Looking Back At… Star Wars Battlefront

Star Wars Battlefront is an amazing shooter experience, one that not only captures the look and feel of the original Star Wars trilogy perfectly, but uses this setting to give players some truly unique feeling gameplay moments.

The game embraces its franchise setting to a degree that I haven’t seen in many Star Wars video games. Where a great deal of Star Wars video games will use the basic style and trappings of the universe to make the game look like Star Wars, Star Wars Battlefront goes into such great detail that it doesn’t look like Star Wars, but feels like Star Wars. And that’s a big difference.

The game goes out of its way to make character, weapon, and location design feel like it’s jumped straight out of the films. It includes the roughness around the edges, the scuffs on weapons and armour, the scorch marks on the bodies of the X-Wing fighters; it goes into that level of detail that most games in the franchise simply lack.

Star Wars Battlefront even goes as far as including original film music and sound effects that are so accurate I wouldn’t be surprised if they were lifted from the original films rather than recreated. Whilst other games do feature such details, like the iconic sounds of the TIE FIghters, here it just feels more real, that more attention has been given to these little pieces.

The result of all of this attention and love of the source material means that Star Wars Battlefront is one of the most engaging Star Wars experiences, one where you actually feel like you’re part of the Galactic Empire, or fighting for the freedom of the galaxy as a hero of the Rebel Alliance.

Star Wars Battlefront may be missing a single player mode (more on that later) but it has so many multi-player game types that it feels more varied than other online shooters. Whilst some of these modes are very recognisable to other games, there are a few stand out modes that can either only be done by Star Wars, or at least benefit hugely from the franchise.

Walker Assault is probably the best example of this, where the Empire team is taking part in an attack upon a Rebel base, escorting their gigantic AT-AT Walkers across a huge battlefield whilst the Rebels try desperately to destroy the walking behemoths. Whilst the odds of winning as the Rebels relies heavily on having a very, very good team behind you it is easily one of the most tense and frantic game modes, as the Rebels try desperately to call in fighter strikes to take out the AT-AT’s.

The game also incorporates many of the iconic characters of the franchise, allowing players to take advantage of character pick-ups in order to play as heroes and villains of the Star Wars trilogy such as Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Boba Fett.

Whilst these moments don’t last long you do feel incredibly powerful when you are able to transform into these characters, whether it’s running around with a lightsabre, flying around the battle with a jetpack, or killing enemies with Force Lightning, being these characters are a match highlight. The system is even employed in the air combat modes, where character pick-ups allow you to pilot the Millennium Falcon or Slave one for a brief time.

For all that is to be praised about the game, it’s not perfect. There are a number of smaller issues that let the game down, including the difficulty level of certain game modes, such as winning as the Rebellion on Walker Assault. However, the biggest flaw of the game is the lack of a single player element.

Many games understand that a lot of players are interested in playing online with others, and that for some gamers this overrides the desire to play a single player game, but Star Wars Battlefront has focused on this aspect of the game to the extreme, completely dropping the single player experience.

This leads to a game that, for me at least, doesn’t quite feel like a complete games, that there’s something incredibly important missing from the experience. Thankfully, this is something that has been rectified for the sequel; which will hopefully mean a vast improvement.

Star Wars Battlefront is a very competent and well crafted game, with hundreds of hours of gameplay available if you enjoy playing online with others. Perhaps not to everyone’s liking, but still one of the best made Star Wars games in years.

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