Star Wars Battlefront released this week, continuing the merchandising onslaught in support of Star Wars Ep 7: The Force Awakens.
This latest edition is the first major Star Wars AAA game launch since Disney purchased the IP in 2012, but technically it’s the third game in the series since Lucasarts’ Star Wars Battlefront 2 in 2005. We’ve been blasting our way through and here are our thoughts.
A huge part of the buzz around this game is that Dice Studios was given complete access to props, costumes and designs at Lucasfilm when creating game assets. All of that painstaking research has paid off… as Derek Zoolander would say, “Star Wars Battlefront is ridiculously good looking.” Everything looks great and feels like Star Wars in the game, and the design of non-movie costumes and props merges seamlessly with what we know and love from the movies. The art direction on this game is really commendable.
Another highlight of the game is the ability to take control of Star Wars heroes and villians during gameplay. One of the tutorial missions allows you to play as Darth Vader during the takeover of Echo Base in The Empire Strikes Back and it was a blast to walk in as Vader and start ripping things apart. Six heroes are in game to choose from: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Boba Fett (naturally) and The Emperor. For the most part, character models are pretty great but for some reason Luke looks a little creepy, maybe due to the bowl haircut and what looks like a black leotard? Six characters seems like a pretty small assortment, but without a doubt more will be added in the form of purchasable DLC.
However, once the detail and richness of the game world and the novelty of “heroes and villains” wears off… Star Wars Battlefront really starts to show it’s shallowness. This beauty of this game engine could have provided some truly cinematic story experiences, but there is absolutely no single player or story campaign at all. Nada. Bupkus. And although it is pretty easy to get into almost a dozen different types of multi-player match ups, there is no way for squad members to communicate with each other in game. Which means you spawn, run around and shoot people, die, respawn, etc. Battlefront also features classic Star Wars vehicles that you can fly in/drive around and shoot people, die, respawn, etc. but that, in a nutshell, is the game experience.
Ultimately, whether or not you decide to purchase Star Wars Battlefront depends on how much of a Star Wars fan you are. For hardcore fans, this is a no brainer. But with so many other great games being released in time for the holidays, it’s hard to say this is must have game at launch. Star Wars Ep 7 related downloadable content (DLC) is slated for early December, and it’s almost certain that additional DLC will probably be added early next year.
All in all Star Wars Battlefront is a pretty good game, but it currently suffers from a lack of features and replay value. In Dice Studios’ defense, we have no doubt this game was rushed out in order to be a product tie in for Star Wars Ep 7, and we are hopeful that it can be enriched by lots of additional DLC. The bigger gameplay issues probably won’t be addressed until the inevitable Star Wars Battlefront 2 (or 4 depending on how you’re counting) just in time for Star Wars Ep 8.