I love playing Star Wars Battlefront to the extent that I’ve chalked up around 90 hours of gameplay this year… which for me is crazy high. However I’ve taken a short break from the game to ponder why I enjoy the game so much!
In many more words…
Having had a wee think about the game, I feel the strengths are:
- Wonderful usage of the Star Wars universe.
- Fast gameplay.
- Shiny rewards and completion.
- No VoIP or chat
First and foremost… this is a Star Wars game. If you don’t like Star Wars then the game will probably be “okay” at best to play but I enjoy Star Wars. I find the original films that the game is based on to be at times terrible yet always completely wonderful. The characters are great, scenery is absolutely superb and some of the audio is still to this day brilliant. Some of the writing, acting and particularly editting is poor, but that doesn’t translate to the game anyway.
My first go involving running through Endor, seeing a speeder crash just beside me. When up in the trees I saw ewoks scurrying away from me. I spotted something move only to waste my ammo on some giant insect that was scuttering away. I got killed by Darth Vader, only to later see him duelling with Luke – a battle that I’d later get to play many times myself. Then of course the first time I was up against an AT-ST. Later we played Fighter Squadron where the first noise was the wonders TIE Fighter. It felt perfect.
When watching the films again recently me and my partner noted afterwards, they really have captured the Star Wars universe excellently.
The gameplay is fun as well. It is typically very quick, regardless of the mode you play. Of course the cowards can hide in the distance but to get a great score you’re better getting in the thick of things. With explosions, players, shields, heroes and vehicles all in the mix it can be wonderfully chaotic carnage.
There’s a very healthy range of modes as well. They have several different 40 player modes that aren’t hugely different, battling over points with Walker Assault adding in the excitement of blasting at an AT-AT (or getting blasted by one!). Then we have standard modes like deathmatch and capture the flag plus competing to capture various points and then the Hero and aerial deathmatches. There’s plenty to keep you interested.
At launch the map list failed to match the variety in game modes. Quickly I found that being on the same small map cycle got old but a few new maps have been added meaning that things will be mixed up a little more. Hopefully there will be a couple more maps in time to keep things fresh but currently there’s a good number. They mix open gameplay with more tightly contested battles. However I would like to see a few smaller maps be used. Sometimes the maximum 6v6 games can feel a little empty and you’ll have to run some distance to get back into the battle.
A criticism is that is not as deep as some DICE games, but there’s still multiple ways of playing the gane with a range of weapons and the star cards give much more tactical flexibility. For the nub in us all there’s different ways to use explosives (which can of course be very tactical and useful!) plus weapons that when used right are one shot to kill – although that is easier said than done! With the diversity in star cards and traits, everyone can have their own style and strategy. Like Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock, there’s a complex web of how to beat opponents but often until you square up, it can be a little unknown.
One thing that has kept me playing is the rewards system. They’ve employed tactics very familiar to mobile games by adding daily challenges on top of having three personal challenges, all of which give you extra XP & money upon completion. These involve using different weapons, playing different game modes and using vehicles. They can encourage you to go for kills or go for the objective.
I’ll cover more on why this mechanism is great in another article, although I should mention that unlike the Hutt Contracts that I’ve criticised, you can ignore them or pay a few in game coins to get a new one (not daily challenges). There’s no blocking the player from progressing if they can’t master a weapon type.
Finally there’s the lack of chat. For many this may be a negative but I’m absolutely delighted by it.
I used to play Delta Force: Black Hawk Down then Left 4 Dead online a LOT but after those games I didn’t find myself settled. One of the key reasons was that, well people are arseholes. Particularly in my DF:BHD days I enjoyed the community spirit. Most folk were fun to play with. However more and more people have become hostile. I disliked playing APB with public players for this very reason. However in Star Wars: Battlefront you don’t have to deal with people mouthing off constantly. Woohoo!
From my time gaming online it became increasingly popular to use microphones and voice chat. I hated this. It was something that I couldn’t get comfortable with and preferred text chat. I’m like that with mobile phones as well. Being in games with random folk and VOIP enabled was worse so I always muted it. In Star Wars: Battlefront I don’t have to listen to some kid yapping on. Woohoo!