DICE is a great developer with a pedigree of massive multiplayer shooters that is unparalleled. They’ve been doing big scale digital war since the early 2000s and now they’ve been given the keys to the kingdom with Star Wars: Battlefront, a rebirth of one of the greatest game franchises of all time… Unfortunately it’s kind of just middle of the road.
If you know me then it should go without saying that I love Star Wars. I grew up on it, I’ve seen every film more times than I can count and I love them all in different ways. The original trilogy has my heart but I’ve grown to really appreciate the prequels and the world they were trying to build… mostly thanks to Clone Wars and some great comics. How much do I love Star Wars? I have 2 tattoos that will inevitably become a full sleeve one day.
So now that I’ve spent some real time with Star Wars Battlefront I feel like I can actually talk about what I like and don’t like about it. I bought this game because it’s Star Wars, fully knowing that I’m probably not going to play very much because I don’t like multiplayer shooters. I might hop in from time to time, but I prefer a fully realized world that I can explore or an adventure that I’m being lead on than a big shooter with no point other than.. well… points. It’s too much like sports. I’m just not into that.
But I needed to experience it. See how it feels and plays and how it fits into this new Star Wars landscape we’re enjoying since Disney bought them in 2012. And frankly I’m kind of shocked at how so much of it is right on the money and how much of it is so very wrong. The sound effects, that John Williams score, the way it looks and how everything is sourced from reference material we know and love. And then there’s everything wrong with it…
The new music that DICE has either remixed or recreated is terrible. It made me want to turn off the music entirely. It’s not helping sell Star Wars to me. The voice acting is next level atrocious. Disney really should have locked down those actors when they got them back. Hearing real Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill would have really elevated this game. The catch phrases and the nonsense characters yell out is just garbage.
The gameplay itself is superb. The shooting feels right on, the abilities you unlock as you play are so wonderful and the customization is nice… but there’s not a lot there. The customization boils down to a couple of men and women with different hair cuts and you can unlock them on the imperial or the rebel side but that’s about it. Other than your guns you really don’t have much to play with in ways of making your character your own.
I know it would have flown in the face of Star Wars canon but it would have been fun. painting your Storm Trooper armor like A Clone or Sabine on Star Wars Rebels would have been really nice. But there’s nothing like that here. Battles do look authentic. But if we’re being honest this game isn’t just going for authenticity. The hero characters never faced off against each other like this so why should the troop and rebels all be the same?
But the biggest problem I have with the game is that it has the audacity to say on it’s front page “hey there’s going to be more, but you need to pay $50 bucks for it. Especially when the game ships with so little. Only four worlds, a handful of hero characters (6) and only a few ways to customize your character. Normally I’m fine with a season pass because normally they’re very optional… but Battlefront as soon as you boot it up and get to the main menu is determined to get that extra 50 bucks out of you. I already paid 80 for a Deluxe Edition that… well… I’m not sure what I paid the extra 20 for. Some guns? Is that it? I paid another 20 for a box that says Deluxe Edition (it’s still just a plastic case) and some guns? Ok whatever.
Look I’m not ungrateful. This game looks and feels exactly like it should in 2015. It does make me excited for Star Wars and as soon as the menu booted up and R2-D2 was wheeling around with insane levels of detail on him I got misty eyed (Star Wars has that effect on me). I just want more.
I can’t wait for a Star Wars game by EA that has a story and this level of detail. I can’t wait for something like an Uncharted or a Tomb Raider featuring Han Solo or another truly great RPG that looks like this but has mechanics like The Witcher or Zelda or something.
This is a great first step. But I need something with more meat on it’s bones.