Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Star Wars: Battlefront

Rating: 7.3
Happy Price: 29.99


A first or third person shooter that plays entirely online and is PvP or PvE. There are a variety of game modes that focus on: heroes, vehicles, traditional deathmatch, and all three of these combined. Despite the characters, weapons, and environment at your disposal it is a very underwhelming experience.

Level Design

The maps are huge and open. Cover is sparsely placed which makes it extremely difficult to get anything done. Far too often does a player spawn, with nothing but an open area ahead, and then shot by an opposing player without having a chance to defend themselves. It is frustrating when trying to head to an objective without a safe path to get there. The player should have the choice of sprinting out in the open to get somewhere fast, or taking the smarter approach by utilizing cover. This choice is not available unless playing on smaller maps designed for 8v8 or 6v6. Navigating through the different levels feels very desolate and is not immersive. This would be ok if vehicles were readily available at all times creating a place that allows for free flowing vehicle warfare. Unfortunately vehicles are a rare occurrence that are acquired via tokens placed in the battlefield. The maps should have been designed for vehicles or players on foot. It seemed all of them had vehicles and aerial battles in mind. Unfortunately that rarely happens. So there are these huge maps designed for vehicles that have a bunch of players sprinting around on foot. It does not tie together and the maps just are not fun.

Game Modes

At the time of this review there are ten different multiplayer PvP game modes. I tried to get into all of them, tried as hard as I could to find the fun in them, but did not have any success. The two that stand out were fighter squadron and hero hunt. Fighter squadron is the dogfight game mode with X-wings and Tie fighters. It is a fun mode for a limited amount of time, but in my opinion is the most immersive. It would have been even better if all players were locked in first person mode. If one player is in third person and the other in first person, the player using third person view has an advantage. Sometimes too much choice is bad. Heroes vs Villains is my favorite, but feels different when in a party or with random people. It is a 6v6 match that has 3 players on each side using a hero from either the Rebel Alliance or Imperials. It's round based, so everyone gets a turn to play as a hero. It is very engaging and requires the most strategy of any game mode. Maps are small, full of cover, and allow for teamwork.


The progression system is terrible. It is very strange when you achieve a score of 4,396 but then at the end of the game the score gets rolled down, right before your eyes, to a measly 440 experience. Why was I given the points in the first place? It makes no sense to give the player 10% of their score to be the exp earned for that round. What can you do with those points? You can buy different heads. I'm not kidding, for 1,000 exp you can buy a white guy, with a grey beard and black hair. It's predefined, you can't just purchase an asset like a hairstyle or a different color uniform. Weapons are very expensive and none of them seem to be better than any other. They have fixed stats across all weapons. What I mean is the Shotgun weapon will have a damage rating of 80. Then range = 6.67, rate of fire = 6.67, accuracy = 6.67. Then the blaster will have damage = 30, range = 30, accuracy = 20, rate of fire = 20. Another blaster will have those same stats but mixed around. Nothing feels more powerful than another, which doesn't make you excited about progressing. 


When it comes to the models, they are very well done. Extremely detailed across the board when talking about the ships, vehicles, and character models. Everything feels authentic and true to the movies. It's one of the aspects of the game that makes it worth playing and really gives you a drive to continue to play. The problem is, artwork in games isn't suppose to do that. It's suppose to support gameplay, but not drive it.  I had a problem with the textures of the ground at times, where they felt flat and not up to next gen standards. Also animations of the blasters, there were none. I would want some sort of bolt action recoil on my blaster that makes it feel like I'm actually shooting a gun.

The animations shine when using a hero though. Playing as Darth Vader and doing a force choke is extremely rewarding. The rebel scum will float in the air holding their necks, and its a great feeling. Light saber melee action and laser deflection was done to a tee and is my favorite thing to do. Its what EA focused on during marketing, and is likely what drove anyone that bought the game to purchase it. Unfortunately those moments are rare and don't happen quite enough to keep me playing.


The strongest aspect of the game is the sound design. When Darth Vader enters the battlefield, you get the classic Imperial theme and the whole game knows that Vader is here. It is also announced on your personal radio "Vader has entered the battlefield". The same thing happens when Luke Skywalker or Han Solo enters. The whole field heres the Star Wars theme and the imperials broadcast it over their radio. The constant sound of laser blasters and ships flying overhead create an experience that feels authentic. It helps that EA has licensed the soundtrack from the original films so the team had a ton to work with. Playing the game reminds the player of the joy of watching the movies, subconsciously bringing back moments that brought great joy. Unfortunately the rest of the world doesn't support it. 


Despite the good art and great sound, the level design and progression system don't create a fun game. Its a desolate experience that is not addicting nor immersive. It's one of those games you can play for about 8 hours, work all the nostalgia out, and then put down. With all the other great games that came out in 2015, I can't justify purchasing it. Waiting for the price drop on an online game has a negative impact on gameplay, so when it comes down to it, I wouldn't buy this game. However, I'm having hard time putting it up for sale or trading it in.

No comments:

Post a Comment