I Liked What I Saw of Star Wars Battlefront, But Still Have Concerns

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I’m a big Star Wars gamer, and have been anxious to see the franchise return to the big consoles for a while now (check out my list of games I hope to see soon).  Star Wars Battlefront is the first BIG game coming out for gamers in years, and serves as a revival of a popular series from the past.  While I’m incredibly excited for the game, I have some reservations about it as well, things that were compounded by today’s gameplay trailer.  

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What I Liked

I’m going to keep things positive here, because I am looking forward to this title, and generally want to look at the good things about it.  For one, the game looks absolutely gorgeous.  EA has made a lot out of their photogrammetry innovation that’s allowed them to recreate the Star Wars universe in such stunning detail.  We knew how good it looked when they showed off the first real trailer during Star Wars Celebration, but those trailers are always designed to look as good as possible.  Oftentimes, games lose some of their luster when you see them in action.  

Fortunately that’s not really the case here with Battlefront.  Even though it was labeled as “alpha” footage, I think everyone can agree that the game looks amazing.  From the textures on the characters and how the vehicles looked, everything screamed Star Wars.  Even better, the sound effects were so on point it literally felt like watching the movies.  The presentation factor on Star Wars Battlefront is impressive, and makes it something far greater than a simple Battlefield “re-skin” as many have worried.  

Secondly, the action shown within the game looks chaotic…and I mean that in the best way possible.  EA showed off just how big the battles are going to be in Battlefront and how crazy they’re going to be for gamers to work through them.  They did a great job of showcasing all the various ways that we can play through a level.  From hopping into vehicles, to calling in orbital strikes, and even some dogfighting (even though we can’t do space combat).  Everything looked like a lot of fun, so that no matter what you choose to do in the game, you’ll be enjoying yourself.  

More than that, however, it was most impressive to me, to see how much it felt like a ‘real’ battle.  A bunch of things were happening all at once, showcasing how varied the map is, and how much you can do within it.  It’s shocking to think that you could feasibly have a battle within the game in which you never encounter a buddy of yours because there’s just so much going on.  It’s a neat idea and something that I feel will be a lot of fun when it’s time to play the game, though I’d like to see some other maps as well.  

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What Has Me Concerned

Hands down, Star Wars Battlefront looks amazing and like a lot of fun to play.  That said, I’m kind of worried about some things.  First and foremost, I’m not thrilled the game doesn’t come with a single-player campaign or story mode.  It’s a multiplayer only game that will subsist on it’s various maps and characters rather than any sort of story to go along with it.  

This is frustrating, as we’ve seen that multi-player only games haven’t exactly done all that well.  While Titanfall was impressive at first, within a month it’s player base died out and you’re hard pressed to find anyone to play with these days.  I think being associated with Star Wars will give it more longevity, the fact remains, that gamers need a story to keep them motivated in some way to keep playing.  Not to mention the fact that EA has been developing this film for a couple of years now.  That’s plenty of time to put together a campaign, even a short one, for people to enjoy.  

With Lucasfilm’s emphasis on story and bringing together a cohesive canon between all the various media (books, comics, games, etc.) it’s even more odd to see Battlefront eschew a story in favor of multi-player encounters only.  Especially since it’s very obvious that Battlefront has little to do with the canon, and will allow gamers to use the heroic characters in any map they choose, whether it fits in the timeline or not (notice how Luke from Return of the Jedi faced off with Vader on Hoth…which never happened).  I don’t particularly care about those things being all muddled, it just makes the absence of a story mode, even more questionable.  

The other bummer, is the complete and utter lack of space combat.  In a game called STAR Wars, this seems like a very odd thing to leave out.  I mean, we get to see some awesome gameplay footage of starfighters flying around on Hoth and battling, along with the ability to see the Star Destroyers in orbit which will rain down destruction on you.  So why in the hell can’t I do that in the stars?  The exclusion makes little sense and feels like a massive oversight, even more so than the lack of story.  

With all this development time, it seems like something they could have easily added in.  Since the last few Battlefront games, which only came to the PSP, managed to incorporate land and space battles, I don’t get why DICE couldn’t make it happen on the new generation consoles.  I worry that such a basic seeming feature will end up being pushed as DLC when it should have been included from the start.

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Again, I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on Star Wars Battlefront, but I worry it’ll be a shallower experience than many have hoped for.  This is the first big game for Star Wars’ re-emergence, and it needs to be good.  It needs to set the tone for what’s to come, and not only be mediocre.  Perhaps, I’m being too harsh.  What do you guys think? 

Star Wars Battlefront hits the PS4 and Xbox One on November 17, 2015

-Jordan