Editor’s Note, Nov. 15, 2018: The following review is posted for archival purposes only. It is shown in its original form, and may not meet our current editorial standards. Supplemental images or video cannot be displayed and are not included.
Star Wars: Battlefront is a fun game, but it doesn’t really do anything to set itself apart from the games like it and it doesn’t have enough content to warrant a $60 purchase.
The original Star Wars: Battlefront, as well as it’s sequel, Star Wars: Battlefront II, are some of my favorite video games of all time. Hours upon hours of my childhood were spent playing countless bot matches as well as the campaign modes of Battlefront 1 and 2 on the PS2. So, being a huge Battlefront fan, I was pretty hyped when EA announced that DICE was working on a new, revamped, next-gen Battlefront game. When I started playing the game, however, my excitement quickly turned to disappointment; what DICE has made in this reboot is nothing at all like the original series. The game completely lacks all of the original game modes that made the original series so fun. Of course, while this certainly is disappointing, it’s not to say the game doesn’t have its moments.
As I said above, if you expect Battlefront to be a sequel to the original series, you will be disappointed. This game is a complete reboot, and has none of the content from the previous games. None of the original game modes return, and there is no campaign or story mode. In lieu of a campaign mode or an instant action mode, there are three “offline” modes players can play either by themselves or with someone else (even split-screen is supported). “Training Missions” seem to resemble a campaign mode the most, slapping the player into the middle of a fight with a brief explanation of what’s going on and what they need to do. While some of these missions are fun, they’re incredibly short (most are under 5 minutes) and there’s only five of them. Add that to the fact that they don’t come together to tell a single, cohesive story and they feel like they’re just an extra bonus more than anything else.
Another offline mode is “Battles,” which pits players against a team of AI-controlled enemies. The objective of both the player and the bots is too kill their respective enemies and collect tokens for points. The first team to 100 points wins. You can play against a friend in this mode, either over the internet or via split-screen, but there is no open matchmaking for the mode, which is a huge bummer. Battles was my favorite offline mode, as it was the only one that actually had an interesting objective, and it didn’t feel like it’s only purpose was to ooh and aah at the visuals like in the Training Missions. The last offline mode is called “Survival,” where the player must survive 15 waves of increasingly difficult enemies. This mode can be fun at first but for the most part it was pretty boring and didn’t really offer anything too interesting. You just shoot enemies every round until you die or until it’s over, it wasn’t exactly the most engaging mode.
The online, competitive multiplayer is clearly what DICE focused on the most in Star Wars: Battlefront. There are nine modes, none of which come from the original games. Instead DICE opted to create all new modes, and most of them are actually pretty fun. In fact, I liked all of the multiplayer modes; some were better than others, sure, but they were all at the very least okay. Here’s a full list of the game modes, each with a brief description:
- This is the main game mode in multiplayer. It pits two teams of 20 players against each other, and each teams’ objective is to fight for control points that are further and further into the enemy team’s base. Similar to War in Call of Duty or Rush in Battlefield.
- Walker Assault
- This is another 20 v. 20 game mode. The main objective of the rebels is to destroy all AT-ATs, and the main objective of the empire is to protect their AT-ATs.
- Fighter Squadron
- This mode is an aerial-vehicle-only mode. The objective is to destroy the enemy team’s AI-controlled aircraft while also protecting yours.
- The simplest game mode; two teams of 10 kill each other and whoever has the most kills at the end wins. This mode is basically a team deathmatch.
- Two teams of 6 must capture the enemy team’s “cargo” and take it back to their base. This is very similar to capture the flag.
- Drop Zone
- Two teams of 8 fight over control points at drop pods. Players must first claim the drop pod for their team and then defend it until it is captured.
- Droid Run
- Similar to Drop Zone, except players instead fight over roaming droids. Players must claim a droid for their team, and then defend it as it moves across the map.
- Hero Hunt
- This is an asymmetrical game mode where one person is randomly chosen to be a hero. It is then the objective of everyone else to kill that player. Whoever kills that player becomes the hero and the cycle continues.
- Heroes vs. Villains
- Three heroes and three villains are randomly selected at the start of a round. Their objective is to kill the heroes on the other team. The rest of the players can both help kill the enemy team’s heroes and defend their team’s heroes, as well as kill each other.
Again, all of these modes are at least a little fun, and there’s really nothing inherently wrong with the modes themselves. I just wish that DICE would have focused more on creating an experience similar to the previous games, rather than creating their own modes. The game is called Star Wars: Battlefront after all, so it would’ve been nice to have at least seen one game mode carry over.
Multiplayer progression and weapon unlocking in Battlefront is interesting. You don’t simply unlock guns by earning XP and leveling up. Instead the game turns 1/10 of the XP you earn into credits, and then as you level up you make weapons and equipment available to buy using the credits you earn from XP. For example, in order to unlock the jetpack, you must first level up to level 13, and then after you have leveled up enough, you have to also buy it with 3,100 credits. Only then can you equip it. This seems unnecessary, and I would prefer that I just unlocked things as I leveled up, instead of having to both level up and save credits.
From a mechanical viewpoint, Star Wars: Battlefront is a first (or third) person shooter, and it behaves like one. The shooting and aiming feel tight, and overall the game plays like any other FPS. My only complaint in this area is that movement, like in Battlefield, can be a little clunky and feel a little slow; it doesn’t feel quite as twitchy and quick as I like shooters to feel. Visually the game looks great and it runs great too. If all you want is a shooter with a Star Wars skin, then by all means go buy this game. There can be some problems with aliasing, but other then some jaggy edges here and there the game looks great. Same goes for sound design, Star Wars: Battlefront sounds as good as you’d expect a piece of Star Wars media to sound, both in terms of music and effects.
Overall, I feel pretty indifferent towards Battlefront. Nothing really stood out as extremely good or extremely bad in the game. It just feels like a first person shooter with a Star Wars skin. The amount of content is a little disappointing, as well as the lack of any of the original modes that made the previous games so great. But this review isn’t about what it could’ve been, it’s about what it is. Ultimately, Star Wars: Battlefront is a competitive, multiplayer shooter that does nothing to stand out from the other multiplayer shooters out there, other than being set in the Star Wars universe. I leave Star Wars: Battlefront with a feeling of “meh.” Nothing more, nothing less.