by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
A New Hope
I’ve been a fan of Star Wars for as long as I can remember, and I have played just about every Star Wars themed game ever released. Of course, some have been complete disappointments, whilst others only re-iterated why I enjoyed the good versus evil story of the movies. With the impending release of Episode VII in the cinemas, there is considerable hype surrounding the Star Wars franchise, so I went into Battlefront hoping that it would be at least playable.
Being that the game has been developed by the team behind the Battlefield series, there was always going to be comparisons to those games. Indeed Star Wars Battlefront brings with it, many of the features of the Battlefield series, but many of those features have been somewhat watered down to make it simpler for beginners to get into. There are no classes (apart from either being Rebels or Imperials, or when you gain control of a Hero) and there are only a limited amount of weapon types to include in your simplified load outs. The controls (apart from the Fighter Squadron mode and related single player challenges) are primarily the same as any other shooter, albeit with limited options.
“When 900 years old you reach...”
Having a distinct lack of classes definitely makes getting into a game particularly easy. After selecting (or being placed into) a team, you will be directed towards choosing which Star Cards you would like to place into your loadouts and the weapon of choice. These Star Cards give temporary benefits (both defensively or offensively). Early on, there is little choice, but as you level up, new abilities and weapons become available.
Loadouts are known as Hands in Star Wars Battlefront, simply because you choose a series of three cards that you have unlocked through levelling up. You select three cards with which to take into battle. Once the game begins though, you are partnered with another gamer and can, if you so choose, select to use their loadout. This is particularly handy early on when you are still raw and haven’t had the chance to level up and purchase the higher level equipment.
Special Cards can be found during the rounds known as Star Card Powerups. These special Star Cards act as a temporary fourth Star Card which give access to a more powerful weapon or shield. When used well, these Star Cards can greatly aid a team. Some can be used to help defend your team (such as a team shield generator), or take out multiple enemies at once (Orbital Strike).
“Together, we can rule the galaxy”
The maps place you squarely into the Star Wars universe. I was in awe at some of the authenticity of the locations. Endor is wonderfully green with massive trees to hide behind and lush, leafy foliage that gives the planet of Ewoks a life of its own. On the other scale are the maps that feature the desolate nature of Tatooine. Rocky outcrops devoid of any plant life give the Tatooine maps a deathly ambiance. Other well-known locations include the ice planet Hoth and the volcanic Sullust. Each has its own unique characteristic that requires gamers to adapt to the particular surroundings. Some of the maps even seem to favour either the Rebels or the Imperial forces, from a visual perspective. For instance, when playing on the icy terrain of Hoth, Stormtroopers can often blend into the icy surrounds, whilst on Endor, the Stormtroopers stand out and the Rebel forces blend in with their camouflaged uniforms.
“I suggest a new strategy, R2”
There are enough game modes to keep it interesting, although there are clearly modes that players favour, judging by the popularity of the servers. Probably the most popular of the multiplayer modes is Blast, the Battlefront version of Deathmatch, sending players on a hunt to kill opposing players.
Visually stunning, putting gamers well and truly within the Star Wars Universe
Lack of a single player campaign