Star Wars Battlefront is a triumphant heartfelt revival of everything from the classic Star Wars trilogy. Developer DICE was tasked with evolving the formula of the original Battlefront that was popular during the PlayStation 2 era, and has done so with positive results. The essence of what made the classic Star Wars special is present throughout every aspect of EA’s version of Star Wars Battlefront, with even the most minute detail feeling like it was pulled straight out of the original trilogy. Although not perfect, Star Wars Battlefront gives players the excitement of being in a galaxy far, far away like only great video games can.
So much effort has gone into making Star Wars Battlefront feel authentic to the classic trilogy. The sounds of blaster fire, explosions, and TIE Fighters speeding through the air are exactly how you always remembered. The landscapes of every planet in the game look gorgeous and are filled with lush environmental obstacles, all thanks to DICE’s new Frostbite 3 engine. Musical cues from John Williams’ award winning soundtrack, along with some original compositions from DICE, help crescendo the action taking place on the battlefield and make you feel like you are writing the next chapter in Star Wars history.
Visual and audio excellence aside, this is the next logical step for the series’ gameplay. Online multiplayer is the main focus this time around, with only a few modes dedicated to those players who want to fight the Empire alone. Star Wars Battlefront has many game modes that are tuned to highlight different aspects of the battlefield. Supremacy and Blast are more traditional staples of the series that can have up to 40 players in all out warfare with vehicles, heroes, and ground troops.
Objective based matches are done well with Walker Assault and Drop Zone, where players need to take down Imperial AT-AT walkers and capture command points respectively. Walker Assault is the best example of how to approach classic battles like the Battle of Hoth in different ways, while subsequently open such battles to other planets in the Star Wars universe. Drop Zone plays more like the classic domination modes from the Battlefront games on PlayStation 2. Both modes are fun and offer different kinds of unique experiences.
The rest of Battlefront’s game modes are a bit dull. Droid Run has players capturing and escorting droids for points, while Hero Hunt and Heroes vs. Villains try their best to allow everyone to play as their favorite Star Wars characters. Cargo feels like a variation of a Capture the Flag mode with very little to make it unique. These modes can be fun for a short time, but quickly evaporate due to gameplay unbalance and uninspired repetition.
Fighter Squadron takes things to the sky by putting everyone in star fighters and engaging in a massive aerial team deathmatch. Some players might be turned off by the controls for maneuvering their ships, mainly because of the new layout for movement and acceleration. The mode itself can also be fun for a short time, but dogfights sometimes feel a bit unbalanced and lack an element excitement from previous titles. Had there been the ability to enter and exit your ship like in Battlefront 2, things may have been a bit different.
Star Wars Battlefront’s single player Mission modes are meager, but still fun to play when not engaging in battles online. Survival pits you against waves of Imperial forces on any of the game’s maps, forcing you to tactically clear groups of enemies. Battles allow players to choose a faction and play as a hero or villain against waves of enemies. Although there isn’t a single-player campaign, some of the game’s small cutscenes are done in a way to make one wish that there was. It feels like there was a huge missed opportunity here for a mission based campaign that could’ve placed you in the shoes of a hero or villain and include these kinds of cutscenes.
For all of the game’s modes, Star Wars Battlefront allows you to customize your individual character. Through playing on any mode, players can obtain credits to purchase and unlock new weapons, Star Card perks, and avatar items. Most items however are tied to an online leveling system that can be a bit frustrating to level up and purchase a specific item.
Locking most options behind a really high online level ranking seems very unnecessary and simply there to extend how long you play the game online, especially for those that are avatar-based. The Star Card perks you unlock have a variety of options that range from more accurate blaster fire, jetpacks, rocket launchers, and even damage resistance.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, then EA’s Star Wars Battlefront is an automatic must buy for you. This is true Star Wars at its core, with little details the most die-hard of fans will appreciate. There are some aspects DICE needs to improve that will make the core gameplay more balanced and better, hopefully doing so frequently with patches and/or updates. The level of polish in the visuals and audio is unmatched by many other games of the generation and lends much to the experience you get while playing.
If there is one game from a galaxy far, far away that you should recommend to a friend, then EA’s Star Wars Battlefront is that game. The force is strong with this one.
This review was based on a digital copy of Star Wars: Battlefront for PlayStation 4 provided by Electronic Arts.