Star Wars Battlefront: A Pyrrhic Victory

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Game Review: Star Wars Battlefront

 Note: When sentences or phrases start and end with an asterisk, read it in Yoda’s voice.

Preceding Christmas’ blockbuster movie release of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens is the highly anticipated reboot of Electronic ArtsStar Wars Battlefront, which had many fans of “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” and gamers trying their hardest to keep from wetting their consoles with drool.

In Star Wars Battlefront, players can take on the role of the heroic Soldiers of the Rebel Alliance or stay on the side of villainy as Stormtroopers of the Galactic Empire, to complete unique tasks and missions in a first-person action video game. The game is developed by EA Digital Illusions CE for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows and UrbanWire got to try this on Xbox One.

*To feel the force, we shall try.*

 

Gameplay

 While the game is installing, players already get a feel of the gameplay as they step into the shoes of Darth Vader. Prompts appear to show players how to look around, walk around and basically play the game. You’ll destroy the unfortunate oncoming Rebel Alliance soldiers with relative ease, but the intensity of this practice session is a far cry from when you play the actual game.

Be it online or offline, the game is smooth and fluid (unless you’re being shot endlessly and mercilessly for failing to take cover, of course). There’s no button lag and no real bugs (though we once got stuck in what was possibly a Luggabeast skeleton and was subsequently blasted to death by an AT-AT).

*Find a reason to smash your controller, I doubt you will.*

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Oh, crank up the volume on your television set or headphones. The audio’s scintillating: that wonderful crackling of a lightsaber dismembering an enemy’s body, clear instructions of Stormtroopers to one another, the zaps of lightning from The Emperor’s fingertips. Add that to the credible voice acting of the characters, especially the heroes and villains, which sent chills up our spines and you get an immersive gameplay.

 

Game Aesthetic

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*Visually stunning, Star Wars Battlefront is.*

This is easily a massive improvement over Kinect Star Wars, the last Star Wars game released in 2012.

Details are finely etched on every single character, piece of equipment and location. Playing in first player view further showcases the lovely art developed by EA.

Far too often, a game’s graphics is overhyped and ends up falling flat when you actually play the game. The inconsistent graphics from WWE2K16 is one to call out. However, this game’s graphics and sheer beauty is true to its trailers, and made us really embrace the inhospitable alien lands of Tatooine, Sullust, Hoth and Endor.

Movement, which is obviously vital to the game is distinctive to each character and, better still, in synch with the ones we’re familiar with in the cinematic portrayal, making it all more realistic. A Stormtrooper marches with trained steps, while Hans Solo bobbles around confidently; his bouncy steps almost an indication of his fearlessness, never mind the threat of getting blasted in the face by his opposition.

We shudder at the thought of the crazy game physics we had to deal with in Kinect Star Wars. The movement of that character was jammy, and the sound lagged at times which is inexcusable these days. What Star Wars Battlefront offers is a galaxy away from that.

Aesthetically, this game is a true work of art. Watch the trailer, you’ll get how sleek it all is.

 

 Missions, Multiplayer Modes & Progression

With the stunning graphics and impressive gameplay, what really knocked points off for the game were the missions.

In offline mode, players have a choice of playing either a handful of missions, which were 2 dreary versions of each other simply set at different locations, or survival mode on multiple difficulties. The number of offline modes can be counted on your fingers and toes, and that was a little disappointing

With several more online modes, Star Wars Battlefront is primarily an online multiplayer game, *but spare us an explanation, you must.*

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There are no less than 9 multiplayer game modes: ‘Heroes vs Villains’ we found particularly fun, it being the only mode where all 6 heroes and villains face off and players get to become different characters every round in a team battle. ‘Hero Hunt’ was agitatingly difficult, this a mode where 7 soldiers will try to hunt a hero or villain depending on the planet. You have to fight off other soldiers to have a chance to be the next hero, and once you’re hero, it’ll be tough or easy depending on the hero you get to be (draw Luke Skywalker or be sad).

However, we found ourselves tired out – both physically exhausted from being so focused on the game and no longer interested in putting the effort to play the game, after just 1 hour of playing.

The graphics were still downright amazing, objectives had changed, characters were different, but emotionally we weren’t moved. There’s no exciting roller coaster ride for our adrenalin levels. No ‘X-Wing slicing through thin air’ feeling. It was almost boring and at the end of the hour, when we started winning, it didn’t matter that much any more.

With how beautifully done up the game is, we just felt it could do so much more. We would have loved a solid single player or even co-op story mode to be part of the gig.

This sentiment comes especially since Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (released 2008) featured a wonderful story of a Starkiller, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice who was tasked to kill Jedis. Star Wars Battlefront would’ve been a serious contender for game of the year for UrbanWire if it had a plot as engaging.

Progression is also a huge downer here. After every game, you receive experience points (XP) and points which can be used to purchase Star Cards. These Star Cards include special abilities and secondary weapons you can use on any of the multiplayer modes. The catch? You can only pick 3 Star Cards to be used per game, no matter how many you’ve already unlocked. Sadly, there’s no higher purpose in the game other than to level up and buy Star Cards.

This is one aspect of the game that definitely needs improvement.

 

Final Words

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The Emperor pronounces that he “will show (his enemies) the true nature of the force,” in the intro scenes where you use him. Unfortunately for Star Wars Battlefront, you still only get a few glimpses of the force.

As much as we marveled at and enjoyed the astonishing graphics and attention to detail or appreciated that the physics of the characters were second to none, the game just didn’t have a plot or meaning that would get us hooked for the long run.

EA went out of their way to reiterate that this wasn’t meant for First-Person Shooter enthusiasts, but for Star Wars fans. But this Star Wars fan found it hard to spend more than a couple hours on a game so repetitive.

But we admit, young Padawans like us will still pick the game up solely for its title and absolute beauty. *But sustain our interest for long, it will not.*

 

P.S. Yoda doesn’t appear in the game.

 

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

 

Information

Release Date: Nov 17, 2015

Developer: EA Digital Illusions CE

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Price: PlayStation 4 & Xbox One ($75 at most game stores), Microsoft Windows ($69.90 on Origin)

About Mohamed Faris

If you ask him persistently enough, Faris will show you how he claps with one hand. Indeed, he is a freak show. Faris loves sports, especially football, and if he had time on his hands, he’d be out with his family and friends. Or on the couch playing FIFA. He’s always committed to the cause, hence he always chooses wisely. If you’d like to discuss world issues and sporting complications, he's the man