Letting the Wookie Win
Twenty-or-so minutes before I loaded up Star Wars Battlefront for the first time, I had a feeling, and it wasn’t a good one. I recollected all the amazing moments I’d had with the game’s open beta, and while attempting to psych myself up for the full retail version, suddenly felt pessimism creep in. “The beta was a mistake”, I thought to myself, because nothing Star Wars Battlefront: the full game could throw at me could surpass the experience I’d had the first few times I played Walker Assault on Hoth as the Rebels and failed gloriously. Swedish developers DICE and Electronic Arts had given free access to what was arguably the best scenario in Star Wars Battlefront to millions of players for free, who had probably burned themselves out playing it for several hours. They did have two more aces up their sleeves in the form of Endor and Fighter Squadron, however, and while players were looking forward to both of these, they probably didn’t know what they were going to get.
Bringing Thermal Detonators to a gunfight
But first, let’s talk about what you’re going to be doing for most of your time playing Battlefront. No, it’s not shooting Stormtroopers and Rebels with your favourite blaster—it’s dying to grenades. A generous amount of play time will be dedicated to raging at other players for using “cheap” tactics such as killing you repeatedly with Impact Grenades, Thermal Detonators and the tremendously overpowered Barrage card (three grenades lobbed in your general direction in rapid succession good enough for ya?). My best advice to players on the verge of closing the application and choosing to be shot in the back instead (Hi, Black Ops III) would be to simply get over it—there’s sufficient fun to be had in Star Wars Battlefront even with the grenade spam (which is sure to be fixed over a period of time). Alright, let’s move on.
It’s not Dark Forces, but Star Wars Battlefront does a tremendous job with gun variety and combat. There are a variety of blasters which players unlock as they level up their characters and somehow each blaster feels different—from the signature pew-pew variety, loud thumps of the Shock Blaster, to Han Solo and Boba Fett’s blaster pistols. Players also have access to Star Cards (power-ups, some of which operate on independent cooldowns since there’s no ammo, while some require charges) including jetpacks, grenades, anti-vehicle ordnance, sniper rifles, in-game wall hacks, damage and stability boosts for blasters, and did I mention grenades? You can equip three power-ups at one time. Playing as one of the six hero characters can be fun as well, even if it means throwing canon out the window.
It’s a trap!
If there’s one thing you’ll want to check out in Star Wars Battlefront, it’s the maps on the moon of Endor. Even on a console at sub-1080p, it looks unbelievable running at a swift 60 frames per second. The richness of the vegetation, the gigantic trees, the contours and elevation, and the sheer density of objects is astounding. More so if you’re playing as an Imperial Stormtrooper. Clad in shiny white armour, you’re basically running around with a “shoot me” sign on your back. What’s worse? The Rebel Alliance seems to have the budgets to purchase perfect camo for their troops, while Palpatine and Vader’s love for Apple products will invariably lead to the undoing of their minions. There are some balancing issues as well (which we’ll get to a little later). But I digress—Endor is a sight to behold and must be experienced in all the game’s modes. This isn’t to say that the other maps don’t look as good—they’re all very characteristically Star Wars and there’s more than enough here for fans to lap up; from the volcanic surface of Sullust to the desert landscape of Tatooine and the ice caves of Hoth. You will get to experience and fight battles large and small both on ground as well as in the air.
Stay on the target
As you might have guessed, Fighter Squadron is all-out air warfare (I would have liked to say “space” but all the maps are set in planet atmospheres). There’s immense amount of fun that can be had in this arcade-y take on the eternal battle of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. If you’re lucky enough to grab the power-ups, you’ll also have the chance to take the stick of the Millennium Falcon or Boba Fett’s Slave One. It can prove daunting at first, but once you get used to the flight controls, you’ll be shooting down enemy fighters, hero ships and shuttles in no time. Balancing issues persist in this mode as well, however, but this doesn’t make Fighter Squadron any less fun as it is. Don’t expect LucasArts’ TIE Fighter or Origin’s Wing Commander, and you’ll be quite happy with Fighter Squadron. I only wish they would add space battles, more fighters and better objective modes.
|Developer: EA DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action, Shooter
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC
Price: Rs.3,999 (PS4,
Rs. 3,499 (PC)
Bringing balance to the Force
DICE appears to have achieved everything from a core gameplay and presentation standpoint with Star Wars Battlefront, but could have potentially overlooked some aspects of game balance—both in terms of weapons as well as scenarios. They’re also very clearly Rebel sympathisers, because the scum seem to have a universal advantage in every game mode and map. In Walker Assault for instance, some overbalancing after the beta has led to an easy win for the Rebels in almost every map, and a guaranteed win on Endor (thanks to ninja camo and one measly Imperial AT-AT instead of the customary hunting pack of two). Fighter Squadron is also skewed in favour of the rebels thanks to a glitched hitbox for the A-Wing and the Rebel’s shield power up being infinitely better than the Imperials’ speed boost.
In infantry combat, some power-ups are clearly better than the others (Explosive Shot, Scan Pulse), there’s some occasionally unbearable grenade spam because of low cooldowns and high blast radius of literally all the grenades, while Han Solo’s pistol, the DL-44 is basically the handgun version of the Death Star laser. And thanks to the internet, everybody who has bothered to check online or has access to YouTube knows which weapons and Star Cards to pick, putting the so-called “casuals” at a huge disadvantage, possibly souring their experience in the process. Of course, there’s nothing that cannot be fixed, but the existing problems are apparent. Having said that, it’s not much different from emerging metas in other games—competitive and otherwise.
I find your lack of faith… disturbing
Complaints of “lack of content” to me are puzzling, to be honest. There are a lot of varied game modes, finding matches isn’t difficult, and the party system/matchmaking just seem to work. It’s really easy to jump into a game and only very rarely do you find a lobby that isn’t absolutely full with players. There’s enough here to sink your teeth into with friends for dozens of hours (at least until you hit the game’s level cap of 50). Yes, the progression system isn’t as good as a Call of Duty or even DICE’s own Battlefield games, but that’s because Battlefront is meant to be a casual, accessible shooter. Granted, there are some question marks around the game’s longevity, but a steady stream of free and paid DLC and proactive weapon balancing should ensure that the player base is kept happy. Only time will tell if the pricey season pass divides the existing pool of players or not.
How Star WArs battlefront turns out?
Overall, it’s easy to recommend Battlefront to Star Wars purely based on its presentation. It looks and sounds amazing, plays really well when players aren’t abusing overpowered weapons and cards. Yes, the progression system isn’t the greatest, but if you’ve got buddies who are also Star Wars fans, this is a no-brainer. If you’re not a fan and are considering to buy, keep in mind that this is strictly a casual shooter.
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