Star Wars: Battlefront wants you to feel like you’ve stepped through the silver screen, and straight into the heart of one of the world’s greatest science fiction stories. DICE has done a fantastic job of bringing the world to life. But, as a game, Star Wars: Battlefront feels like it could have used a little more time in the shipyard.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Star Wars: Battlefront, is the intense amount of detail that DICE has put into everything. The shine of the Stormtroopers armor as they run across the snowy plains of Hoth, the sounds of X-Wings and TIE Fighters shooting through the sky overhead, and even the minute details of the beautifully green forests of Endor all feel like they’ve been ripped straight from the movies that kept us captivated as children.
This beauty can be deceiving though. Star Wars: Battlefront uses its wonderful sound design and beautiful iconic locations to lure you in and trap you. It’s the greatest looking game that the Star Wars world has seen, and it’s fantastic at making you feel like part of the world. But this beauty can only go so far, and with only four locations to explore (there are thirteen maps spread across four locations in the game), there’s only so much you can see before it all starts to blend and look the same.
Because Star Wars is such a massive universe, and because it features such a massive fan base of different-minded people, DICE has chosen to take a very casual approach to the game, and how the various weapons and systems work. Getting into a game is as easy as logging in, and choosing a mode to play. The game takes a very simplistic approach to things, and it works… for a little bit.
The problem with this simple approach, however, is the lack of variety featured in the game. Although there are plenty of different of options for weapons and gadgets, most of them feel the same. Every Blaster Rifle and Blaster Pistol I’ve tried out in my time with the game has had a similar feel. The biggest uniqueness the game’s weapon system has is the Star Card system, which feels a lot like Titanfall’s Burn Cards.
Unlike Burn Cards, which expire after one use, Star Cards simply recharge, allowing you to reuse them again and again. This is how you receive items like Jump Packs, Thermal Detonators, and even sniper rifles. It’s a unique little system that helps to replace the lack of classes offered in Battlefront, but it also makes the battles feel a bit stale after a while. Top this with the fact that all the fun gadgets (like jetpacks) don’t unlock until you’ve put quite a few hours into Battlefront, and the Star Card system feels more like a hindrance than a help.
The Long Game
The biggest issue that Star Wars: Battlefront faces is keeping its players involved and playing. The base game feels small for a $60 release, and the maps offered can get old after a few hours of replaying. For a multiplayer game that’s boasting a $50 season pass, and a year of DLC content to come, Star Wars: Battlefront feels like it was pulled out of the oven a little too soon.
I’ve put over 50 hours into the game so far (10 on Xbox One, and 40+ on PlayStation 4), and at this point in time I’m ready to walk away and give it a little break. Is Star Wars: Battlefront a bad game? No, not at all. It’s a beautiful and fulfilling reenactment of some of the most iconic and amazing moments in Star Wars history. But it’s also a huge letdown for those of us who have been waiting years for a proper Battlefront sequel to arise again.
The game's lack of a singleplayer campaign is fixed by offering up several survival and co-op missions, which feel lackluster and fail to offer any form of replayability for fans. Dice's choice to not offer a server browser is also both a success and a failure. Sometimes I had to wait several minutes to find a match in some of the game's less-played modes, and even then I'd only be in a match with four to five people. This wasn't an issue when playing the more popular modes like Supremacy and Walker Assault, but when trying to find a game in Droid Run, or Hero Hunt, it was a huge problem both on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems.
The Bigger Picture
Star Wars: Battlefront is everything a Star Wars fan could want. The game’s locations feel iconic, complete recreations of the beautiful settings introduced to us in the movies. But the game’s casual attitude towards weapons, and the limited number of locations to explore make Star Wars: Battlefront sizzle out far too early. Top that with an exorbitant DLC offer, which features content that feels like it could be in the base game, and EA has already done a great job of freezing Star Wars: Battlefront in carbonite before it’s even had a chance to live a fulfilling life.
This review is based on a digital code provided by the publisher. Star Wars: Battlefront is available in retail and digital stores today, for $59.99. The game is rated T.