Battlefront

A lot of the time, licensed titles are known for being shovelware, with developers trying to cash in on a popular brand. Battlefront tried to coincide with The Force Awakens (possibly a warning sign), but I didn’t care and bought it anyway.

Presentation

Aesthetics: This is one of the best-looking games that I have ever played; a lot of that is due to the amazing environment design. Every map is varied with even more design variety between maps. It makes you feel like you’re inside a Star Wars movie, a feeling that becomes even bigger when you’re flying in a TIE Fighter over Hoth or piloting an AT-AT. The weapons all look good, with a distinct blend of futuristic technology and modern arms. Some weapons are even recreated from the movies, like Han Solo’s DL-44, or Boba Fett’s EE-3. On that note, one of the best things about Battlefront’s design work is how faithful it is to the movies. Every single map makes it feel like you’re there, by taking the advantage of the extreme biomes that are usually seen in Star Wars to create interesting and immersive designs.

Audio: Battlefront uses a lot of Star Wars music, so of course that’s great (John Williams is a legend), but the original music isn’t good; it’s like the music from the series, but it’s different enough for you to notice that it doesn’t quite fit. They were caught between a rock and a hard place from the beginning when it came to the music: If they didn’t have new music, I would complain about the lack of originality, with the alternative being that the originals aren’t as good as the ones from the series. My biggest complaint about the sound is the voice acting: it’s painfully and awkwardly written (not too far off a lot of Star Wars dialogue) as well as the stilted performance. At least there’s not a lot of it. The sound engineering is phenomenal: every single sound effect makes you feel more immersed. It feels great to hear the wail of the blasters, and it’s so gratifying hearing the thud when a shot connects; the sound of the engines changes fluidly when you switch directions or change speed.

Technical: The environments in this game are nearly photorealistic, being rendered in excruciating detail (the only more realistic game I’ve seen is Final Fantasy XV; this is now officially a dated review). The most impressive technical aspect is the amazing lighting effects, especially on Endor; the lighting adds so much atmosphere and realism, that it’s impossible not to enjoy. The combat animations are smooth and realistic, especially on the heroes. Bearing this in mind, it’s hard to see how the hero introductions ended up so awful: the heroes look stiff and lifeless (the speaking animations make them look like they’re made of rubber). This game looks even better on the PS4 Pro (or, as I imagine, on the Xbox One X).

Gameplay

Battlefront is a twitch shooter (like Call of Duty) with a few key distinctions. The thing that you’ll experience the most is reloading: there isn’t any. Instead, you need to manage the temperature of your weapon. I feel that this works a lot better in a twitch shooter, where reflexes are key. There are not that many weapons to choose from, and there are better and worse weapons, meaning that there’s playstyles that have clear advantages. The other things that you can equip are star cards; you can equip 2 asset cards, one charge card (which requires a pickup to use), and a trait. There’s no variety here, as your cards are basically decided for you. You’ll use the Jumppack asset, so you don’t die instantly, and you’ll use the Bowcaster, because it deals a ton of damage and can hit up to 5 enemies at once. If you’re playing in a mode with vehicles, you’ll use the ion shot as your charge card, if not then you’ll use Disruption, which disables everyone’s weapon. Your trait will be scout, why? It stops you from being seen on the enemy radar when you’re shooting, sprinting (at level 2), or in the enemy’s general location (at level 3), so pretty much the entire game. There’s no tactics required in battle, meaning that the game has basically depth. The game also has power-ups. Most of these are fun, except for the heroes and vehicles. The heroes are completely unbalanced and pretty much unkillable, and the vehicles are painful to control (being unresponsive and having an odd control scheme). I would talk about the pathetic single player offering, but I can’t judge a game based on what I would have wanted it to have.

Summary

4/10 You need to be a real diehard for the series to enjoy this. Battlefront really makes you feel like you’re inside a Star Wars movie, but it fails to be a game with any other value.

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