My Game of the Month – December: Star Wars: Battlefront (EA)

 

I’m a bit late writing this post due to pesty essays and dissertation stress (not actual writing). Again this game wasn’t released in December, but I played a crazy amount of it and therefore that’s why Battlefront makes my Game of The Month!

As a pretty dedicated Star Wars fan the announcement that Star Wars Battlefront was making a return via ‘next-gen’ consoles made me pretty damn ecstatic. The original Star Wars Battlefront games were basically my gaming childhood (as well the occasional Pokemon game). Yeah being a Jedi or Sith is cool, but don’t lie, the ability to play as a ground soldier in this massive universe was so much cooler. Luke who? More like Gary the stormtrooper or Simon the legendary sniper battle droid. Didn’t hear about those characters in the films now did you? Exactly. Not only was one of my favourite game franchises coming back but it was also being developed by the perfect team that is Dice. Dice!? The same guys that make those awesome Battlefield games that I love? I couldn’t ask for a better scenario. Well things began to get pretty bumpy down the road with news that the game would lack a tonne of content, but in truth, it didn’t hinder my experience all that much. The complaints rooted from announcements that the game wouldn’t feature elements of gameplay from the originals such as space battles, galactic conquest, campaign of any kind, the clone wars, vehicle spawns and numerous planets. Not much then. I sympathise with these complaints, I too loved these aspects of the originals. However, I understand that this is Battlefront EA. Not Pandemic. I knew from the beginning that this game was likely to be quite different from the first ones, but maybe not to the same extent that it was. I was a little disappointed that the clone wars wasn’t included, but amongst my overwhelming joy that Battlefront was returning at all felt like a Jedi mind-trick convincing me that this was the best thing ever. 2015 couldn’t have been any greater, Fallout and Star Wars were back and that’s pretty outstanding.

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Let’s dive right into this thing then. Already playing the open beta before the release I had a fair idea of what to expect from the new game. It didn’t disappoint. This game looks gorgeous, it has to be my best looking game on the Xbox One, Metal Gear probably gets a close second on this. I read the promotional material about the design teams going to the same locations that the films were based on and this definitely reflected into the final product. Hoth LOOKS like Hoth. Tatooine LOOKS like Tatooine. These planets feel real, Hoth makes you cold, Tatooine feels baren yet inhabited with life and Endor, well Endor is the best. Literally, Endor is the most impressive world to be in, it’s lush and alive and most of all, feels pretty damn believable. Ewoks run around their silly wooden platforms (which make for amazing multi-leveled combat), Lizards crawl up trees, and weird space snakes slither in and out of burrows. The attention to detail is impressive, most impressive. Seeing as most first-person competitive shooters offer pretty dull and static maps, Battlefront is fresh. The only problem I have with the immersion is with the sometimes wonky voice acting of the heroes and villains. This has been brought up several times by other reviewers, I have less of a problem with it than most, but it can break the immersion somewhat. Luckily Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett and Boba Fett) continues to be awesome and voices Boba Fett in the game, so that’s one original voice. The worst is probably Vader and Han’s voices. Besides that, the aesthetics of this game are pretty breathtaking.

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Next we have gameplay. Put simply it’s a ‘dumbed’ down version of Battlefield, or so you’ll be told by the internet. I’d partly agree. The gameplay has definitely had a more arcade-like overhaul and I think this may be a move towards a more casual gamer. This is Star Wars (now owned by Disney) and I think that with the anticipation of Episode 7 EA decided to target this game at everybody. It’s a game that is easily accessible, just pick up a controller and join in so to speak (if only there was a split-screen online experience. Shame). The guns arguably feel pretty samey, they are after all all laser guns that go pew pew. There’s only so many ways a blaster can shoot, and I feel that these guns are closely representative of those from the films which is great aesthetically. It just doesn’t translate that well from a gameplay perspective. That said, these guns thankfully all feel punchy, especially the targeting rifles, they provide some powerful firepower. The standard blasters you receive from the get-go (the E11 and A280) are pretty well rounded on their own however, which creates this feeling that there’s no real need to purchase any of the other blasters on offer. That said, it’s nice to change the fire-rate every now and again. As well as your primary blaster you have access to ‘star cards’, which are equivalent to Battlefield tools with usage limited to a cooling down system. I like this form of playing, it is inevitably arcade-like but it’s different enough from the average shooter that I’m ok with it. These ‘star cards’ offer you abilities such as the Jetpack, thermal detonator and other helpful tools like the ion torpedo. As well as these ‘star cards’ you have traits which reward you with special abilities from kill-streaks, and power-ups found on the battlefield which provide more effective abilities, such as the smart-rocket launcher (great against AT-STs) and bubble-shield to protect yourself and teammates from oncoming blaster fire. Among these power-ups you will also find the occasional vehicle pick-up or hero pick-up. These pick-ups will place you in varying vehicles (including the AT-ATs but with a limited timer) and the hero pick-ups let you pick from three heroes or villains depending on which side you are on. Of course the hero pick-up is the most thrilling of the lot and you will almost definitely see several teammates racing towards the pick-up to play as their favourite character. It’s undeniably fun playing as one of these comically over-powered figures on the battlefield wiping out as many enemies as you can before finally being overwhelmed by the entire team. And you will become a high-priority target pretty quickly. It’s unique and a great aspect of the game, if you’re able to reach the pick-ups before some Jetpack idiot snatches it right before your eyes (TIP: always be that Jetpack idiot).

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Yes this game is definitely an online-orientated game. The single-player and co-operative aspects are dismal. If you’re looking at this game without an online subscription don’t even bother, there is literally 3 hours of gameplay there if you push the boundaries. I myself have played these sections repeatedly to obtain 100% completion but once I’ve completed master difficulty I’m out of there. Chewie hit it! But seriously, don’t buy this game if you don’t plan on playing online.

Sure, there are loads of things missing from this game that were present in the Pandemic games of the same title, but this is a new generation of Star Wars. This is EA Star Wars. With all the advantages and disadvantages that come with it. I will happily accept the fact that this game may be a little over-priced for the content that is available, but without this, there’d be nothing. And I know which situation I’d rather be in. Give me a beautiful looking, over-priced but fun Star Wars game over nothing at all.

Alexander Jones

Bonus video I uploaded to Youtube:Β 

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Author: alexwelsh95

Magazine journalism trainee. Journalism, media and cultural studies graduate, Cardiff University.

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