In the interests of honesty I am compelled to disclose that, prior to playing SWB, I had never watched any of the Star Wars Episodes, nor had I played any of the classic Star Wars games. This will not, however, effect my review as I too have seemingly been enveloped in the recent Star Wars craze taking over Mother Earth. This is not to say that I am a ‘Star Wars’ geek – I’m not – but I have now watched 5 of the 6 episodes as a result of the worlds created by DICE. I guess SWB made me feel left out and, in the interests of better understanding the worlds created by George Lucas, I discovered a mild enjoyment in the storyline.
The focal point of SWB is based on the original trilogy (episodes 4, 5 and 6) and pits the Rebels against the Galactic Empire in a wonderfully designed and user- friendly online format. Although the game can be played offline against bots or through different mission modes, DICE has created a truly exciting multiplayer online experience. Players will visit a number of planets which are scenes of famous battles from Hoth and Sullust to Tatooine and Endor. Developers of SWB visited the actual locations where these battles were recorded for the films and this is evident by the beauty on offer. Whether it be the ice world of Hoth or the tropical forests of Endor, the maps are easy to traverse and offer impressive graphics. More impressively perhaps, is the fact that despite there being an odd 40 players running around trying to kill each other off, there is little lag and the frame rate is more than respectable. In addition, the sound and music is spot on. Battles are passionately scored and the classic Star Wars soundtracks create a really immersive and exciting experience. The “pew pew” emitted by the numerous weapons are spot on, as are the sounds of the light sabers. The worlds are traversed using a number of methods, from ground to air, including the use of vehicles such as AT-ATs and speeder bikes.
The online experience is where most of your time will be spent and although there is a single player “campaign mode”, this is basically just a handful of replayable missions. All the online modes are familiar but with a lovely twist incorporating the world that is Star Wars. There are modes that aren’t seen too often in multiplayer games, such as the use of hero characters in battles or aerial dog fights. This offers players something to explore and immerses fans of the movies into Lucas’ imagination. What can be exciting for a time does lose its shine however, and most will revert back to the more traditional multiplayer modes. A bit of a novelty then… The more well rounded modes are my favourite and offer sheer volume to players. The substance here is that so many players battle at once and have options of utilizing different war machines. The scenes are truly spectacular with aerial battles overhead and ground battles below. There is also the neat option of some split screen fun. Many modern releases have forgotten that a market still exists for split screen but I think that it is important to cater for those without internet.
It seems then that EA have hit the nail on the head for fans and the Star Wars DNA that keeps them wanting more. This would be worth nothing though without BWS actually playing well and flowing smoothly. I must say that SWB is consistently fun – whether in the air, on the ground or in a vehicle. In terms of weaponry, there is not much selection but there is variety as expected with their statistical advantages and disadvantages. The variation isn’t all that impressive but the choices are realistic as per the weapons used in the movies. Something I enjoyed was the fact that you are never required to reload but instead need to allow the weapons to cool off when they are used for too long. If a weapon does need cooling down then it is also possible to override this – something that takes timing and adds to the dynamics of the game.
Something that simplified the game for me was the fact that you can add perks or certain abilities to your player through the use of three card slots unlocked during progression or by finding in game pick ups. Two of such card slots will fill up with differing equipment such as jump booster packs, a choice of different grenades or anti- crowd and vehicle weaponry. The third slot is always used for a modification to your blaster of choice including improved accuracy and a prolonged cooling effect to your weapon. Again, these options are rather limited but do make for interesting playing once all unlocked.
SWB really is a great game for a number of reasons. Most of all though, I think that it is an ode to the fans and that in trying to bring the world of Star Wars into our homes, DICE has been very successful. The fallback however, is the fact that the game is very limited. This spreads from the weapons and perks to the maps and replayability. In other words then, it is a decent multiplayer first person shooter peppered with the cult that is Star Wars. The fact that SWB has gotten me to start the films is an achievement in itself but this can certainly become bigger and more detailed.
Star Wars Battlefront Rating: 7/10
Check out the Star Wars Battlefront website: SWB