‘Star Wars Battlefront’ a solid experience

“Star Wars Battlefront” was one of the most highly anticipated games of the year before its Nov. 17 release. With “The Force Awakens” coming to theaters Dec. 18, EA and DICE, known for the “Battlefield” franchise, took a crack at a “Star Wars” game. There was a lot of pressure on this game to be good considering the last game in the series, “Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron,” was released back in 2009 before the series took a four-year hiatus. After many years of waiting, the new “Battlefront” manages to be a fun “Star Wars” experience for the most part.

swbf-home-heroContributed photo/Electronic Arts

There was a lot of pressure on this game to be good considering the last game in the series, “Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron,” was released back in 2009 before the series took a four-year hiatus.

Right off the bat, as you install the game, you get to play as Darth Vader attacking the rebel base on Hoth, slaying anyone who gets in your way. This is refreshing because it’s letting you test out the controls for playing as a Jedi and is better than just staring at a loading bar with a percentage on it. The core game is multiplayer with nine modes, a single player/ co-op survival mode, battles and a training mode. The training mode guides you on how to fly an X-Wing, ride a speeder bike in the forests of Endor, control an AT-ST walker and play as a hero. But it’s not your regular training mode, as it adds excitement by making you wipe out Imperial and/or rebel forces while you perfect your skills. Battles give you the option to either face off against a friend or AI to complete missions, which is basically a split-screen versus mode.

The survival horde mode can be played solo or co-op on Tatooine, Endor, Hoth or Sullust. In this mode, you play as a rebel soldier trying to survive many waves of Imperial forces. This can be fun playing with a friend, making it feel like your own story, but this is where the main problem comes in. With this horde mode and how it’s set up, there should have been a single-player campaign in the game. EA and DICE missed a major opportunity here as their “Battlefield” franchise can only do so much with soldiers and terrorists. But with “Star Wars,” they had so much potential with a huge universe that is possible to make a campaign. Hopefully they decide to include a single-player campaign in the sequel instead of having it as paid downloadable content.

Multiplayer is fun with modes that will keep gamers coming back and a few that probably won’t have a full match server. Blast is your basic team death- match that is simple and mindless fun. In Supremacy, you fight to take control of five key points on the map in a 20 vs. 20 match trying to push back your opponent. Walker Assault puts you against 20 players to protect the AT-ATs by disabling rebel uplinks and crush- ing the rebel objective. If you’re playing as the rebels, you must activate each uplink to call in Y- Wings for a bombing run on the AT-ATs. In Drop Zone, you fight for control of each escape pod that lands, but the highlight mode of the entire game is Fighter Squadron.

 Star Wars Luke Skywalker CMYKContributed photo/Electronic Arts

Luke Skywalker uses the force on the Storm Troopers to defend the rebel base on Hoth in “Star Wars Battlefront.”

In Fighter Squadron, you take to the skies engaging in intense dogfights. In some instances you either protect or destroy a cruiser depending on which side you’re on for extra points. It mixes up 10 players on each side with AI fighters and in instances you can play as Boba Fett’s ship, the Slave I, or Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon to wreak havoc on your enemies. However, this does hint that they could have done space battles, which is a major part of the “Star Wars” universe and is another major opportunity missed by DICE. The other multiplayer modes: Droid Run, Cargo, Hero Hunt and Heroes Versus Villains, are solid.

Another thing that is fishy is the season pass sold at $50 that promises new content to keep gamers and “Star Wars” fans coming back for more. But the part that will rub many gamers the wrong way is that there are four expansion packs in the pass with four new game modes, 16 maps, four more playable heroes, and more gear is kept under wraps till early 2016, which is when the first expansion will be released. This is a practice by major gaming companies that sell parts of the game that should have been on the final release in the first place and needs to stop.

In the end, “Star Wars Battlefront” is a fun, entertaining game with solid multiplayer modes, excellent graphics, sound and gameplay that make it strong enough for a purchase. But let’s hope that EA and DICE take these criticisms to heart and add a single-player campaign for the sequel while improving on what they created that worked. “Star Wars Battlefront” is now available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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