Star Wars Battlefront Review (Xbox One)
Star Wars Battlefront is the latest game in the colossal Star Wars franchise. If you haven’t heard of this, Star Wars is a really niche, cult Sci-Fi series from the 70s, but that’s not super important. Battlefront is the third installation in the series that shares it’s name, but it’s the first one in more than a decade for home consoles (and PC, of course.) So, how does it stack up?
Uh, really, really well.
The developers for Battlefront are a little company called DICE. You might have heard of them if you like to keep your ear to the ground. They’re the people behind titles like Battlefield and Mirror’s Edge, so they’ve got some serious FPS chops and that’s evident in Battlefront. The game’s greatest achievement, from the perspective of a general Shooter fan, is that Battlefront feels amazing. Movement is smooth and every gun feels unique, both in first and third person perspective.
But you can’t really talk about a game with ‘Star Wars’ in the title without discussing how it serves that franchise because honestly, it’s sort of a big deal. You’ll naturally be playing as characters from the Star Wars movies (specifically, the original trilogy; no Prequel jokes here, folks) in environments you’ve seen in the films. Obviously, given that the game is based in the original trilogy of Episodes IV, V and VI, you play as Stormtroopers and Rebels in their lengthy battle for control of the galaxy.
The character models look good, though in a high-speed FPS you don’t really spend a lot of time looking for details. The maps are more important, and Battlefront delivers. There’s a variety of environments we know and love from the films, like Hoth and Endor, with other locations from Sullust that we know exist in the universe but don’t get shown in the movies. Every planet has several environments that get showcased in the various game modes, and each captures the essence of the films.
There’s a decent amount of complaints about the lack of variety in Battlefront’s game modes and I just don’t understand why. There’s 9 different online multiplayer modes, including traditional ones like Team Deathmatch and Attack/Defend modes, and a handful of Missions that can be played solo or with a friend. The Missions are a poor replacement for a Campaign, but we knew from early in development that Battlefront wasn’t going to feature a traditional campaign so it’s a bit of a moot point.
While Battlefront does indeed feature the traditional Shooter modes, it’s the 20 v 20 Walker Assault that is the marque game mode. It’s an attack/defend game mode where the Rebels have to hold several terminals while the Empire push forward with AT-ATs, the massive, four legged walkers seen in Empire Strikes Back. When the Walkers reach certain checkpoints along the route, the Rebels call in a bombing run, with more ships added to it if they can hold the terminals. The AT-ATs are only vulnerable during these bombing runs, so the game swings wildly depending on how well the Rebels defend the terminals.
Several game modes let you battle not just as a soldier, but as the pilot of some iconic Star Wars star fighters like the X-Wing, TIE Fighter, TIE Advanced and A-Wing. Statistically, all of the ships seem to be identical but some feature different load outs and if you play Fighter Squadron, the air-battle only mode, you can hop into the cockpits of the legendary Millennium Falcon and Slave-1, piloted in the movies by Han Solo and Boba Fett. There’s a balance issue, to be honest, as the Falcon and Slave-1 are ridiculously powerful, sponging up tonnes of damage and wrecking anyone unfortunate enough to not claim the power up.
And of course, you can play as some of the biggest named characters in Star Wars history. If you’re lucky enough to grab the power up while playing certain game modes, you can play as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo or Leia Organa on the Rebel side, while the Empire can call on Darth Vader, Boba Fett and, of course, The Emperor himself. While all are incredibly fun, there’s a variety in power levels, with Leia’s power-up drops and Squad Shield ability making her seem the best from a team-based perspective, while Boba Fett has a flame-thrower and a freaking jet pack, and The Emperor can drop health packs for himself for infinite sustain.
There’s a level of customisation through the Cards you can unlock as you play, buying them with Credits you get based on your performance in every game. Your cards represent things like grenades, rocket launchers and sniper rifles, as well as utility buffs like jet-packs and Ion shots for taking down vehicles. You can have a couple of load outs, too, so if you need to swap styles between lives, it’s easy enough.
I’ve waffled a lot about good stuff from the game. So what about the bad? Well, like I mentioned earlier, there’s no Campaign, something you generally expect from your AAA games, especially if they’re from a huge IP like Star Wars. The voice acting is shoddy, too; it’s one of the only things that doesn’t seem taken straight from the movies. I found that really confusing. DICE got access to locations, characters, sound effects from weapons and vehicles and lightsabers, but the named character voices are just so bad. Not one of the six available heroes sounds a thing like they’re supposed to.
But I fell in love with Battlefront. The snappy gun play, faithfully recreated environments and, yes, the decent variety of game modes made it stand out for me as a top quality shooter. Come at me, internet. I find your lack of faith disturbing.
8.5 thermal detonators out of 10