Star Wars: Battlefront Review

Dan Webb

When I was a kid... yada yada, you know the Star Wars spiel. A lot of us grew up with it. A lot of us loved it. A lot of us played with the toys. Whatever. What you've presumably come here to find out is whether Star Wars Battlefront is worth picking up, and the answer to that is a simple yes. That said, it's not without its flaws. In fact, it has quite a few, but there's a hell of an experience here for old and new Star War fans alike. Well, multiplayer shooter Star Wars fans that is.

Battlefront games of yesteryear tended to be an exercise in quantity over quality. That's not to say that they weren't great games; they were, they just had an overabundance of content with less emphasis on the authenticity of the experience. That's unfair on those games, in all honesty, as the tech at the time didn't afford such luxuries. DICE's latest offering in the series is quite the opposite, leveraging the power of the new-gen consoles to produce the most authentic Star Wars experience, and one the best Star Wars games to-date.

An epic showdown is about to begin!

While the focus of the internet-limited gen six titles were primarily single-player, it was a model that was more suited to multiplayer, so it would make sense that DICE, one of the multiplayer veterans would make the gen eight version multiplayer only. Quite why they'd do away with the single-player stuff is beyond us though. Yes, there are some co-op scenarios, some cool training missions and a horde-esque mode for couch and online co-op, but they feel more like they've been included to tick a box on the back of the packaging. In fact, with the included cutscenes and what not, it’s surprising that DICE didn’t cobble together a single-player, narrative driven experience.

Yet, from the audio to the visuals, Battlefront is an epic, balls to the wall Star Wars multiplayer experience. It’s easy to label it as a Battlefield game with a Star Wars skin, but that glib comparison doesn't do Star Wars Battlefront justice. Aside from the fact that there’s a third-person and first-person view, the game feels like a Battlefront game. The animations, the vehicles and how they handle, this is very much a unique beast. That said, the game does have traversal problems at times, with the terrain seemingly built with a first-person shooter in mind, rather than the arcade style of a Battlefront game. There are also invisible walls that only serve to break the immersion.

The game is actually beautifully crafted, and something DICE should be proud of. Aside from the aforementioned issues, Battlefront handles like a dream. Both the aerial combat and the ground – and vehicular – combat is great. There’s a great range of authentic blasters – complete with their own authentic pew pew noises – a subtle but deep multiplayer progression system and a unique Star Cards mechanic, all of which help pull the experience together, making it feel like its own thing. Some may argue that the cooldown timers on the card abilities are a little too short, but that’s personal preference. Personally, I had no such issues with that.

Piloting a Snowspeeder is as awesome as you'd hope.

For a game that is completely multiplayer focused, what is baffling is the bizarre party system, one that like most governments, only works when it wants to. And that isn’t all the time! Sometimes it doesn't show friends who are online in the invite screen, even though you were clearly playing with them last game, sometimes the invites don't get through to your recipients, and there’s no host-like aspect, meaning that when you want to switch and change modes – or even join a game – you have to communicate it with your team. The best bet to play with your friends is to have them join you in-game, which is hardly ideal. Especially when it has a tendency to lump you on different teams.

The most disappointing aspect of DICE's offering, though, is the maps, or lack thereof. While DICE and EA may claim there are 12 maps and 12 maps is a good number, there is in fact only four. Four per mode. It's that simple. Each map is beautifully crafted, yes, but all the smaller maps are basically just aspects of the much bigger Walker Assault and Supremacy maps. So yes, technically there are 12, but truthfully there's only four: Tatooine, Endor, Hoth and Sullust. Again, stunning maps, but not really enough, especially if the game's only real selling point is that it's a multiplayer extravaganza.

Despite the lack of maps, there's a great selection of multiplayer modes, almost enough to distract your from, well, the lack of maps. Almost though, not quite enough. There's your smaller game modes like Blast, which is effectively team deathmatch; Droid Run, which is effectively territories with moving territories; Cargo, which is effectively capture the flag; and Drop Zone, which is effectively a single-objective capture mode.

Then you have your Hero modes, one of which is a Juggernaut-esque mode called Hero Hunt that pits one Hero against seven other players, with whoever killed the Hero becoming the Hero and thus, the only one who can score points; and Heroes vs. Villains, a round-based epic battle between six Heroes and six troopers; both of which are brilliant in both their simplicity and their addictiveness. Pretty balanced too, for the most part.

There are six Heroes in all, that range from close range behemoths (Luke and Vader) and ranged warriors (Han Solo and Boba Fett), or the more varied support-based ones (Palpatine and Leia), all of which are your wildest Star Wars power fantasies come true when you finally get to wield their sheer power. Sure, there might not be an incredible amount of them – for instance, there were 23 in Battlefront II – but again, it's a case of quality over quantity.

On top of that there's my personal favourite, Fighter Squadron, an all-out aerial dogfighting affair, complete with Slave I and the Millennium Falcon. It's a real treat, complete with mid-mission objective targets and AI wingmen to assist and obliterate. The ships handle bloody well too. Bothered about no space battles? Well, these are effectively that, but with stunning backdrops to boot.

And of course, there's the headline acts, namely the 20v20 - complete with vehicles and Hero pick-ups - massive battle set pieces: Supremacy and Walker Assault. Both modes are stunning, full-scale battles, set across the entirety of the large, sprawling maps. In Supremacy, you’ll battle for control of various control points as you try to push your enemies back as far as you can. The main mode though, and quite easily the best, is Walker Assault, a Rebels vs. Imperials objective-based mode that sees you either protect or take down the monstrous AT-ATs. DICE is keen to push its Battlefield moments with their Battlefield franchise, yet Battlefront seems to create more of them, and they're more iconic too!

Welcome to Sullust. It's horrid.

You can get in Snowspeeders and take down the hulking quadruped with the tow cables. You can perform attack runs in a TIE Interceptor. You can become Luke Skywalker and decimate foes with his lightsaber and Force Push. You can stomp Rebel scum in a bipedal AT-ST. On Endor, you can race through the trees on a Speeder Bike. You can splat jet-packing Imperial scum mid-air while piloting an X-Wing. You can get hit in the head by a rock-throwing Ewok – and get an achievement for it! You can unlock a motherfucking black stormtrooper. It’s glorious stuff, and truly, the greatest Star Wars experience you’ll ever be consumed by.

Speaking of achievements, I’ve never been a fan of multiplayer achievements, but in a multiplayer game, well, they have to exist. Obviously. Developers that make multiplayer achievements have a tendency to shape the way that some players play, thus, negatively impacting the experience for all involved. Thankfully, that’s not the case. There are achievements for doing cool shit, there’s original and amusing achievements, there’s a good spread, there’s some difficult ones in there, they entice you to try out all the modes, do all the things. It’s a great list, truth be told. There are a few grindy ones, which stain it somewhat, but otherwise good stuff.

Whether you'll like Star Wars Battlefront if you're not a Star Wars fan is a more interesting question. This is very much a Star Wars experience, and one hell of a one at that, but at its core it's still a bloody good multiplayer shooter. One with an abundance of features, mechanics and modes, but one that ultimately suffers from a distinct lack of content, with what is effectively four maps. Would I recommend it? Wholeheartedly. Would I raise an eyebrow if you debated its purchase? Not really.

Star Wars: Battlefront

Star Wars Battlefront is undoubtedly the Star Wars experience that we all wanted, it’s just a shame that there’s a distinct lack of content. That said, playing Battlefront is as close to being in a Star Wars movie as you're ever likely to get.

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The game sounds incredible, well, that is until the Heroes speak. Something sounds just so slightly off about them.


The game looks incredible, well, that is until you see the Heroes. Something looks just so slightly off with them. Uncanny valley, maybe?


This isn’t just a Battlefield game with a Star Wars skin, it plays like a next-gen Battlefront, it really does.


Epic battles in some epic locations... it's just a shame there aren't that many of them.


A really strong multiplayer list, in truth, which is a tricky task for developers.

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