I’ve always loved Battlefront but I also always thought that it was bit like a Battlefield game in a star wars skin (even down to the name.) So I thought it was a great idea when Dice, the makers of Battlefield, picked up the license to make a new one. I mean, who better to make it than the people it had been practically copying from the beginning?
Now, Dice has been known for having great sound design and visuals and that’s certainly true here. Battlefront has been brought to life with a painstaking level of detail. Everything looks and sounds exactly like the original trilogy should. The environments are actually so impressive that I’ve stopped in the middle of a game to admire them, only to be snapped out of it by an equally impressive explosion.
The gameplay in Battlefront is, obviously, very similar to Battlefield. Anyone familiar with modern shooters should quickly feel right at home. One noticeable difference from Battlefield is that Battlefront eschews the class based upgrade system where it’s tough luck if you want the medic’s gun while playing as an engineer. Instead, you use the credits you earned during battles to pick and choose which guns and stat. boosting cards you want to equip. It’s a change I personally like, but the progression doesn’t seem to go as deep as in some other contemporary shooters.
That being said, It’s not all sunshine and daisies with Battlefront. For instance, some maps could use more spawn points. As such, I’ve had some occasional issues with spawn-killing. It’s frustrating to respawn only to immediately die in an orbital strike. Also the hero’s one-liner’s are corny to begin with and, if heard enough, get annoying. However, what is possibly the biggest downside to Battlefront is the lack of any real single player or campaign mode. This and the fact that the upgrade system isn’t quite as robust as some games has led people to say that Battlefront may have less longevity than other shooters. Dice makes up for some of this though, with an abundance of game types. There is a a single player or two player co-op survival mode where you face increasingly difficult waves of enemies. There’s also 9 different multi-player game types, some of which I think are fantastic and some that are a little more hit or miss.
A few gameplay types that stood out for me were Walker Assault, Supremacy, and Drop Zone. Walker Assault is an asymmetrical gametype where the imperials attack with an AT-AT and the rebels have to destroy it before it reaches their base. Supremacy is the closest to traditional Battlefront with 20 vs. 20 games focused on capturing control points. Drop Zone is the faster paced, mini version of Supremacy. It has 8 vs. 8 matches where you fight for control of cashed drop pods. The other modes are: Cargo – a capture the flag mode; Blast – a team deathmatch mode; Droid Run – king of the hill where Droids that move around are the hill; Fighter Squadron – an aerial dogfight mode; Hero Hunt – a juggernaut mode where everyone is against one hero and whoever kills them gets to play as the hero; and Hero’s vs. Villains where the only playable characters are hero’s such as Luke Skywalker or villains like Boba Felt.
There are 12 different maps included with the game at launch with two more to be released before the movie in December in the free “Battle of Jakku” DLC. Most of the maps are based in the familiar locales of Endor, Hoth, and Tatooine but there are also maps based on the Imperial planet Sullust, which until now was only mentioned in Return of the Jedi. All of the maps are incredibly detailed and seem to do a good job of encouraging different play styles. The tight maze-like streets of Mos Eisley encourage close quarters combat while the ample hiding spots and bridges in the forests of Endor encourage longe range and sniping. The maps also have lots of different paths to get around so they don’t fall into the bad habit games sometimes have of funneling everyone into one area to be slaughtered. All together, the maps are equally well crafted and balanced.
Battlefront has a lot going for it. It’s easily one of the best looking and sounding games so far this generation. It has excellent gameplay and several new game modes but, with some minor gameplay annoyances, the lack of any single player and some questioning it’s staying power, it’s not perfect. In the end, one of the things I like most about Star Wars is the world it inhabits, and Battlefront does a fantastic job of picking you up and putting you right in the middle of that world. So if you like shooters and have even a little love for Star Wars, it would be hard to go wrong with Battlefront.