Developed by DICE and published by EA, Star Wars Battlefront feels like the Star Wars shooter everyone has been waiting for. While it does do quite a bit right in terms of gameplay, sometimes Battlefront loses its way.
The gameplay in Star Wars Battlefront is decent. It handles like your standard FPS game in that you are able to shoot, jump, crouch and use other items such as grenades, the only real exception being that you are able to switch to a third-person view if you so wish.
There isn’t any real single-player campaign in Battlefront. However, there is a Survival Mode, which is actually a lot of fun. The single-player or cooperative mode pits Rebel players against wave after wave of increasingly difficult Imperial soldiers. As the waves go on, soldiers gain upgrades such as increased armour, invisibility and jetpacks. It’s rather rewarding especially on some of the higher difficulties. The only problem with this mode is that there aren’t many reasons to play A survival mission once you’ve completed it, unless of course you just want something to tackle with a friend, which is never a bad thing.
Star Wars Battlefront has a plethora of modes; unfortunately only a few stand out and will most likely be the modes that you will frequent during your time with the game. The modes I found that stood out the most were Drop Zone, Supremacy and Walker Assault.
Drop Zone is an 8v8 mode in which players compete to capture drop pods. Successfully capturing a pod rewards the team with victory points, which adds to the score. This also initiates the next drop and one-use items such as turrets and mines.
Supremacy is essentially Conquest Mode from the Battlefield series. Supremacy features two teams of 20 players fighting for control of outposts over a large map. Like conquest, players are able to make use of vehicles to move around and with enough skill, can ultimately turn the tide in a match. Available vehicles include AT-ST’s and X-Wings. This can also affect the combat behaviour of the infantry as raining down fire forces a change in tactics. It’s dynamic the way it changes and is an enjoyable factor of the gameplay.
Walker Assault essentially combines the gameplay of both modes while giving the Imperials a bit of an advantage as AT-AT Walkers march on toward a rebel base in order to wipe it from the map. Rebels have to capture uplink stations in order to guide their Y-Wings in order to attack the walkers. They’re formidable foes, to say the least, so any damage done to them feels like a real accomplishment. Out of the many modes available, Walker Assault feels like the most authentic Star Wars experience.
What also makes the gameplay rather exciting is the different loadouts that players use when going into a match. One player’s loadout may not be the same as the next, which makes it a variable experience. As players earn XP from combat experience, credits are earned. These credits can be used to purchase different blasters and items to be equipped. The purchased items range from grenades, jetpack boosts and special guns. Three items can be equipped at once in the form of star cards. The left and right cards hold grenades or a sniper rifle with one round; these recharge after a few seconds after being used. The middle card holds expendable items such as a shield, however, more charges can be found around the map. It’s a interesting and good way to handle the progression as it doesn’t lock players to a certain class when playing.
Aside from items and weapons used in loadouts, players can find tokens on the map for various one-use items such as turrets and explosives. In addition, players can also find tokens for vehicles such as AT-ST’s, X-Wings and Tie Fighters, which can make a battle a little more interesting. Hero Tokens can also be found on the map and these allow players to turn into character such as Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker or Han Solo. These characters are a lot stronger than your average soldier and can be devastating once introduced to a conflict. Each character has their own strengths and tactical advantage. Usually once a Hero enters the fray, the opposing force tends to head in the other direction for fear of being annihilated. It’s a nice touch and somewhat funny to see your opposition running away from you.
Unfortunately not all of Star Wars Battlefront’s modes are great. Fighter Squadron is a decent mode for pilots who want to get the hang of the ships but it feels too simple due to it being aerial combat only and doesn’t involve infantry. Blast is your classic Team Deathmatch; it’s fun as a starting mode but it’s highly likely that you won’t be coming back to it after enjoying Drop Zone, Supremacy and Walker Assault.
Then there are modes that just feel like no one would play them. Hero Hunt and Heroes vs Villains don’t really offer anything new to players enjoying other modes. They also have the tendency of being a little tedious.
A lot of the modes in Star Wars Battlefront (and I mean a lot) come across as being filler content and not really something to be enjoyed. It’s almost as if DICE has gone in the direction of delivering as much fan service as possible, which is not a bad thing, but at times it feels as if the game loses its way, forgetting to focus on game modes that work and are enjoyable.
Star Wars Battlefront is a great looking game. When playing the game for the first time, players will see that the visuals in the game are just beautiful. Character models and animations have been well done. The explosions look great and the signature impact sparks of blaster fire has been recreated incredibly. What really stands out, however, is the different memorable locations from the Star Wars franchise and how maps have been created to feel suited for the locations. For example, Hoth is covered in snow and has various ice caverns which creates a feeling of claustrophobia, while Endor is a map covered with hiding places and sniping opportunities thanks to the dense vegetation.
In terms of audio, Battlefront shines most of the time. Blaster fire sounds great and explosions match the visual quality of how they look. At first, the voice work by characters such as Darth Vader and Han Solo seemed fitting but it soon became quite monotonous after a phrase was repeated for the fourth time. Additionally, the one liners spouted by the Heroes felt so cheesy and cringeworthy that you start to wish that they weren’t there. Famous themes such as the Imperial March make appearances here and there; sometimes the original score by DICE goes with it rather well, other times it feels strangely out of place, which is disappointing.
Star Wars Battlefront is a good game and feels like the authentic Star Wars shooter we’ve all been waiting for. However, the game isn’t great all of the time and loses its way occasionally; this is especially true when it comes to the different modes available with the majority not being very enjoyable. That said, the game handles really well and the different possible loadouts make combat interesting.
Visually, the game shines with its environments and maps. Even better yet, the attention to detail such as scorch marks found on X-Wings. Unfortunately the same can not be said about the sound due to the cheesy one liners and intermittently misplaced soundtrack. However, most of the sound effects such as blaster fire and resonating of a lightsaber are on point and give me a feeling nostalgia.
While it may not be the best Star Wars game ever and sometimes feels misguided, Battlefront still does quite a bit right in terms of being a decent Star Wars shooter and mostly feels rather authentic.
Lasting appeal: 7/10