originals did” (they didn’t REALLY though. The campaigns were basically multiplayer but with bots and objectives, and a few cutscenes), or “There are only 4 maps and they’re cutting things out of the game to charge us” (there are actually 4 PLANETS, and several maps per planet). As a fan of the originals, and Star Wars in general, I defended it blindly, eager to play the new game. However, when I finally got the game, it wasn’t what I expected or hoped.

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We’ll start with the gameplay. This is one of the areas where the game does well. The various blasters fire well, and don’t feel like we’re firing peashooters (MOST of the time anyway). The characters feel smooth when running around, and I haven’t experienced any bugs involving them, and the vehicles feel awesome to control, with the sharp twists and turns of starfighters, as they let out their classic screech as they fly past your head. The gameplay does succeed at making me feel like I’m really in the battle myself, and this is what EA and DICE promised us.

The graphics are where the game REALLY stands out though. The graphics are so beautiful that you almost forget you’re playing a game. Each map has stunning views, whether it be the forest moon of Endor, the desert wasteland of Tattooine, or the mechanised factories of Sullust, the game boasts graphics that outshine a lot of other games. The physics handle well too, with cloths flapping in the wind, tree branches snapping, trees falling down, even footprints in the snow; once again, they promised us that
we would feel like we’re really in the world, and they did this well.

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Multiplayer is mostly well done. There are various game modes to choose from, and each plays differently. For example, Walker Assault boasts massive ground battles and air battles, as ground troops try to stop the AT-ATs from reaching their targets by powering up uplinks. The more uplinks they get, the longer they have to damage the AT-ATs. Meanwhile, the Empire must turn off the uplinks, and protect their Walkers. Meanwhile, Heroes vs Villains feels intense and quick. Three players on each team take control of three heroes and three villains, with supporting rebels and stormtroopers, and they must wipe out the other heroes before the time runs out. Maps are smaller, and each battle ends quickly as the heroes and villains drop. The variation feels refreshing, so it’s not the same with each mode.

Online itself handles well, with little to no lag in the servers. Of course, there is lag occasionally, which can throw your character this way and that as it tries to keep you connected to the servers. My favourite part though, is the splitscreen. A lot of games lack splitscreen nowadays, so for those who want to play with siblings, it becomes impossible. However, bringing the splitscreen back has certainly made me feel a lot of nostalgia and enjoyment, with the splitscreen games being the funniest I’ve ever had. One issue is the lack of modes however, with only three modes available (Hero Battle, Battle and Survival). It’s a shame that there are no starfighter modes in splitscreen, but other than that, it feels good and fun.

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Despite all this, Battlefront feels…empty. Namely the lack of content. While there are more than four maps, they get very boring after a while. Most of the maps are repeated across various modes, so you end up doing the same map several times. It means that after a few game modes, the maps become stale and boring. Not only this, but the fact it is lacking other eras, such as the prequel trilogy, and even the new era from the movies (which I originally defended them for) limits the potential of the game. The heroes and villains, while fun to control and play as, also feel lacking in number, and so I got bored of playing the same six people over and over. The class system of both Battlefront 2 and even the Battlefield series is also missing, which does surprisingly take away from the experience. I enjoyed playing as a Recon class while bots or my siblings ran into the battle as the infantry, but now, there are no class bonuses, or anything; it feels like everyone is simply generic banther fodder. In general, Battlefront simply feels empty and lacking.

Another issue is the way the pickups are done. Various bonuses, such as Smart Rockets, vehicle turrets, etc, are placed around the map as pickups. Which work well, and are fine. At least it would be, if it was restricted to those. But instead, everything is placed as a pickup; vehicles, heroes, villains, all of it. While this does give everyone a chance to play as Darth Vader or pilot a starfighter, in theory, it actually limits the game. It would have been better to have the vehicles at a spawn point – again, similar to Battlefront 2 and Battlefield – and reward the best players to be heroes or villains. This may seem unfair, but then the heroes and villains are supposed to be these powerful, almost invulnerable characters that can stop blaster fire with their hands. It would make these characters actually fearful if they were controlled by the best players in the game, rather than someone who is low on the table and just happened to stumble into it. And in regards to vehicles, an argument for using them as pickups could be that they prevent vehicle camping. While this is a fair argument, that never really happened in Battlefield or Battlefront 2, and I’ve seen more people camping where the pickups spawn than when there were actual vehicles on the map. Therefore, this is a disappointing factor in the game.

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This leads me onto my next issue; the weakness of the heroes and villains. Even in the best players’ hands, they feel weak, lacklustre and not what was promised to us. DICE and EA had said that the villains and heroes would put fear into our hearts, as we see Vader or Luke Skywalker running towards us, lightsaber in hand. Instead, their health is low, their abilities need to “recharge” and they can be downed quickly. I understand that the recharging abilities was to prevent them from being too overpowered, but then; aren’t they MEANT to be overpowered? That’s what was promised to us, yet they failed to deliver, and left us with heroes and villains who die very quickly.

Overall, Battlefront fails in a number of places. While it does have beautiful graphics, solid gameplay and fun multiplayer, it has enough failures that the good doesn’t outweigh the bad. With a small number of maps, poorly executed pickups and disappointing heroes and villains, Battlefront passes in the nostalgia factor, but not much else. It’s fun to play casually for about an hour a week or so, but I think I’ll stick to Battlefront 2, with this new game getting a low score of 58%.

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Gamers Pantheon Score – 58%

Pros –
– Graphics
– Gameplay
– Online handles well
– Nostalgia

Cons –
– Lack of maps
– Lack of class system
– Everything is a pickup
– Weak heroes and villains
– Lack of splitscreen modes


3 thoughts on “Star Wars Battlefront: Nostalgic Dream or Broken Promises?

  1. In my eyes this game is an utter failure. What’s most disappointing is that they took out the Space Battle aspect. That was the coolest part of BFII. What they have in the game now is not the same.

    Like

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