Star Wars Battlefront is a game which fans of the series have yearned after for the longest time. Since 2005, gamers have waited patiently to be transported back to a galaxy far, far away by the critically acclaimed FPS series. So, in 2013 when DICE announced that they would be developing the next installment of the franchise, you would expect the mood to jubilant. However, those who waited grew increasingly anxious as to whether this new game could live up to the hype which EA had created for it. Spoiler alert: They did, but that does not mean this game is entirely perfect.
Content wise, Battlefront is a little thin on the ground, with only 13 maps out of the box. Granted, the included maps are large and detailed, but for a game lacking a single-player campaign, these maps are everything, and this is all you get for your hefty outlay. Thankfully, there are plenty of modes to try out, however some of them can be a little dull, and even the most basic modes have been seen plenty of times before. There are some brief single-player elements to the game in the shape of missions, but they feel more like very simple tutorials than a full-on challenge in their own right.
Given the disappointment with some of the modes, Battlefront, after the initial awe, basically feels like a Battlefield game in a Star Wars skin. But, oh my, is this a good skin. It is beautiful, wonderful, and very much built around the small details. Travelling across the wooden bridges that connect the trees of Endor, it is hard not to be overcome with awe by classic scenes from my childhood, except that this time, I am part of them. This sense of astonishment consistently resounds throughout my playtime and perhaps goes a long way to soften the aforementioned content issues.
Despite spending most of my time as a generic member of the army, I do not ever seem to tire of either becoming Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, or any of the other heroes that can be controlled in small sections of the game, or simply playing alongside them. The feeling I get when I am flying in my X-Wing defending the Millennium Falcon from enemies, or running through the snow fields of Hoth alongside Leia or Han Solo, is incredible, especially when it is presented this well.
The game may lack content, but it is hard to stay angry at a game that is so polished, so clean, and so perfectly realised in what it does offer. This is a game which achieves precisely what it set out to do: to recreate the world of Star Wars for players to live in. I suppose the issue, then, is just how long this limited world can keep the player entertained, and honestly, I would have liked to have seen a little bit more. Particularly since I have playing over the same limited maps for hours without any form of narrative development.
If I want more, then I need the season pass, and the game constantly reminds me directly from the menu that it is available; that it costs almost as much as the base game, and that more content is out there waiting to be played, if only I part with my hard earned credits. Instead of these extra maps appearing as a nice addition to a complete game, they feel like they have been taken away from the player only for us to be charged for the privilege of having them back.
So what we have, then, is a really adept shooter, set in a wonderfully detailed world. What we also have is a very limited base game that feels somewhat incomplete without the extra maps. What is included, however, is wonderfully accomplished. Simply living in the world of Star Wars that Battlefront provides is an exhilarating experience, and essentially the game achieves what it set out to do with aplomb.
It is really hard to stay angry at such a wonderfully polished Star Wars game such as this, because it makes me feel so happy to play, and in reality it is hard to put a price on a feeling like this.
Image: Electronic Arts