Star Wars has officially made its return this year under the wing of Disney — once again entering the minds of many with lightsabers battles, blaster fire, and the iconic soundtrack. We’ve been waiting patiently for The Force Awakens to release in the theaters and for Star Wars Battlefront to release on video game consoles, but it may not have been worth the wait.
Over the weekend, Battlefront released early for those who have EA Access on Xbox One, giving players 10 hours to dive into the full version of the game and explore all of the content available — but most of the experience felt underwhelming for a game of this scale. Here’s a few things you may want to consider before picking up Star Wars Battlefront this week.
Multiplayer Modes Lack Ingenuity
Battlefront offers nine total game modes to players, with plenty of action across each. You’ve got the larger ones focused on Walker Assault and Supremacy, which each allow 40 players to go head-to-head, along with the smaller modes such as Cargo and Droid Run with 16 players on the battlefield. But after spending time in all the different modes, you quickly realize that the larger modes, Walker Assault and Supremacy, are the meat of Battlefront. Each one contains everything offered by the smaller modes, which are just watered down versions of Walker Assault and Supremacy. Take Battlefront’s version of team deathmatch for example, Blast, which just felt like a smaller scale Walker Assault without heroes and vehicles. Another mode, Hero Hunt, felt like a scaled down Walker Assault too, where I found myself running around trying to land the killing blow on Darth Vader to become Boba Fett the next time around — before realizing that I could just go back to Walker Assault and spend some quality time with the bounty hunter. So why even play modes like Blast, Hero Hunt, and Cargo when they are just pieces of the Walker Assault and Supremacy?
The only thing that feels new about Battlefront are the two largest modes — and that’s not a good thing.
Heroes Are Limited in Number
One of the biggest concepts behind the original Star Wars Battlefront and its sequel, Star Wars Battlefront 2 was the ability to play as various heroes from the Star Wars universe. Back then, we had 23 different heroes to choose from spread across 4 factions — but in EA’s Battlefront? We have six, three for each faction. Each of these six heroes feel fantastic when you’re playing them and remain a consistent danger on the battlefield — complete with all of their ironic one-liners. But, these heroes quickly lose their novelty as you play with each continuously, and the lack of variety starts to show as you move map to map playing the same iconic characters. It’s also worth mentioning that there are only two heroes that have ships you can fly, Han Solo and Boba Fett. While both are fun to play and look fantastic, I can’t help but wonder why Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing or an elite Tie-Fighter pilot weren’t placed in the game’s ship roster.
No Single-Player Campaign and Galactic Conquest
Unfortunately, Battlefront does not offer a single-player campaign or the popular Galactic Conquest mode. Instead, the game offers missions in the form of training, battles and cooperative survival — which feel like they were thrown in for the sake of allowing split screen. The training missions can all be completed in under 10 minutes and offer no replayability, while the battles themselves only feature the player character and a small number of AI-controlled teammates on a small map. The cooperative survival missions aren’t bad though, featuring multiple difficulties that can ramp up the challenge, but each of these suffers from the same drawback: they don’t allow you to pilot vehicles, complete objectives, or take down Imperial Walkers (except for 1 of the training missions). Essentially, they don’t take advantage of what makes Battlefront so appealing — and it makes me wonder what a mode like Galactic Conquest could have looked like in the game with large-scale AI battles.
Missing Standard Multiplayer Functionality
Battlefront requires coordination, especially in the larger modes like Walker Assault and Supremacy as you are trying to take out Luke Skywalker or capture a point for your team. In order to do so, communication is required — but Battlefront doesn’t have any form of in-game voice communication or a way to place an objective marker for your teammates. As a result, you will typically find yourself running into engagements and hoping teammates have the same idea. The solution is to bring friends, who can help turn the tide via 3rd-party communication applications like Xbox One/PS4’s party chat — although you can only create groups of up to 8 players. It’s also worth noting that Battlefront lacks a multiplayer server browser, custom matches, and a squad system — which helps to hinder the customization of your multiplayer experience. It’s looking like they opted to focus on getting players into a match faster instead of providing these systems, but they certainly might add them later down the road, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.
Star Wars Battlefront isn’t a bad game per-se; and it’s very obvious how much time and care has been placed into Battlefront by DICE. Everything feels right, sounds crisp, and looks exactly like the iconic areas Star Wars fans have come to known and love. Racing through Endor on a Speeder Bike and fighting waves of rebels as Slave I feels exactly as it should — but Battlefront doesn’t focus on these experiences across the board, which is the game’s biggest shortcoming. While most of these issues will probably be fixed with the game’s season pass, it doesn’t mean they couldn’t have been included in the base game — and that’s something to consider before hopping on board DICE’s latest title.