Review: Star Wars Battlefront
By: Jeff Rivera
It felt like it took forever for Star Wars Battlefront to finally release. Each new trailer or gameplay video clip that EA released raised the hype and anticipation for the game to new levels and many questioned if the game would actually look, feel, and play as it was being represented in the marketing materials. X-Wings and TIE Fighters in the sky, Stormtroopers and Rebel soldiers on the ground, and Imperial walkers taking up the rest of the space made for truly thrilling gameplay trailers. Now that it's here, it's safe to say that Star Wars Battlefront lives up to many of its promises, even if the overall experience is far more simple than many competing online shooters.
Star Wars Battlefront is an easy to learn shooter. With few weapon classes, purely cosmetic differences between the different selectable characters (hero class excluded) and factions, and mostly static maps, Star Wars Battlefront is a far more simple approach to the online multiplayer shooter than what we get from Call of Duty, Halo, or EA's own Battlefield series. As a result of this simplicity, Star Wars Battlefront is extremely inviting to casual shooter fans, but has a high enough skill ceiling for more serious players to enjoy themselves.
There's a good variety of play modes packed into the game. Everything from objective-based modes to straight up deathmatch will allow players to find modes that suits their favored styles of play. Personally, I have had a lot of fun with the team deathmatch (Blast), Fighter Squadron, Supremacy (domination), and Walker Assault modes. While many of the weapons in the game can feel very samey, the different modes end up giving more variety to the pacing of matches than what you'll find in most online shooters.
Pacing. This is where EA really nailed it. Star Wars Battlefront feels like Star Wars. That sounds like a given, but so many Star Wars games have struggled to feel like a worthy and properly paced Star Wars experience. By leveling the player classes and having a weapon set that is also quite simple, you generally have a constantly fast moving competitive match that rarely ends up as a one-sided affair or a slow stalemate. Matches move quickly, and the map designs urge players to keep moving and stay in the fight.
One of my biggest gripes in online shooters is the ease in which spawn camping can be abused. Somehow Star Wars Battlefront has eliminated this problem almost entirely. Rarely do you find yourself spawning into trouble, and players that do try to camp spawn points are usually picked off quickly. It's refreshing to see one of the most annoying aspects in online shooters mitigated so effectively.
Another highlight is how simple vehicles are to use. From starfighters to Imperial walkers, the vehicles are very easy to control. The vehicles are also properly balanced. A good player should be able to cause some pretty big headaches for the opposing team, but a concentrated effort to bring down a vehicle is generally successful before things get out of control.
I've said it many times, but Star Wars Battlefront is simple. While I feel like that's an ovearll positive, many might see things differently and prefer to call it a stripped down experience. I can see that point of view, but when so many online shooters keep pushing themselves deeper down the levels of complexity, I like seeing something that favors pace and focus over complex classes, upgrade paths, and weapons.
It's still unclear what sort of DLC we're going to see over time. The Battle of Jakku gave us new maps and a new mode, and it's currently free, but I'm not sure if it's indicative of what we'll receive over time. While I've enjoyed what I've played with the game so far, I find the season pass to be a bit of a gamble at this point in time.
If you don't mind a more streamlined and simple shooting experience, Star Wars Battlefront should be on your short list of games to check out. If you're the type the needs a shooter with deep mechanics, this one might not hold your interest for too long unless you're a big time Star Wars fan. For me, Star Wars Battlefront is exactly what I like in a shooter, an experience that focuses on gun on gun combat, smart movement, and accurate aiming in hectic situations. Without the flashy killstreaks, the overly bloated unlock systems, and easily exploited mechanics (quick scoping, anyone?), Star Wars Battlefront feels clean, fast, and worthy of carrying the Star Wars name.
4 Stars out of 5