Star Wars Battlefront captures everything I love most about Star Wars. It’s playful and imaginative, driven by a sense of adventure and fun above all else. By embracing this, and improving on the classic original Battlefront, developer DICE has made almost exactly the Star Wars multiplayer shooter I’ve always wanted.
The catch is that this revival comes with baggage, and doesn’t always know what to do with itself.
There is an immaculate attention to detail in Star Wars Battlefront, making it easily one of the best-looking games of the generation. Battlefront's stunning visual fidelity is even stronger on PC thanks to its modifiable settings. Cleaner textures, plus improved lighting and visual effects sell the exceptional aesthetic even better. Battlefront looks, feels, and sounds like the original trilogy in almost every way, from the scorch marks on X-wings to that specific spark and puff of smoke of blaster fire impacts. The incredible audiovisual experience is so convincingly authentic that anything out of place stands out vividly.
DICE’s original score, for example, occasionally blends brilliantly with John Williams' original music, but sounds so wrong at times that I frequently turn music off entirely. And at best, the hero character performances and movie one-liners are weird and distracting. At worst, they’re pandering and awful.
DICE puts this great look and feel to use in a messy mountain of modes. Star Wars Battlefront is at peak quality in Supremacy, Walker Assault, and Drop Zone. These are focused, objective-oriented games that leverage a deep set of sandbox systems so that spectacular things never stop happening.
Drop Zone is a fast and violent 8v8 race for map domination that rewards quick thinking. Seize control of crashed drop pods and you’ll earn victory points, one-time consumable items like mines and sentry turrets, and trigger the next drop. All of the explosives, heavy weapons, and buffs you unlock over time add to your combat options, too. Every player brings their own customized loadout to every battle, where they can adapt to new roles on the fly. This concoction of different people using varied items creates a beautiful chaos, and it only becomes more impressive as other modes add bigger player counts.
Supremacy is the next logical step up from here. It encourages aggressive tactics as two teams of 20 wrestle for outpost control on a large map. The awesome driveable vehicles play a huge role here, with skillfully piloted AT-STs and X-wings able to make or break a match for a struggling team. The infantry combat dynamic shifts drastically when you’re suddenly taking heavy fire from above, driving everybody toward mounted weapons or protected areas. Smart Rockets, Orbital Strikes, and other expendable power-ups appear randomly, and work as great counter-measures when you’re lucky enough to find them. Plus, their explosions are the best.“
Survival mode is Battlefront’s most unexpected success.
To make rounds even more volatile, you can find pickups that spawn you as hero characters to bring big power to Supremacy and Walker Assault. Luke Skywalker can carve a safe path through stormtroopers for his team, while Boba Fett’s amazing jetpack-powered mobility and deadly blaster is a constant distraction for Rebels. Playing as – or just watching – the six available heroes is a major highlight in a multiplayer game, and impressive scenes are inescapable. Plus, each hero has fun new abilities that make them precious. The Emperor’s high burst damage offsets his lack of defensive options, while Princess Leia’s limited but extreme damage justifies her protective shield.
Walker Assault mode mixes all of these elements and throws them off balance, giving the Imperials a thematically appropriate advantage as AT-ATs march toward victory. They’re genuinely daunting vehicles, and bringing them down as the Rebels (by first capturing and holding points, then striking the walking tanks at moments of vulnerability) feels like a huge accomplishment. It’s satisfying in a different way than crushing the Rebels with that overwhelming force, but both teams are really fun.
Between weapon loadouts, equippable items, vehicles, heroes, tension, tactics, variety, and the massive scale of the maps – set across Hoth, Endor, Sullust, and Tatooine – Walker Assault represents everything Battlefront does well.
While there’s no actual single-player campaign, Survival mode is Battlefront’s most unexpected success.
The solo or two-player cooperative wave-based missions pit Rebel players against an onslaught of increasingly aggressive Imperials. New enemies with invisibility, jetpacks, extra armor, and shields force you to change the way you react to each assault. It’s especially rewarding on higher difficulties, so skip straight past the cakewalk default mode. Entertaining as these deep, involving missions are, once there aren’t many compelling reasons to replay a Survival mission you’ve finished.
Battlefront’s 13 maps are pretty much uniformly excellent.
The remainder of Battlefront’s modes just feel like unfocused filler, or worse. First you’ve got the mediocre fights: Cargo is your usual camp-fest capture-the-flag mode – a decent change of pace for 12 players, but original in no way. Fighter Squadron is a good training ground for aspiring pilots, and both Slave I and Millennium Falcon are ruthless beasts in the skies, but aerial-only matches neglect a core component of top-tier Battlefront matches -- the excellent effect of infantry on the battlefield -- for a simplistic dogfighting deathmatch. And Blast is such a forgettable team deathmatch variant that I wonder why they even bothered.
Then there are few modes I’d go so far as to call bad. Hero Hunt and Heroes vs. Villains have little to offer anyone already enjoying the competitive multiplayer. They’re hectic in a way that’s more confusing than entertaining, and barely in the Battlefront’s spirit of disposable soldiers annihilating each other. The anticlimactic alternative to Drop Zone is Droid Run, a meandering mode that has teams running in circles capturing mobile control points. Matches either end before they can become interesting, or disregard team strategy by making only the last minute matter.
Credits Will Do Fine
However, even a poor mode benefits from a great map, and the good news is that Battlefront’s 13 maps are pretty much uniformly excellent. Each planet’s gorgeous environments cling to distinct visual and structural themes that make sense for Star Wars.
Endor is dense, full of places to hide, and rich with great sniper spots, while Tatooine’s labyrinthian landscape is less predictable, allowing you to catch enemies off guard at any moment. Hoth has patches of extreme claustrophobia across its wide-open, trench-filled fields, which differs dramatically from Sullust’s combination of molten, rocky plains and Imperial technology. This gives each valley, structure, and cave a unique and new sense of dangerous place.
The unfortunate side effect of these unlocks is that most arenas suffer from too few assigned spawn points, leading to devious and infuriating spawn-camping opportunities. Proximity mines, infantry turrets, and orbital strikes are particularly maddening to spawn into. This frustration is often made worse by the extremely generous auto-aim on consoles.
Landmarks make each map more memorable than their actual designs, but the majority of these arenas are excellent. The best are, true to DICE form, absolutely massive with rich complexity. I’m still finding new routes through certain structures, new hiding spots, and better ways to bait-and-switch opponents.
Purchasable unlocks help here, too, particularly the Jump Pack, which lets you boost up or across an area. Battlefront’s infantry game changes in a terrific way when you’re able to boost away from incoming fire, or onto a previously inaccessible vantage point.
Equippable items like this come in the form of unlockable Star Cards, which you can equip before each match. They’re varied, allowing for decently deep character customization instead of forcing your hand with class-based combat. You can increase damage resistance with one Star Card, bring a sniper rifle into battle with another, or build an entire loadout around blowing up vehicles. It’s the best way to spend any Credits earned in multiplayer, since the simple cosmetic customization is weirdly way more expensive than unlocking different blasters with varying range/fire rate/damage output.
Star Wars Battlefront captures the essence of Star Wars beautifully, harnessing the most exciting and memorable pieces of the universe for a unique and spectacular combat sandbox. Aside from awkward performances and a poor original score, Battlefront is a master class in aesthetic authenticity. Beyond a few essential modes built for casual competition, however, Battlefront is unfocused, relying on excess game types to compensate for an absent single-player campaign.
This news has been published by title Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances
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