Star Wars Battlefront Review

By Marc Hollinshead, 1 year ago
With a new film on the horizon and a game recently released, Star Wars seems to be very much at the forefront of a lot of people's minds. The decades old franchise has already made a huge impact in both the film and game industry, but this year sees its rebirth with the The Force Awakens and Star Wars Battlefront. On the gaming side, Battlefront has a lot going for it due to the previous Star Wars titles and a lot of hype surrounding the new game itself. However, with a debate raging over the game's beta, there are mixed feelings about whether it's the ultimate Star Wars experience for which we've been waiting. With that in mind, does it manage to capture the essence of the beloved franchise or should it be taken to a galaxy far, far away?

Is the force strong with this one?Is the force strong with this one?

Battlefront has no story whatsoever. It exchanges a single player campaign for a full blown multiplayer battle experience. For a universe that is rich in story, the omission of a proper campaign mode is disappointing, but the developers have attempted to counteract this with the battle and survival missions. This means that if people are wanting a break from the multiplayer, they can jump into something just for themselves or with a friend.

If you choose to play survival missions, you will be placed in the shoes of a rebel soldier attempting to escape an imperial base. The aim is to survive fifteen waves of enemies by using the arsenal that you are given before you get picked up or manage to power up whatever means of escape you have yourself. Each mission starts with a short cutscene to explain why you are in that situation, but it's nothing special; it's ultimately an excuse to explain why you are stuck battling a lot of enemies. While it feels contrived, the main focus is on gameplay not story. The enemies are fairly limited in variety, ranging from basic storm troopers to the deadly AT-ST's. Pods will spawn during certain waves for you to claim and receive power ups if the need arises, but they can be ignored. You will also be given a number of lives to spend if you die, so if you run out it's game over. When playing alone, though, the feeling of needing a friend is always apparent as the missions seem as though they were designed to be more efficiently played in co-op. Playing with a friend, whether it's split-screen or online, is definitely the better way to play.

The other mission option available is the battle missions. While these amount to killing hordes of enemies like survival, the overall aim is different. You can either choose to battle the AI or a friend, and you'll be asked to amass a total of 100 points through killing enemies and collecting the tokens that they drop. As your potential death boosts the enemy's points, the battles can be intense due to you balancing safety and risks to reach the target. You will either be engaging the enemy as an infantry soldier in regular battle missions or taking on the role of one of Star Wars' famous characters in Hero battle missions. Each of these "Heroes" is much stronger in both health and damage dealt and they have different abilities to suit numerous play styles. While it is still enjoyable to experiment with each of the characters in this mode, it will quickly become repetitive and the only thing bringing you back will be playing on harder difficulties and gaining more of the mission stars that reward in-game currency. Overall, the missions are forgettable and it's hard not to wish that an explosive single player campaign could have taken their place instead.

Stormtroopers are no match for Luke SkywalkerStormtroopers are no match for Luke Skywalker

If you're not in one of the game's missions then you'll be blasting your way through one of the many multiplayer modes on offer. Where Battlefront falls down in offline content, it tries to make up for it in multiplayer. You have the option of either first or third person mode for all multiplayer modes and, fortunately, both perspectives work perfectly fine for the game. Even if you aren't a killing machine in online shooters, this choice, along with fluid controls in aiming and character movement, helps to make the gameplay accessible for everyone.

At launch the game has a total of nine multiplayer modes, so there is plenty from which to choose. The player base is spread well, meaning that there was never any waiting around to start a match or discovering that one of the modes was unpopular, although there are particular modes that are more favourable than others. Despite this, there are a couple of modes that are either very similar to each other or just aren't all that creative. Like almost every multiplayer game in existence, Battlefront has its own version of team deathmatch with Blast. This is simple enough, as both teams aim to either get the most kills in the allotted time or reach the kill limit.

Supremacy is another fairly basic mode that has each team pushing forwards towards enemy bases to take them over and thus advance to the finish. Maps are opened up more for modes such as these and the fight is spread across a large space, which helps to create chaotic battles. Droid Run and Drop Zone share similarities as they, again, rely on claiming an object for your team. Droid Run is the better of the two as the winning team must be in full possession of three moving droids for a specific amount of time to get the win. If one droid is in the process of being lost, and the match timer is at zero, it will still continue until all droids are fully claimed by one team. This means that everything could change even at the last minute, which is exhilarating for both teams. Drop Zone isn't as enthralling because it's rather simple in design. Get the required amount of points from claiming each singular pod and your team wins.

Three against seven. Seems fairThree against seven. Seems fair

Battlefront also has its own take on other known modes such as Cargo, where both teams are required to infiltrate the opposing base and steal a package to take back to their own base. What's different here, though, is that each team starts off with five points. Whenever one team successfully retrieves the cargo, it pushes their points total up to six and the opposition's total down to four. It's possible to get a clean sweep and win 10-0 but there is always a risk where the losing team can make a comeback and push their score back up. Although these are modes that are consistently crafted into games, Battlefront does what it can to make them all feel interesting.

To help make Battlefront shine above the rest, there are a few unique modes that'll entice you into coming back for more. Hero Hunt has one player as one of the six hero characters while the others, as mere rebels or imperials, attempt to kill them. The hero is able to kill everyone with one or two swift hits, and so everyone will be working together to take them down. Once they have been eliminated, the one who dealt the killing blow will ascend to hero status and the cycle will begin again. Heroes and Villains is a larger scale version of this where all heroes and villains will be pitted against each other, along with rebel fighters and storm troopers, and the first team to defeat all of the opposing heroes wins. Unfortunately, these two modes are the only time where the available Star Wars cast are fully utilized and, even then, you won't be playing as them throughout the entire match. Their power is certainly translated well into matches, but seeing more of them would have strengthened the multiplayer.

Heroes are occasionally seen in Battlefront's Walker Assault mode, but these are only rare powerups. However, the chaos and epic scale of this mode thwarts this issue. The imperials will be attempting to shut down rebel uplinks so that the gigantic AT-AT walkers that they are escorting can eradicate the rebel base. The rebels on the other hand, will be doing all they can to keep these uplinks online so that their Y-Wing fighters can make the AT-AT's vulnerable to damage, and thus give the rebels a chance to attack them and ultimately destroy them. Air fighters also come into play here and they help to add to the carnage, although they are sparse like the heroes. It is easily one of the better modes of the game as up to 20 players can be on each team, making for a grand battle full of lazers, explosions and fantastic spectacles.

Keep that walker safe!Keep that walker safe!

The final multiplayer mode on offer is Fighter Squadron. This is an all-out battle in the game's air fighters. Teams will be valiantly fighting towards winning 200 points and special ship pickups can also be gained here. Periodically throughout the match, teams will have the chance to attack opposing transport vessels in a small time frame to rack up points. AI ships are fruitful too so chaos reigns supreme in this mode. It can be quite hard to get a large amount of kills here, though, as ships are flying rapidly and some skill is needed to lock on and kill enemies. Despite this slight flaw, the essence of battle is captured well and those iconic sound effects that are loved by Star Wars fans are a delight to hear.

By now, it's clear that there are a lot of choices when playing multiplayer and there is a decent amount of variety, but that's where Battlefront tries to put all its charm. After playing through enough of the missions and playing all multiplayer modes, only 12 hours were clocked in the game. After that, it was a process of repeating everything again to rank up and get more credits for weapons. While there are different guns for particular shooting styles, there aren't that many weapons in the game and you'll quickly realise that there isn't a lot to be seen. Right from the start, even the main menu hints at this. It definitely has a sleek and smooth design, but the plain white background looks too overbearing and gives the impression that something is missing.

Some well-known characters are nowhere to be seen and R2-D2 only appears on the menus, staring back at you with his little red dot of an eye. The lack of a story gives the heroes no personality and they simply act as buffed up soldiers with individual abilities. While there is the promise of more content on the way, an obtrusive "Season Pass" tab sits on the main menu, waiting for your curiosity to give in. More launch content would have been welcome, but the developers have obviously endeavored to cloud this through a hefty amount of multiplayer modes.

Where's your beloved Chewie, Han?Where's your beloved Chewie, Han?

Throughout all the craziness of battle, bugs were fairly minimal. One match saw the player character getting stuck on a tree branch. The anarchy of Walker Assault also caused the game to freeze and require a restart. These two problems aside, everything ran well without much slow-down, so your experience should be smooth sailing. Be prepared to jump a lot on the Endor map, though. Trees are not your friend.

To get all of the 43 achievements that make up the full 1000G in Battlefront, you will need to spend a lot of time out in the field. Reaching rank 50 will take time, but along the way you will be needing to do plenty of tasks in all multiplayer modes. Playing through all missions to the death is also a requirement, and you'll need to have your wits about you if you want to complete them on Master difficulty. You'll be at this for a while if you want the completion, but it is attainable with a bit of determination.

Summary

Is Star Wars Battlefront the galactic fantasy for which we've been waiting? Well, yes and no. The multiplayer can be fantastic at times and battles play out beautifully and smoothly in all modes. The game looks sleek and listening to those iconic blasters adds to the thrill of play. However, with lackluster battle and survival missions replacing a proper campaign, it stops the title from being as amazing as it could have been. Multiplayer is extremely enjoyable, there is no doubt about it, and it's accessible for everyone who jumps in, but you will quickly see everything that the game currently has to offer and the wide variety of online modes won't stop that. If you absolutely love the battles of Star Wars and shooters in general, you will have a blast with this, but if you want to immerse yourself in the richness of the characters and story, you will be pining for just a bit more. If you take the game at face value, it is still an enjoyable ride to a galaxy far, far away.
3.5 / 5
Positives
  • Smooth and sleek in both control and design
  • Iconic sounds and objects give excitement to battle
  • Multiplayer is enjoyable and accessible
Negatives
  • Lack of launch content
  • Missions are uninteresting
  • Quickly becomes repetitve
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent 19 hours battling through all modes and missions as both the rebellion and the empire and earned 29 of the game's 43 achievements along the way. An Xbox One copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.