This impression is based on the Xbox One system
EA DICE, you had one job and one job only. Bring back a series that missed a console generation and make it fun for everyone. Instead, you took one of the biggest licenses that fans worldwide revere and spew out a game that is just half cooked. It’s absolutely stunning that twice (thrice if you really want to count Battlefield Hardline) already this console generation that EA has hyped a shooter up to unbelievable levels only to let audiences down. Titanfall which was supposed to be a system exclusive killer app for the XBox One fizzled out after under a year and unless EA does some serious work with its DLCs for Battlefront, they will lose the Star Wars crowd with this as well.
So, let’s break this game down:
To start, this game is gorgeous. If this game could be rated on the graphics alone it would get four out of 5 stars. Graphically, EA DICE went through the pains of doing their best to recreate a Star Wars environment and they mostly got it right. I have had little to no issue with the framerate but I did note that some of the hero characters such as Luke and Han Solo had a ‘mushface’ look to them that seemed a bit off. However, there are loads of details that you can see in the uniforms, the vehicles and more. When it comes to customizing your online avatar, there seems to be an insane amount of detail that you can put into trying to personalize your character to fit your gamestyle as you open them up. I was very pleased to note that a lot of minorities and genders were represented and players won’t have to resort to playing “generic white guy #1”.
As with any multiplayer game, there are tons of weapons to unlock, and you now have something called “Star Cards” where you have to earn credits to add to your loadout which can include thermal detonators, impact grenades and more. For those that are in for the multiplayer, they will have a lot to work with. As far as the sound and feel, it’s all there; the snap-hiss of lightsabers, the whine of a TIE Fighter flying overhead and more. It’s hard to miss with the sound effects in a Star Wars game.
As far as the controls, it’s standard Battlefield fare and players can tweak to their style of gameplay. I liked that fact that gamers have the option to play from either 1st or 3rd person perspective with neither detracting from the game. Even the mini-map placement is a big help.
Players of course will get a big thrill being able to use the vehicles iconic to the movie as well. The catch is of course is that for some, you have to have earned tokens to use them. If you are unsure how to use them, there is a single player mode that will allow you to learn on your own without having to dive into a multiplayer game and ruin it for everyone. It’s suffice to say, that if gamers play long enough at some point they will get to try a little bit of everything. In one of the Walker Assault matches I played, I lucked up and got a chance to use the AT-ST and was able to rack up a considerable amount of damage to help my side win. And speaking of…when playing multiplayer modes, with 40 people, it feels like a very crowded and hectic battlefield. Everyone from novice to pro has a chance to get in on the action and like its Battlefield counterpart, gamers get points for doing more than just kill. Taking and holding objectives earns points as well. There are a few other ways to win and players of any skill can rank up pretty quickly. The multiplayer component does some other things pretty well such as allowing players to set up choke points, if everyone does their jobs as well as adequately defend objectives, with the caveat again being…IF EVERYONE DOES THEIR JOB.
Yes, there is a huge disturbance in the Force and most of it comes from feeling like this game is half baked with EA getting us on the back end with DLC. I don’t know where to begin. Maybe it’s that we only start with four maps to play from, with a 5th being added on December 8 (a week earlier if you were a good little gamer and pre ordered the game) and thankfully it’s free. There is still the huge question as why the single player is severely lacking and it’s not like EA DICE couldn’t have taken more time out to add a well thought out campaign and give it polish for those who may not wish to play online. Instead, solo players are treated to matches which equates to being a barebones ‘kill confirmed’ experience, where you have to get 100 points to win. You can play the horde modes which can be somewhat interesting but still falls flat. You can even try some of these same modes as iconic characters. The problem is, there is no way to tailor the matches to play how you want. In comparison, with latest iterations of Call of Duty, you had the ability of creating a map to give you the entire flavor of playing online without ever being online. You can even set up private matches to play with friends. While you do have the option of playing with your friends on Battlefront, you are only allowed one other player. Oh yeah, you can play split screen…yay. The single player experience sans campaign is really nothing more than a mode designed to get you to play online and worst yet unless you specifically play the vehicle mode, you really can’t use then in single player combat. One of the ways that this choice is forced upon you is that if you complete these tedious single player matches, you earn credits towards purchasing items for your online character.
Remember when Yoda warned Luke about going into the cave? Well, consider everything thus far written to be a warning and if you have followed the beta, you already know what to expect and regardless, you know if you are going to get this game no matter what.
Fact is, the Multiplayer component is still a mess. It took a while for me to get into a few multiplayer matches but it’s to be expected during a new online release so I won’t hold EA’s feet to the fire too much over that. The problem is however, players have absolutely zero control about groups they are thrust in or sides that they choose to be on. This was a similar issue in Battlefield 3 as well. Players for now, cannot customize their multiplayer experience, can’t yet play with friends, (two of mine got lost and we never found each other again on our play through) and worst of all, there is no way yet to coordinate teams.
Let’s talk about the one big elephant in the room and that is the Walker Assault. Real Talk: The first time you play Walker Assault, it’s fun. It’s fun from the perspective that you feel like you are actually playing one of the battles from the movie. The scale and the intensity is something that’s never been seen gamewise. You are either protecting these lumbering behemoths from being taken down or you are the crew whose mission it is to take them down. But, remember when I mentioned about people doing their jobs? That is the caveat of winning if you are unfortunate to play as the Rebellion in your match. As it was in the beta, it’s still one of the most broken multiplayer matches (Remember EA DICE admitted that it was broken by the way) and the problem stems from what’s required for Rebels to win. For one it’s teamwork and since it’s nigh impossible to coordinate 40 people to play efficiently as opposed to the mad scramble that actually happens, some forward thinking souls will actually try and hold the Comlink objectives that you need to hold to call in Y-Wing support to take down the AT-ATs. The problem is, while 2 or 3 people are scrambling to hold the objectives, hordes of Imperial soldiers are also making their way to the objectives and winning with overwhelming numbers. Thus, it’s not a matter of if you can stop the Walkers, it’s when to know to fall back and just wait for the inevitability of an Imperial win. In the matches I have played in as the Rebels, thus far we only got one win and it was a lucky one at that. As the Imperials, we have yet to lose a match. One last point about doing one’s job is that something that is sorely missed here is something that has slowly disappeared from Battlefield and that’s player classes. It would have been nice to see them in some form here where if a turret is broken an engineer could fix it, or if your squadmates were hurt a medic could patch them up. That’s practically gone now as everyone’s job is to run shoot, maybe grab an objective and continue. Some readers may be questioning why worry about classes. One gamer I heard from stated that classes allowed for variety to approach different situations. (Some) would often find themselves needing to switch classes to achieve a particular objective or provide cover for infantry etc. Being able to switch classes brought a sense of a job everyone had to play out. When everyone can do everything it makes no one special. (Thanks G.S.R.!!)
Some of the other modes are standard fare which include
Supremacy – which is domination and I have yet to be able to get into as game queues quickly filled
Droid Run – a 6 on 6 mode with players trying to grab 3 power droids
Blast – your standard team deathmatch mode
Heroes vs Villains – teams fight against each other to protect their hero character stay alive
Hero Hunt – One player plays as an Iconic character and takes on a team of 7 others…wait…didn’t 2K Games do this game (Evolve) earlier this year?
There are a few other modes as well but these are the most notable.
In conclusion, EA DICE missed a huge opportunity to score big with all Star Wars fans. EA DICE pushed out a game in which they are relying on possibly numerous patches to fix balance issues not to mention the dearth of different maps to play on. While multiplayer can be fun to play on, players ultimately have no say in creating and customizing their experience, rather they are just thrust in to the experience. Those wanting a good single player experience will be disappointed by the threadbare modes that are given but there may be hope that along the line EA will listen to complaints and give fans a decent single player experience but I won’t hold my breath. Besides, why should we wait for DLC to address the issue when this should have been done in the initial release? Personally, I would rather have seen this game take another year to develop as some of what should have been in the game was fine tuned, than this rush job to grab money with the movie on the horizon.
But let’s be brutally honest, fans will buy this game no matter how broken it is. It’s been about 10 years since the last Battlefront game and even after missing a console generation, just the mere mention of a Star Wars game will bring fans to the table. We as fans and as gamers deserve more and this truthfully isn’t the game we were looking for. We wanted a game that could bring balance to the Force, not leave this franchise in darkness. I would strongly caution anyone with a casual interest to unlearn what they thought they knew and investigate fully before getting this game especially if they were expecting a fully fleshed out single player experience. Many of us knew about this game’s shortcomings for months and seeing some of those shortcomings fully manifested makes me wonder how any future Star Wars titles are going to be received. What will it take to get the next KOTOR? Who do we have to petition to get a new TIE vs X-Wing? Better yet who can we trust to do it and get it RIGHT? If EA DICE burns fans here with Battlefront, can they fully expect fans to come back for any new Star Wars titles? Again, that’s all EA DICE had to do…get Battlefront right and they couldn’t even do that. If you do decide to go forward and buy, go knowing that this isn’t the deepest experience that we could have gotten.
2.5 Force Chokes out of 5