Review: Star Wars Battlefront (Xbox One)

Star Wars Battlefront: Official GBAtemp Review

Xbox One 3,305 views 7 likes 17 comments
Reviewed by Austin Trujillo, posted Nov 19, 2015
Nov 19, 2015
  • Release Date (NA): November 17, 2015
  • Release Date (EU): November 17, 2015
  • Release Date (JP): November 17, 2015
  • Publisher: EA
  • Developer: DICE
  • Genres: FPS
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
  • Also For: Computer, PlayStation 4
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
It’s the year of Star Wars, and the latest highly anticipated movie is coming soon. So in the meantime, how about we pass the time by finding out if DICE’s new Battlefront game is worth the money and the time sink? This is Star Wars Battlefront!
Austin Trujillo

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A Long Time Ago... There were some really good graphics and sound effects

Battlefront takes place in the original trilogy of movies, meaning you don’t have to worry about Jar Jar Binks screaming in your ear, or Midi-chlorians making you angry at lore decisions.

I think the first thing I noticed about Battlefront was how cinematically pleasing it is, even when it has next to no cinematics in the game. The graphics are fantastically stylized and realistic and create this immersive atmosphere of placing you in the Star Wars universe. Every mark of land, every simple little nook and cranny of a rebel stronghold, and every weapon and NPC look like they were popped from the movie into this game.

And the sound design, oh lord, the sound design. Every pull of the trigger fires off that iconic laser blast sound effect and everything around you breathes Star Wars. I have to give the developer props for taking so many minor things about the universe and placing them into this game to create a fuller Star Wars experience.

But while the game makes everything look and sound good, the better question to be asked is how does it all play?

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In a Galaxy Far Far Away... There was some good and bad gameplay...

Well for starters, there is no offline single player, as we mentioned in a news post earlier this year. Battlefront instead contains 9 multiplayer modes ranging from hero vs villain 3 vs 3, Space craft dog-fights between X-wings and TIE fighters, and huge 40 player battles involving various objectives. Each of these game-modes takes place on either Tatooine, Hoth, the Forest Moon of Endor, or Sullest, with multiple maps on each area.

While the game differs itself from some of the Battlefront series’ original modes in favor of more Battlefield-esque gamemodes, many of them feel familiar to the veterans as well as welcoming to new players. Supremacy mode is one example, bearing similarities to Battlefronts’ original Conquest mode. Supremacy has you attempting to capture 5 control points in sequential order to achieve victory, all while fending off a team of 20 players manning turrets, various vehicles, or just running in on foot and punching you in the face, which unfortunately happened to me on several occasions.

All of these modes feature powerups that allow range from simple guns, to vehicles like the iconic AT-AT, or even spawning as a Hero or Villain character. The heroes included are Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia, while the Empire has access to Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine and Boba Fett. All heroes and villains feature an arsenal of powerful abilities and can take considerably more damage than a regular player character.

Controlling the heroes is easy, and the range of abilities makes for interesting combat should you happen to pick up the powerup. Palpatine can blast people with force lighting, Boba Fett can fly around with his jetpack and fire his rockets at scurrying rebels, and even Princess Leia can perform some devastating critical shots with her blaster.

Picking up these powerups is completely random, which can be unfortunate and lead to you going multiple games without ever picking up a vehicle or a hero/villain spawn. I myself didn’t get to play as Boba Fett until having played 16 games, due to never being able to find the powerup anywhere near me. The randomization does help keep things balanced in a sense, but it would have been nicer if they had gone for a more streamlined killstreak experience that could reward you for solid play, or even give you powerups for lacking performance to help give you a better competitive edge. Either way, I’m not the biggest fan of the system in general.

That being said, there are game modes specifically for Hero Fighting and Vehicle dog fights. My most memorable experience in this game comes from playing the Fighter Squadron mode, where I was able to use my TIE fighter to suicide bomb the Millennium Falcon at the end of the game and win the match for my team.

Vehicle controls work very well, and whether you prefer inverted flying mechanics or standard controls, all of that can be customized to your preference. Personally I didn't enjoy flying around in 1st person mode, so I was able to change the camera option to 3rd person to get a better view of the skies and keep track of targets. Fighter Squadron mode, or just using a vehicle in any game-mode in general is an absolute blast and keeps the pacing high and entertaining.

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Sprawling Credits of Gripes and Concerns 

But as far as normal gameplay goes, in and of itself it begins to feel very much like your average competitive FPS. When you’re not in a vehicle or controlling a special character, you are simply a grunt that runs around and shoots things in the same run-and-gun manor Battlefield and Call of Duty are known for. The pacing is quick enough and respawn time is minimal, but that doesn't detract from the overall boring tone the game begins to set if you never get a chance to try any of the cool stuff. In fact, gameplay will suddenly take a turn from wanting to win the match and complete the objectives, to simply running around looking for a powerup because you’re tired of getting shot down by the cooler things you aren't in.

The game has little to entice you into long term play, even with its offered progression systems. Rather than feature any sort of loadout progression and interesting combinations to enhance the multiplayer experience, Battlefront simply offers card based unlocks that mostly remain cosmetic. Credits can be earned by playing matches to buy these card packs, which may reward you with different hair styles, different colored helmets, emotes and maybe a few bonuses that can be used in game.

The only useful unlock I found myself using was a Jump-Pack, which allows you to reach higher ground with ease. This is useful for making quick escapes, and hoping to reach a powerup before one of your teammates takes it.

Weapon cards also exist to add a smaller breadth of options, albeit with very little variety. Temporary homing shots and the occasional pulse cannon can help you out in the long run, but these consumables do little to add to the lack of customization. Any weapon that is unlockable feels exactly the same as the last, which makes sense from the standpoint of everyone in the Star Wars universe being on par with the same blasters, but for a competitive multiplayer game it only makes the experience bland.

Battlefronts short-comings don’t stop at customization either. As mentioned previously, while no single player campaign is available, Battlefront does offer 5 training missions, 4 AI battles, and a typical wave based survival mode. All these really offered to me was an excuse to complain more about the lack of any kind of single player, considering the repetitive nature of the multiplayer.

Overall, Battlefront is the kind of game that I enjoyed for the first few hours of play, only to grow bored and annoyed with the small amount of content currently available. The scale of the game is large, but the offerings are a dime a dozen, the progression is short lived, and I honestly got all of my entertainment value out of it in about 6-8 hours of play.

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Verdict
Pros
+ Fantastic graphics
+ Awesome sound design
Cons
- Incredibly repetitive
- Lacking progression incentives
9 Presentation
I think the presentation is the greatest part of Battlefront. The game looks good, it sounds good, and it feels good.
6 Gameplay
The controls work, the gameplay is fun, and it would all be so much better if it didn't feel like every match was exactly the same as the last one.
6 Lasting Appeal
When the only options I'm given is to continually play the same modes over and over again on relatively the same maps and repetitively go through the same sequences of events, the experience gets old quickly. The initial play is incredibly fun, but the long lasting appeal just isn't long at all.
6.5
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Battlefront was a game I highly anticipated, played like mad, and probably won't revisit. It was fun for the time I got out of it, but the lasting appeal, the lacking sense of progression, and the repetitive nature quickly pushed me away from the game. It's a perfect title for a die-hard Star Wars fan that wants to enjoy a cool multiplayer experience, but only if they are ready to play the same thing over and over again for a long period of time.
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