With Star Wars: The Force Awakens set to soon grace the silver screen, it should come as no surprise that major Star Wars oriented video games have been published these past couple of months. This includes the 3.0 version of Disney Infinity which saw Star Wars characters, locales and storylines intermingle with the repertoire of Disney and Marvel stories also featured in the game series. No stranger to the genre, EA Digital Illusions CE (Aka. EA DICE) have also worked on their own action shooter game titled Star Wars Battlefront. With its release date precluding the highly anticipated film by a few weeks, does Star Wars Battlefront serve as a good complement to such a renown series, or could it have used a bit more time in development? Continue reading below to find out.
Storyline / Character Development
While quite a few other shooter games come with at least some form of a storyline oriented campaign, Star Wars Battlefront is much more about the gameplay experience than a narrative one. While the tutorials and single-player missions do present some form of story to give purpose to an event the player is working through, these cannot simply be pieced together to construct one chronological and structured storyline. As far as the plot is concerned, I was given the impression I was simply playing through missions rather than contributing to something more significant in-universe.
Given the rich universe that the Star Wars franchise has provided fans for decades now, it is a shame they were unable to put together some form of storyline for a game – even if it were only a few hours in length. Rather than being given individual tasks, I feel like being driven through the various facets of Star Wars Battlefront’s gameplay would have been much more enjoyable if there were something more significant behind what I was doing.
As most of the game is multiplayer oriented, a story campaign would have also given a little something extra to those who don’t have a PS Plus / Xbox Gold membership or are unable to play online for whatever reason.
Design / Music / Voice Acting
Star Wars Battlefront is an aesthetically pleasing title which manages to showcase the visual style, environments and characters that have won the series many fans over the years. It is hard to fault the visuals in any one area, as the development team have shown immaculate attention to detail in almost every aspect, and manage to provide an experience which looks and sounds authentic during gameplay.
The audio department also doesn’t disappoint, providing high quality in terms of both music and voice acting. Players are treated to a good range of sound effects which are consistent with those from the films, while there is also a good range of the iconic Star Wars music present. In terms of voice acting, the quality is high. The voice cast includes select members of the film cast, those who have voiced characters in previous video game releases and newcomers. Overall the standard is high, and even VA’s who don’t match their film counterparts in general sound authentic.
Star Wars Battlefront is very much about the cooperative multiplayer experience, with the single player mode left limited in comparison. Should you not wish to play online, you will primarily have access to just four modes (Training, Battles, Hero Battles and Survival) alongside a handful of short but effective tutorial missions. Out of the four main mode types, players will have access to a total of 16 missions. Although these modes do take advantage of the many different gameplay features present in the multiplayer mode and come with a variety of difficulty settings and challenges, single player doesn’t have much of the depth present in the range of online offerings.
The online multiplayer options are much more diverse and interesting, and are in my opinion ultimately the reason someone would want to purchase this game in the first place. In total there are nine multiplayer modes which can support between eight and forty players depending on the type, each of which come with slightly different mechanics and goals. Some will see forty (20 vs 20) players duke it out on a large map as they seek to capture control points around a map, while others will see will see seven players hunt down just one hero character played by an eighth player (1 vs 7).
These modes take full advantage of the different elements in this game, with opportunities to not only travel on land but also hop into X-Wing Fighters or other modes of vehicular transport when the situation necessitates it. Regardless of which form of weaponry or transport you use, the control systems are easy to use, and I don’t envision players spending too much time learning the controls before jumping into the game.
I found Star Wars Battlefront to be a tad more accessible than other shooter games, and despite having what I consider below-average skills compared to others when playing games such as this online, I found it quite easy to jump into the action and do well without having to worry about a burdensome learning curve. There are also options to play in first and third person viewpoints as well, rather than strictly locking you to one, allowing players to stick with their stronger viewpoint.
Final Words on Star Wars Battlefront
In terms of its online multiplayer component, Star Wars Battlefront offers a variety of distinct gameplay modes and offerings for any shooter game or Star Wars aficionado to enjoy. However, the game provides a lackluster single-player option in comparison, which doesn’t take advantage of the rich source material it could have had to construct an enticing story campaign and was to me for the most part underwhelming. At the very least, it is incredibly enjoyable battling it out in the variety of online modes on offer, but I do wonder if the appeal for all nine modes will still be there six or twelve months into the future. This is a perfect complement to the upcoming feature film.
A review copy of Star Wars Battlefront was provided by Electronic Arts Australia for the purpose of this review.