A few weeks ago, I casually said to my kids, “Hey guys, want to know what game I’m reviewing for Pixelkin this month?”
“What is it?” they asked.
“STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT?!” they shrieked.
“…I see you’ve heard of it.”
Like most kids, mine are Star Wars freaks. They first heard about Battlefront a few months ago at school, so they were really excited to give it a try. And, having tried it now myself, I can say unequivocally that they were right to be excited — this is a really, really cool game.
Well, it’s really cool for my kids to play. As an uncoordinated adult, I was completely hopeless at it. But I am mature enough to say that while I wanted to throw my controller through a wall, retrieve it, throw it through a different wall, retrieve it again, and then jump on it, a normal person who can consistently tell their left from their right will undoubtedly love this game.
My son taught me how to play, and mercifully got me started with some “Training Missions.” I began on Hoth, trying to destroy Probe Droids. The look of Star Wars: Battlefront is amazing — the graphics are exceptional and do a great job of drawing you in and making you feel like you’re there. I couldn’t wait to get to Endor and hug me an Ewok.
What I learned on this Hoth mission was that a) I have spectacularly bad aim at anything that isn’t standing still, and b) I am unable to follow arrows. Here is an actual conversation between my son and me:
“Ben, where do I go?”
“See the yellow arrow?”
“Just go in that direction.”
“Wait, this way?”
“No, Mom. Behind you.”
I have a very patient boy.
We then did a training mission together, in which one of us would be Darth Vader and the other would be Emperor Palpatine. I said I wanted to be Darth Vader (because of course), but my son said, “But Mom, he doesn’t even have a long-range sniper!” Given his tone of voice, I took this to be bad thing and went for Palpatine instead. This is when my son, as Darth Vader, went on a killing spree while I tried to figure out where all the bad guys were. At one point, Emperor Palpatine was wandering around what looked to be the base’s cafeteria while Vader was out slaughtering innocents. I got frustrated and said, “Ben, can you wait and let me kill a few guys? You’re killing all of them and I haven’t gotten a chance to kill one!”
It was then that I thought, Maybe now would be a good time to put down the remote for a tick.
Later, we did another training mission on Sallust, a planet I am apparently not enough of a Star Wars nerd to recognize. In this one we were both AT-STs, helping AT-ATs take out the rebels. If I had to choose a word to describe this level, it would be, “plodding.” Remember how slowly those things moved in the movies? Well, the game makes no effort to speed things up in the interest of time. It was — and I mean this — physically, psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally a painful experience. It was so bad that I still haven’t made it to Endor, where I plan to have my character kidnap an Ewok. But I’ll get there. (Say goodbye to your family now, Wicket.)
As my son noted several times, Star Wars: Battlefront is set up a lot like Plants Versus Zombies: Garden Warfare. The big difference is that while PVZGW looks and feels like a silly, cartoony, and fun video game, SWBF makes you feel like you’re in a movie. For kids who can handle violence (nothing over the top, but people do get killed here instead of ears of corn, for example) and love Star Wars, this game is a dream. And for adults like me who like to watch and reminisce, and who can handle it when Darth Vader tells them, “I am not pleased with your progress,” (ouch, Darth) it’s a fun and beautiful game to enjoy with your kids.