Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
We played on: PlayStation 4
When I first stepped over the ridge on Hoth, the first thing I noticed was the view. It was absolutely stunning. The sun shot off the snowy mountain landscape, and as I looked out over the chaos of the enormous battle taking place before me, I was almost taken aback at how beautiful it all really was. What I didn’t see, however, was the person shooting at me. Only when I died did I finally learn where the stormtrooper was…on nearly the other side of the map. Frustrated, I respawned and made my way back into the fray. These two moments perfectly sum up what Star Wars Battlefront is: beautiful, but so, so frustrating.
Again, the first thing we really have to start with is just how stunning the game looks and sounds. During my time playing, there were many moments where I found myself wandering aimlessly through the map, exploring my beautiful surroundings. To go along with that, the game sounds just like you’d want a Star Wars game to sound. As you run through the map, you’ll hear laser blasts firing around you, the familiar sound of TIE fighters racing overhead, and the classic musical scores you have come to love. DICE truly took their time with this and it shows. It perfectly hits upon that authentic Star Wars feel.
The game features nine different game modes. While some showcase just how fun and massive the world can be, there are others that are the stale games of “capture this thing” that we’re used to playing. Fighter Squadron and Hero Hunt are the game’s most fun modes. They offer players something different. Fighter Squadron features aerial combat. Hero Hunt involves hunting down one of the six heroes in the game. These modes showcase just how enjoyable the game can be. While Battlefront may lack the game modes needed to carry it past other shooters, it gets right what it needs to and perfectly captures the feel of a Star Wars battle.
For those who might have missed the last two games, the Battlefront series has always prided itself on featuring large-scale battles—something that’s crucial to the world of Star Wars. So it makes perfect sense that the developers of Battlefield got a handle on it this time around. To capture the feel of a Star Wars battle, you need to grasp that sense of being overwhelmed, and Battlefront does the best job of that in any Star Wars game yet. When you’re playing the larger game modes (the game supports up to 40 people playing at once), it’s not uncommon to find dogfights taking place in the skies above you, battles between AT-ATs and rebel soldiers on the ground, and Darth Vader clashing with Han Solo. While DICE did streamline gameplay to a degree, when you play, it still feels like you are just a small cog in a very large machine. This is truly where Battlefront succeeds in making you feel like you’re actually inside the world of Star Wars, trying to lead the Alliance or the Empire to victory. Sadly, where Battlefront excels in looking and feeling like Star Wars, it doesn’t exactly succeed at being an exceptional shooter.
In a world filled with countless other shooters, there has to be something here to keep non-Star Wars fans playing, and there doesn’t seem to be much. Combat can get repetitive very fast. While it is fun running around in the world of Star Wars, it will take only one or two instances of dying from a giant robot to make you want to stop playing. You can earn credits through in-game play, but there isn’t much in the way of customization. Most of the weapons you earn are standard blaster rifles or pistols. It would have been nice to see something done in terms of modifying these weapons in different ways.
When all is said and done, Battlefront comes the closest of any game to making you feel like you’re actually inside the world of Star Wars. The landscapes are huge, and the battles are massive. While there are lulls during some game modes, DICE still manages to do a fine job creating a game for Star Wars fans. For die-hard Star Wars fans and people who have been waiting for a new iteration, Battlefront is going to end up as a must-buy. If you’re looking for a bit more bang for your buck, however, be thankful that there are a bunch of other options out there.