Star Wars – The Battlefront Review: The Force Is Strong With This One
Written by Radio Heatwave on December 23, 2015
Aside from a wide variety of blasters and character skins to choose from, what makes Star Wars Battlefront so unique is the implementation of the Star Cards system. Star Cards are pre-set perks that you can take into battle with you. These perks range from the type of grenades you throw to having a jetpack that can launch you into the air and allow you to surprise your enemies.With the countless combinations of Star Cards that you can equip at once, you will definitely find the most suitable set-up for every situation. However, every equipment and perk has to be unlocked using in-game currency and can only be unlocked once you reach the required rank, so newcomers will not be able to abuse the strongest Star Cards and blasters after just one or two hours into the game. The game mechanics are user-friendly, as the accuracy of blasters does not change whether you are dodging thermal detonators or soaring through the air with jetpacks, making it simpler to vaporise your enemies.
Like most players, I started off the game with the single-player mode that includes training missions to get me accustomed to the controls of the game. These missions includes the different types of gameplay such as hero battles, survival, flight battles and deathmatches that offer either online multiplayer or split-screen mode with a Player Two.
The biggest disappointment to me about single-player mode was the lack of single-player story missions; “single player” instead referred to the exact same gameplay that its multiplayer counterpart provided, sans the interaction and challenge offered by real players. The reason why this mode got through the board’s decision process pre-launch, the DICE team had already announced that they did not make a single-player campaign because they wanted to focus on the multiplayer aspect of the game – they were not lying when they said that – and the multiplayer game modes stand testament to that.
The online multiplayer mode can be said to be the highlight of Star Wars battlefront. With nine different missions to choose from and accommodating up to forty players per game, I lost countless hours to this mode and I do not regret any second of it.
Similar to most shooter games, Star Wars Battlefront comes with the classic team deathmatch, capture the flag and control point which are named Blast, Cargo and Supremacy, respectively. For Supremacy, there is an interesting twist when you compare it to traditional control point matches. With the availability of Hero power-ups, players are given the opportunity to take control of iconic and powerful heroes like Luke Skywalker and villains like Boba Fett.
In addition to the classic modes, Star Wars Battlefront multiplayer features new modes such as Drop Zone, Droid Run, Fighter Squadron, Heroes versus Villains, Hero Hunt and Walker Assault.
In Drop Zone, the main objective is to capture and defend pods that are dropped throughout the map. However, the location of each pod is random so players preventing players from camping* unlike in Supremacy mode. Droid Run is like an escorting mission where I had to capture and defend moving droids – a droid is “captured” by successfully standing beside it for a short period of time with no enemies in the vicinity. Of course, because the droids are constantly moving, a team cannot bunker down around the droid to capture it while waiting for the enemies to approach (a la the battle at Normandy during D-Day); instead, teams have to constantly follow the droid to capture it.
Fighter Squadron is a dynamic aerial battle between the Rebel alliance and the galactic empire where I could pilot classic aerial vehicles such as the X-Wings and TIE interceptors and battle other pilots in the skies of Tatooine. Occasionally, I even get the opportunity to pilot the most famous aerial vehicle of the Star Wars universe, the Millennium Falcon. With its devastating firepower and supersonic speed, the Millennium Falcon is definitely the centre of attention of all allies and enemies.
For Heroes versus Villains, players take turns playing Rebel troopers, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia for the Rebel alliance while for the galactic empire, players take turns playing Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Emperor Palpatine. Each hero or villain have their own individual arsenal of weapons and abilities that are much stronger than a regular infantry. Both Princess Leia and Emperor Palpatine have the ability to spawn enhanced ally infantry which are the Honor Guards for the Rebel alliance and the Shock Troopers for the galactic empire and are controlled by other teammates. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader use a lightsaber as their primary weapon and have the ability to use the Force while Princess Leia and Han Solo use blasters. Emperor Palpatine harnesses the power of the Dark Side to fire forks of lightning at his enemies. Last but not least, as my personal favorite character of the Star Wars universe, the legendary Boba Fett utilises blasters, a rocket launcher, a flamethrower and a jetpack. Among all the heroes and villains, Boba Fett is the only one who can fly thanks to his jetpack. When a player is controlling a hero or a villain, the screen automatically switches from a first-person view to a third-person view, allowing me to admire the beauty of my character.
Each team starts with three heroes or villains, while the rest of team start as normal troopers and whenever a hero or villain die, the player will respawn as a regular trooper. The goal of this game mode is to eliminate all three heroes or villains on the opposing team before your own heroes or villains are eliminated. Even though I was horrendous at controlling the heroes and villains, I still got to play them since the heroes and villains are selected randomly so everyone has an equal shot of becoming the next Boba Fett or Darth Vader. For players who are more confident of their own abilities and want to use their favourite character from the Star Wars universe to slaughter their enemies, the Hero Hunt mode was created for you. Hero Hunt is a “me against the world” mode where everybody will play a trooper except one person will be selected as one of the six main characters and everybody will try to kill this main character. The trooper who kills the main character will be chosen to be the main character for the next round so if you are confident of being able to kill the main character constantly, you belong to this mode. Personally, I have only managed to kill a hero based on luck since there were so many troopers competing to deal the coup de grace.
Walker Assault is the epitome of Star Wars Battlefront multiplayer experience, it contains aerial vehicles like the iconic X-Wings and TIE interceptor, galactic empire vehicles like the AT-AT and AT-ST, Speeder Bikes and hero pickups that allow you to play as a hero or villain. The galactic empire utilises the enormous AT-AT and AT-ST to try and destroy the Rebel alliance, while the Rebel alliance will try to set up an uplink to request a bombardment on the AT-AT with their Y-Wings. The game ends when the AT- ATs trample all over the Rebel Alliance or when the bombardments by the Y-Wings destroy the AT-ATs. No words can do this game mode justice as this forty player game mode recreates the historical Battle of Hoth. Every Star Wars fan can only dream of using Luke Skywalker to dash through the air and slice an AT-AT into halves or using Darth Vader and choking the lives out of the Rebel scum with the Force.
IS THIS GAME FOR ME?
Overall, Star Wars Battlefront has an unparalleled multiplayer gameplay but is sorely lacking in the single-player department. I would also love to see more heroes and villains such as Obi-Wan, Master Yoda and Darth Maul, just to name a few. This game is a must-get for fans of the franchise as it is an action-packed shooter filled with stunning visuals and accurate depiction of the Star Wars universe. You will not get sick of the multiplayer mode since there are so many different types of missions to choose from but if you are looking for a single-player game with an in-depth storyline then this is not the game you are looking for. May the force be with you.
Written by Jonathan Koh for Radio Heatwave.