Some games are driven almost purely on fan-service, and this is undoubtedly one of them. Everything from fighting on Hoth to hearing the occasional Wilhelm scream has been crafted to entice nostalgic memories of the first Star Wars trilogy. This is hardly a bad thing of course, but what DICE seems to have forgotten is that you need real mechanical substance beneath that, something which Battlefront is sorely lacking.
In truth, this is less a Battlefront game than it is a mediocre Battlefield game with blasters. It looks the part to be sure, with every X-Wing, AT-AT and lightsaber restored to its pristine glory. Yet the moment you play it, you’re left with the same old Battlefield formula but bereft of its usual strengths. Along with an extremely limited arsenal of guns, the blasters boil down to little more than recoilless hoses spitting red light. Rather than retaining any sense of power, there's a sheer lack of any kick or satisfying impact as you nail an enemy soldier, and each gun feels extremely samey. It’s shamelessly arcade, but whereas this game’s predecessors embraced that element, here it’s torn between trying to retain old ideas while embracing modern military shooter trends. The end result just means you’re left with a bland FPS suffering from an identity crisis.
Things aren’t helped by a few issues which have plagued the game since its beta, notably a problematic balance of power on each map. Hoth is incredibly biased towards the Imperials while Endor is a cakewalk for the Rebels, and there is very little middle-ground found between them. No matter the map, each one seems to always be weighted in favour of one side, and a big part of that comes down to its focus upon individual kills rather than scoring point for your whole force. After all, when one side has AT-ATs and a bigger army, a K/D ratio seems more than a little arbitrary.
Of the game’s many modes, only Walker Assault really stands out, with its objective-driven gameplay leading to tense, frantic battles which showcase Battlefront’s best elements. By comparison, Drop Zone merely repeats Walker Assault’s core elements but lacks the same impact, while Hero Hunt and Fighter Squadron are all too brief experiences which feel more like demos for future DLC than a mode in of their own right.
Despite all of this, Battlefront isn’t a bad game but it’s so mired in generic Battlefield clichés or mediocrity that it simply doesn’t live up to the series’ legacy. Much like the prequel trilogy, it’s pretty to look at and has a few moments which are sure to satisfy old fans, but it doesn’t take long for bland dissatisfaction to set in. Save this one for the sales, folks.
STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT / DEVELOPER: EA DIGITAL ILLUSIONS CE / PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS / PLATFORM: PC, XBOX ONE, PLAYSTATION 4 / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 19TH