Opinion: Star Wars: Battlefront is light on content, but I think that's okay0 Comments
When gamers first laid eyes on Star Wars: Battlefront when it was revealed several years ago at E3, there were a lot of mixed feelings about it. While the original Pandemic Studios-developed series is very fondly remembered for their intense small-scaled battlefields back on the PlayStation 2 and original Xbox consoles, players wondered whether Battlefield's developer DICE had what it takes to bring galactic conquest to the current generation. After playing it for way more than a dozen hours, I have to say that they certainly did right by me.
Although Star Wars: Battlefront may have strayed a bit from its roots to bring us what is essentially a Star Wars-themed Battlefield, I don't think there's anything wrong with DICE's take on the series. Even the most common complaint that a lot of gamers take issue with, which is the limited amount of content present, doesn't seem to faze me at all. Now, an online multiplayer shooter being sold for full price should have shipped with more content. After all, you're expected to play continuously the same maps over and over again, so variety is almost a necessity. It also doesn't help that the publishers are offering a very hefty $50 Season Pass to boot. However, I enjoy what's here so much that I think this could very well be one of my favorite Star Wars video game ever.
The best thing about the game is how grand the presentation is. From the white glacier plains of the barren snow planet Hoth to the luscious green trees of the Forest Moon of Endor, each map replicates the worlds so well that you can't but feel like you've been transported into the movies. You can even see Jawas running into their Sandcrawlers from the firefights when you're battling on the desert planet Tatooine, and Ewoks throwing rocks at Stormtroopers should they — or you — get too close to their homes in Endor. The special visual effects for weapons are also a treat. You can see lasers spark and dissipate when you fire, and orbital strikes can drum up so much smoke that you have to wait until it subsides before you can get a clear shot at the enemies. In terms of pure eye candy, Star Wars fans will feel like a kid in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.
That's definitely why, out of the dozens of hours I've played, I've only stuck to one game mode out of a possible nine. While some of them are admittedly weaker than others — does anyone even enjoy playing Droid Run and Cargo? — Walker Assault almost guarantees a spectacle every single time you get into a match. For one thing, it's one out of the only two modes in the game that features 40 players into a single giant map. However, although the maps are much bigger to accommodate all of them, you're usually only confined to one section of the level for each of the three phases of the game mode. Since you have to move to a different part of the map for each phase, each Walker Assault map essentially acts like three maps in one — provided the Stormtroopers still have their AT-ATs active for there to even be a third round.
However, even if I go into the mindset that one Walker Assault map is like three medium-sized levels, there are still only four maps available for that game mode. That means I'm basically playing the same four levels over and over again. The thing is, I still don't mind. While each round of Walker Assault does have the same structure — Rebels must defend the Uplinks to call in air support, then try to damage the AT-AT Walker at the end of each phase to win — I've never seen two matches play out the same way. When you have 40 players participating in a single match, there's a much greater chance of being affected by a variable that may not have been present in the previous match. For example, sometimes there'll be so many crack shots on the other side that you can't even peek your head out of cover without being sniped while other times you can run out with your guns waving in the air and never get shot.
That's not even considering the other elements of the match. Walker Assault also allows players to pick up Power-Ups, which are items that can be used to turn the tide of the battle. Some of them allow players to set deployable turrets in creative locations that can mow down enemy units while others allow players to hop into a vehicle. It can be a real treat to see an expert pilot in an X-Wing swoop in and rain down ordinance from the skies to help the Rebels advance to the Uplink Station, and on one occasion I even saw someone dive-bomb right into an enemy AT-ST that was giving ground troops like me trouble. The best Power Ups has to be when you can take control of a Hero, such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Even if you aren't lucky enough to get one yourself, it's always amazing to see them on the field, whether they're on your side or not.
Yes, Star Wars: Battlefront is a bit light on content. However, even after playing hundreds of matches, I still find the urge to pop it in. While I'm certainly not sure if I'll ever purchase the hefty $50 Season Pass, I think I already got more than my money's worth just from the base game itself. I still haven't gotten tired of it yet, and I don't think I will for a couple of hours, if not dozens of hours, more.