From a distance, Star Wars Battlefront seems like a cheap attempt at wringing money from Star Wars fans. To a certain extent, that is absolutely true. The game is a visually marvellous recreation of the beloved franchise’s sets, props, and characters and nails each detail, right down to the smallest thermal detonator. The sound design is astounding, assaulting your ears with the familiar sound of blaster fire and the piercing scream of a TIE fighter zooming by. Aesthetically and aurally, Battlefront is a near perfect translation of the Star Wars universe into digital space, arguably a more faithful representation of the franchise than its predecessors on the PS2. Any hardcore fan of Star Wars can—at bare minimum—appreciate the effort that developer DICE took to pump the game full of the essence of wonder that Star Wars stands for. Unfortunately, this is pretty much all Battlefront does.
Gameplay in Battlefront is incredibly shallow; you shoot stuff, that’s about it. While not uncommon for a shooter to include shooting stuff in its core gameplay, you feel underwhelmed at the possibilities presented to you. “Hey, today should I shoot people, ships, or AI’s?” is a question you’ll find yourself asking a lot. Shooting mechanics are solid, as expected, but it doesn’t go any deeper than that. There aren’t even a lot of weapons to choose from, and the Star Card system leaves you with only two accessories, be it a thermal detonator or a cycler rifle, limiting your ability to truly customize your character. One of the more creative modes is survival, which realizes its full potential when played with a partner, but even that loses its appeal after a few goes. This is where the skeptic in me struggles to be heard: this is another incomplete game sold at full retail price, with a DLC season pass ready to be flung in your face to gain access to more content. The real disrespectful thing here is that the pass goes for 70 bucks (in Canada, US price is listed at $50, still a rip-off) which is almost the equivalent price of the base game. I blame EA’s corporate greed here. The addition of a single-player, or even co-op story campaign would have pushed this game from good to great, but the lack of content keeps it just satisfactory. Put simply, if you are a fan of shooters, Battlefront won’t blow you away anymore than Call of Duty: Black Ops III or Titanfall would, but if you are a fan of Star Wars there is no reason you shouldn’t already own this game.
The real deal-breaker here is the license. If this wasn’t a Star Wars licensed game, then it would be just another basic military shooter floating on digital stores and game shop shelves among the myriad of other bland military shooter titles. But the thing that will catch your eye is the fact that it’s Star Wars. Being able to play as Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, and many others, being able to play on Hoth, Tatooine and Endor: these things make or break the game according to your interests as a fan. In short, if you love Star Wars as much as I do, you’ll have a blast with Battlefront. If you don’t really care one way or the other about Vader, the rebels or Han Solo, don’t expect Battlefront to suck you into the world and astonish you with its glory. So if you like Star Wars, go ahead and pick this one up, but wait before you purchase the DLC; it might not be worth your time.