Whilst it may have been released many eons ago, I have fond memories of the original Star Wars Battlefront for the original Xbox. Not when it was released mind you, no no no, years later when I was at university in 2007 is where most of my memories come from. A close friend had the game, and with university being the time where you laze around a lot I visited his house often to play epic multiplayer games against each other, especially with bots on. Whilst I loved these hectic nights, I never personally bought the game, mainly because I didn’t have a need to and moved on to other games once I finally got Xbox Live.
Fast forward to 2017, and with a new Xbox One S in my possession which came with a free 30 day trial to EA Access, I decided to plunge head first into the game which shaped the multiplayer experience of fall 2015.
Starting out I had an idea what I was in for, but decided to start with the training missions anyway. These missions take you through what each multiplayer stage will encounter, from kill all the enemies to capturing all the objectives, and were a good introduction to the series. Vehicle controls were examined, with all the extra controls available such as third person camera angles properly trained on. Having played through all they had to offer, as well as 3 starring a lot of them, I was properly primed and ready to get online to face the countless other players enacting their Star Wars fantasies.
Holy shit is it a joy to get online and take part in epic battles. After a long-ass loading screen (more on that later), you’re dropped right into a fight that lasts the best part of 20 minutes to half an hour, without ever encountering a dull moment. Tie fighters, AT-AT’s and all manner of Star Wars characters are constantly around you, generating massive explosions, unique firefights and all manner of spectacle as you proceed to try and win each different objective for your team. It’s exhilarating and down right fun each and every time you join a match, no matter which game mode you join.
Take for example the walker run, whereby a AT-AT is walking across to a rebel base to kill their escape vehicles. You would think this would be quite boring, but it’s far from it. As the Rebels you’re continuously calling in Y-wing strikes on the walker, protecting your communications array so that targeting systems can home in, all whilst the empire troops are preventing you from doing so. No matter which side you’re on, rebels or empire, you’re bound to have fun, and are constantly charging into action to ensure your side wins.
Throughout each game mode you’ll find random powers across the field which’ll either change the tide of the battle or make no difference what-so-ever. Some may be extra weapons you can deploy mid-game, for example a rocket launcher or even a turret, which are all useful should you use them at the correct time. Others could be more essential to the battle, for example should you be on the Empire’s side, you could get an AT-ST, a powerful vehicle which can easily take out dozens of foes before being felled. Then there’s the vehicles, like a famous Tie fighter or even an X-Wing, both of which can deal devastating damage to ground troops and vehicles alike when in the right hands.
One of the most powerful power-ups though is the Hero pickup – an ability which allows you to choose from a set of heroes (related to your current team) and play them on the field. These epic characters will be familiar to fans of the Star Wars universe, and are extremely powerful should they be used correctly. For example, during any matches I would get the pickup, I’d choose to be princess Leia, a fantastic support character that can deploy shields at will, and that boosts the strength of all allies firepower should you kill enough enemies. That was just my personal preference; in my time on the battlefield I saw just as many competent Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker players that were able to wipe the floor with everyone as I saw good boba felt players.
One things for certain with Battlefront: no matter which game mode you get put into, you’re bound to have a fun time with epic moments throughout. The amount of times I’d see a tie fighter crash into the ground, narrowly missing a teammate was astounding, even more so when you think about the size of the levels. Something is always happening, and I for one loved almost every moment that I was in the game.
I say “almost” every moment, because there were plenty of times when the game genuinely infuriated me. The aforementioned loading screens were one such annoyance, as they last so damn long. For some of the single player challenges I’d load a level up at 11pm, only to still find myself waiting for the same level 5 minutes later after making a tea. This waiting also happens should you restart a level, meaning should you fail a challenge you’ll need to watch the loading screen once again.
The game also has quite a few bugs still, with myself getting stuck in the level’s geometry multiple times, or even being thrown out of matches randomly. These issues aren’t as prevalent as the loading, but certainly detract from the fun you’re having whilst playing a level. I suppose what’s more shocking is that after almost 18 months since it’s initial release, and with 5 dlc packs being released, the developers at DICE still haven’t fixed these issues.
Minor issues aside, Star Wars: Battlefront is one hell of a game. I loved getting home from work each night, sitting down, and just proceeding to take part in epic battles across the Star Wars universe. Even though I didn’t play with friends, I never felt the game had any repercussions as a consequence, meaning even when finishing one match, I was looking forward to the next. The endless loop is intoxicating, so much so that I’m tempted to pay for a year of EA Access just to jump straight back in. If you’re a fan of multiplayer games, and generally like the Star Wars brand, you owe it to yourself to buy Star Wars: Battlefront.