Before we begin this review, let’s just take a moment to appreciate that this game is even with us! Battlefront 2 seems like a lifetime ago (I guess it technically is in console life cycle terms). Battlefront 3 is the sort of game that we could only have hoped for, with trinkets of skeptical info here and there over many years. And hope was all we had for a long, long time.
Star Wars is a franchise that needs no introduction – it’s a cult, a phenomenon, a universe, a guy and a Wookie, and so, so much more. So when a game comes along that pits you into the middle of this beautifully crafted atmospheric story, it’s understandable that one would be overcome with excitement and awestruck by the game’s beauty. From the presentation of the game’s musical score, to the architecturally on-point landscape of Endor, the game is nothing but shock & awe, at least in terms of what is displayed on the screen.
Upon loading up the game for the first time – at least on the PS4 version – the game greets you with an option of getting a taste of gameplay by playing as Darth Vader, swinging and force choking away at enemies in a rebel base on Hoth. It’s not the true start to the game, but instead acts as an introduction while the game fully installs. It’s something to appreciate, but it’s also something that has become a common feature within our newer generation of consoles. But I digress – it’s not an issue at all. What is an issue is that the game doesn’t get so much deeper past the gameplay. There’s everything you could want from a Star Wars: Battlefront game; frantic combat, X-Wing battles, AT-ST’s, unlockable stuff, but, when all is said and done, it just doesn’t reach the highs that one might expect.
Before we get to the core of this, I’d like to say that I believe that gameplay in any game is key. Gameplay is the most important aspect, and Battlefront’s core gameplay is solid, with a robust and strong feel to it despite being relatively easy to pick up and play . It’s fluid, precise, and I’ve had no performance issues at all. So congrats to DICE for not releasing a broken mess.
Now, the game is broken up into 2 sectors: ‘Multiplayer’ & ‘Missions.’ Let’s start with Missions. Missions is broken down into 2 game types – the game cheekily states 3, but I’m not granting ‘Training’ the title of “legit experience.” Sorry DICE, but that one doesn’t fly around here.
‘Survival’ sees you with an optional friend competing against waves of AI enemies in a horde mode with optimal objectives throughout. ‘Battles’ is a mode in which you and a friend compete against AI, or you and AI compete against a friend. If you feel both modes sound familiar within themselves, that’s because they more or less are. Oh, and the word “friend” isn’t generalised for just another player, he or she needs to be a friend, these modes do not support matchmaking; but they do support a long forgotten couch sharing experience – split-screen.
Multiplayer consists of 10 different modes containing various player counts from 12 – 40. From the team deathmatch style ‘Blast’ to a capture the flag mode dubbed ‘Cargo,’ all classic multiplayer modes are here. Battlefront does a great job at introducing original modes focused solely on the Star Wars lore, too, such as ‘Fighter Squadron’ – a dogfight of ships in the skies, and my personal favourite, Heroes vs Villains.
Heroes vs Villains is a 6v6 matchup in which three players from each faction gain a chance to play as one of the three overpowered icons – Han, Leia & Luke for the Heroes side and Boba Fett, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader for the Villains team. Though this is in no way a mode for the core shooter players, it’s arguably the most fun from the selection of game modes on offer.
As you play, you’ll rise through the ranks unlocking new weaponry, characters, and loadout equipment to purchase with credits that you earn from your overall score during matches. There are 11 guns try out, 24 star cards (perks), and just over 100 appearance options from a handful of original characters to standardised outfits for your generic trooper. The variety isn’t too small but the content that you can unlock isn’t exactly eye-turning, either. I very rarely had an enticing focus to reach a particular rank, mainly because you unlock most of it by rank 15.
Another thing to mention is that there are zero (and I mean 0) references or content in relation to anything before A New Hope….just saying. This means everything is firmly set post-Revenge of the Sith. The downside is that the great battles from Attack of the Clones are missing, but at least we’re spared hearing Jar-Jar Brinks screaming “meesa gonna dies!” Still, it would have been nice to have a more fleshed-out package.
And this is my biggest gripe with the game, it doesn’t really feel complete. The Star Wars aesthetic is so very much here and is one of the most truer instances in its form, but let’s not get Jedi mind tricked, this – firstly – is a game, and there’s just not that much to it.
I’m not going to knock the game for lacking a story mode/single player campaign of a traditional nature, or any other theoretically logical idea that pops to mind because that’s not the vision of this game, and I respect that; but after playing 10+ hours I’ve seen all that this game has to offer, and what it offers isn’t enough to hold its audience for too long.
Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a retail version of the game that was bought at the cost of the reviewer.
Primary version tested: PlayStation 4.