Star Wars Battlefront Won’t Bring Balance To The Force, But It Looks Amazing – Review

Battlefront is back. No, not the 2004 shooter from Pandemic Studios, but a fresh and modern take on one of Star Wars’ most beloved video game series, this time from the reputable studio that brought you shooters like Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4.

Through adverts, trailers, and gameplay reveals, the Stockholm-based studio has made its promise to deliver the most authentic Star Wars experience you could possibly get in a video game very clear. By using techniques like photogrammetry and benefiting from direct access to the source material, a simple in-game screenshot might tell you that DICE has made massive strides in achieving this. Star Wars Battlefront not only looks beautiful, it looks exactly like Episodes IV, V, and VI.

With a strong pedigree in the industry, DICE also brings years of triple-A development experience to the table, so it’s no wonder that shooter fans everywhere have Battlefront on their radar just as much as Star Wars fans do. The question is, can it satisfy both, and does it have the gameplay to match the visuals?

She looks like a lot, but does this shooter have it where it counts?

Battlefront

At first glance, Star Wars Battlefront’s home-screen will appear full of options with a large menu of multiplayer modes to pick from, along with a handful of different mission modes to explore.

There are nine multiplayer modes on offer that range in player count from eight-player skirmishes to larger, 40-player battles. While some go all-in with iconic Star Wars heroes, villains, aerial fighters, and ground vehicles, others present a more intimate struggle between the Imperials, Rebels, and their blasters.

Supremacy, Walker Assault, and Fighter Squadron are all-in-one game modes that do a fantastic job transporting the player to a galaxy far, far away and delivering the essential Star Wars experience in video game form. Though different objectives are outlined in each, their size and scale make it easy to reenact memorable, large-scale Star Wars conflicts through the eyes of your favorite character or in the pilot seat of your favorite vehicle. It’s all wonderfully brought to life in stunning detail and spectacular realism thanks to the powerful Frostbite 3 engine. Whether blasting your way through Rebel scum on Endor or toppling an AT-AT in a Snowspeeder on the surface of Hoth, you might even find some moments in the game more exciting than the films.

Battlefront

Battlefront’s six other modes struggle to capture the same magic and will likely fall off your radar after only a few hours of game time, however. Because there isn’t anything particularly complex about any of them and the game only allows players to squad-up with one other, there really isn’t much opportunity to master unique strategies or craft different experiences through continued playing. One exception, I might add, is Battlefront’s round-based Heroes vs. Villains mode, which is not only fun and competitive in a chaotic kind of way, but is also a great place to get some practice with all the different character abilities.

At the end of the day, Battlefront’s charm really only lies in these four aforementioned game modes, whereas the rest come across as filler and are ultimately forgettable. And with a very predictable map rotation, a sense of boredom often creeps in sooner than you might expect. While I don’t know if it would have been technically feasible, the ability to bring in a friend via split-screen, I think, would have gone a long way in adding replay-ability to more of the game’s online multiplayer modes.

Battlefront

Offline, Battlefront’s training mode is the closest thing you’ll get to a story-driven campaign like Galactic Conquest from the older Battlefront games, which is, sadly, not present in this interactive Star Wars package. Still, it’s worth a play-through. Each mission presents a specific scenario, be it an X-wing chase in Beggar’s Canyon or an AT-ST assault on Sullust, along with some light dialogue, introduction movies, and a tour of some of the game’s vehicles and characters. With only five of them in total, I wish the mission list was expanded into something more representative of a full campaign, even if that meant cutting some of the other, less appealing mission modes.

Battle missions are quite simple in design, following a basic team deathmatch set-up with tokens that must be picked up from dead enemies and fallen friendlies in order to rack up enough points for a win. Survival, as the name implies, challenges you to out-smart and out-gun increasingly difficult waves of enemy AI. Aside from challenge stars to collect, there isn’t much reason to return to either mode after one or two play-throughs of each map.

With no online split-screen capabilities, Battlefront falls short of the party game I think it could have been and ends up providing only a few hours of co-op content, as opposed to long, sleepless nights of fun.

Battlefront

From the get-go, Battlefront hands all players a neatly-presented, career-wide diorama of trophies to collect, spanning multiple modes and providing completionists with a clear and appealing visualization of their ultimate goal. Ticking off all 30 won’t be an easy task, though it appears that it will require more time than it does skill.

As you complete matches and missions, you’ll earn Credits to spend on Star Cards (abilities), blasters, and customization options for your Rebel soldier or Stormtrooper. Given that you can play in third-person, Credits spent on your looks won’t go to waste, but when it comes to Star Cards and blasters, you’ll probably find a few that are more appealing than others, narrowing your unlock path.

With three slots per hand of cards, you’ll be very tempted to fill yours with only the most advantageous abilities like the Thermal Detonator (grenade), Explosive Shot (increased damage), and Barrage (grenade launcher). You might, however, consider tuning your second hand of cards towards anti-vehicle combat for modes like Walker Assault. As you get rolling, you can choose to upgrade your current cards, or spend your Credits on new items that unlock as you rank up. By level 32, you should have access to everything, provided you have the Credits to spend.

In total, there’s a fair amount to unlock, but I never found the ‘carrot’ in front of my face all that appealing, making the chase feel a lot more sluggish than it could have been.

Battlefront

Most multiplayer modes cycle through a selection of six to nine maps — or four if you’re playing Supremacy, Walker Assault, or Fighter Squadron — all based on easily recognizable Star Wars locations like Hoth, Tatooine, and the forest moon of Endor. Sullust, a previously unexplored planet, also makes its first up-close appearance in a Star Wars game.

The in-game representations of these backdrops are, at times, unbelievable and are incredibly faithful to the films. Battlefront is 100% Star Wars every inch of the way, from the textures and scratches on Luke’s Lightsaber to the snow-covered mountains surrounding the accurately-recreated Rebel base on Hoth. Endor on Walker Assault is breathtaking and it’s nice to finally see a dense forest area done right in a video game. The rocky environments of Sullust are equally as impressive, especially the way the light reflects off of surfaces. It’s imperative that you play a match or two with all of the game’s HUD elements turned off to really soak in the views, which is a nice feature in and of itself.

To my surprise, the impressive visuals and details are retained throughout Battlefront’s split-screen experiences, though the frame rate, at least on consoles, is understandably cut in half, maintaining 30FPS with only a few drops.

Battlefront

Each sound effect, be it the crack of a blaster, the rumble of a Tie Fighter, or the swoosh of a lightsaber, has been precisely recreated to match the original. Even explosions retain the classic look and sound of the same practical effects that were used in the original films. But hearing all those familiar noises again — and, of course, the music — in masterfully mixed 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound on more modern hardware is really something special. The audio team at DICE has never failed to impress and they were the perfect team to bring the sounds of Star Wars back to life in a 2015 video game.

In general, the presentation quality of Star Wars Battlefront is through the roof and is indicative of the movies that inspired it. The menus are beautiful to look at and even celebrate iconic Star Wars props that pan across the screen from time to time. The classic George Lucas-style transitions between scenes are also a nice touch that go a long way in making Battlefront about as Star Wars-y as it can get.

Quite easily, it’s the best looking and best sounding Star Wars game to-date — heck, maybe even the best looking and best sounding shooter to-date. Whether you find your home on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC, you’re in for a treat, especially if you’re someone who gets excited about reliving those early Star Wars memories.

Battlefront

Battlefront, which is a fresh reboot of the series and not Battlefront III, has its work cut out for it. Attempting to appeal to fans of the original, its sequel, fans of EA games, and fans of Star Wars in general is no easy task. DICE’s shooter nails in some regards, but misses in others.

Battlefront and Battlefront II are old games. Those who’ve played it and have enjoyed the living daylights out of it, including myself, are older now and our tastes in shooters have likely changed. DICE could have layered complex gameplay mechanic upon complex gameplay mechanic to expand the systems utilized by modern shooters like Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, but then what about the wide pool of Star Wars fans that don’t play those games? After all, Star Wars is a universe shared by everyone.

With that in mind, DICE has clearly opted for a more casual first-person and third-person shooter experience, overall. Battleront’s gameplay is about as basic as you can get: point your blaster at the enemy and pull the trigger. Very little recoil control is needed, though you do need to account for travel time and some spread. Zooming in and changing stance won’t affect accuracy, meaning you can hop around and fire away without a worry, provided your aim is true. The game, however, will still award those trained to aim at the head. Even flying is as simple as moving the thumbstick where you want to go without having to worry about pitch and yaw, etc.

Instead of selecting vehicles, power-weapons, and heroes or villains as loadout options, players will find these items as blue-colored power-ups scattered throughout each level. The way it’s set up does mean that those who’ve learned where the hero and villain pick-ups are at the start of a match will likely get it every time, so newcomers will have a bit of memorizing to do. Otherwise, the pick-up system is alright at giving everyone a shot at flying vehicles or taking control of powerful abilities, even if it might encourage camping.

Battlefront

In my experience, matchmaking in Battlefront has performed exceptionally well at finding good games quickly. My connection quality has never come up as a point of frustration, and I don’t recall ever becoming a victim to severe lag. I only found it a little odd that it would sometimes put me on a team of nine when the other only had seven or eight.

If you’re going into this game looking for a balanced, fair, and competitive fight, you’re going to have a bad time. Blasters don’t always hit straight, which can be frustrating, and the the explosive spam can get out of hand at higher levels. A lot of items are simply too powerful for their own good, or, in other words, are easier for newcomers to use. Things like the Homing Shot, for example, are complete overkill against infantry. I question why it’s even there, other than to perhaps arbitrarily fill out the unlock tree. But as more of these powerful abilities make their way to the battlefield, so too do the ways in which you’ll die unexpectedly in the blink of an eye. That, with the sometimes awful spawns, can lead to infuriating moments.

Again, the casual gamer will have the luxury of shrugging or even laughing these things off as something that’s just part of the fun, but the more seriously you take Battlefront as a competitive shooter, the harder it can be to keep your cool.

Battlefront

Ultimately, Battlefront is a game about reliving and recreating legendary Star Wars battles in near-perfect detail that sometimes even surpass moments from the films. It’s the kind of game I love to simply look at because — let’s face it — it looks astonishing. It’s also a lot of fun, if you don’t take it too seriously, and sounds great too. But beyond the three to four game modes that actually deliver those experiences, Battlefront is pretty dry for a video game and likely won’t keep you beyond a couple days’-worth of play time. I’m also worried that post-launch releases are only going to add more filler than meaty content, like a proper campaign mode or actual space battles. Even if they do, I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t hurt to pay extra for things that perhaps should have been there at launch.

3.5 / 5

Battlefront is a difficult game to score. Given it’s popularity, I’m quite certain some will find it significantly more more enjoyable than others. My distaste for what I perceive as a dumbed-down shooter game might just be my unwillingness to admit that perhaps it wasn’t built for a gamer like myself. I look for steep learning curves and competition, but that’s not fair to a non-gamer who might be twice the Star Wars fan I am and who deserves to enjoy Battlefront just as much as I do. So, I suppose you should take my ramblings with a grain of salt. Anyways, here are my final thoughts:

If you’re looking for a shooter that will encourage months of play time and become the ultimate hub for endless co-op fun with friends and family, find these things in Star Wars Battlefront, you will not. What you will find, however, is a closest thing to actually being in a Star Wars movie, courtesy of a studio that went above and beyond to stay true to the real thing and bring your favorite Star Wars memories to life. Had the offering of activities been as generous as the presentation, Star Wars Battlefront would have been one to remember.

Star Wars Battlefront was reviewed on the PlayStation 4 via a review code provided by Electronic Arts.







David Veselka
Co-Founder / Editor-in-Chief
Musician, Gamer, Geek.
  • marpla78

    Nice article, quote “endless co-op fun with friends and family, find these things in Star Wars Battlefront, you will not” exactly what i feel with this game. the game looks awesome, graphics , sound and all that…but the lack of depth and fun teamwork is horrible for me, is a little too fast paced for me, perhaps im getting old (probably) but i like sometimes to take my time to make my move.

    Im pretty sure DICE is listening to the people and will change some of this game, still feels unbalanced for the rebels in walker assault, pretty much 7 of 10 rebels lose ( in the bet 9 of 10 a little improvement) i know im talking about only the games i were but since you have to be in some third party coms software to talk and coordinate some defense or attack, the teamwork then is pretty low, some randoms momments of teamwork….but pretty much all the players are for their own…run & gun…kdr seems a big deal wich is not important.

    Overall this game will be a game to jump for a round or two…still playing BF4 and im will wait for The Division (you know it DAvid!)

    Just my 2 pesos.

    • Looking forward to The Division! Have you given Rainbow Six Siege a shot yet? I’m enjoying it quite a lot at the moment.

      • pb0yd1

        Dont forget ghost recon .The division and ghost hold so much potential for FPS and coop fans .God i hope so .

        • I totally did forget about Badlands! High hopes for that one too. I’m digging this trend of co-op shooters. Wish R6S had more of it.

        • marpla78

          Yeap i didnt froget about Badlands either but since i doubt they release next year is not on my list but it will be, i think the The Division in someway will be a benchmark for Badlands since the gameplay seems similar.

      • marpla78

        Same David…same!
        Well im waiting for some special Christmas deal for R6S sometimes i think i should bought that one and not Battlefront. How is the teamwork on that game David….because im worried is not what i wish … too many kids?

        • Holy cow it’s been amazing so far. I’m having so much fun. I’ve only run into other adults/young adults and there’s usually 1-3 guys on a mic every match. Even if there isn’t, I usually stay on the mic anyways to bark out useful intel and the others seem to appreciate it. I think most people playing it understand how important it is to communicate, or at least listen.

          Teamwork is a solid 8 or 9 out of 10, though it would have been nice if there was a command rose of sorts or more gestures.

  • Itchy_Robot

    Good review man. It was very fair and you did a great job explaining why you scored it this way. I, too, lean towards games that require a steaper learning curve. But I am still having a lot of fun with this game when partnering up with a friend. My buddy and I are huge Star Wars fans, so it has been a blast gaming with each other. We tend to stay with team deathmatch, the moving droid gamemode (cant remember name), and dropzone. The smaller levels and body count make for a more skill based match. I have been having a lot of fun with the flying game mode too. I can’t wait for a full fledged flight game in the Star Wars universe.

    The main thing that has me so excited about this game is how well DICE’s game engine and servers are running. I am very excited to see the evolution of their other games … such as BF5. I am truly amazed at the level of graphics they were able to achieve on the PS4.

    • Yep. The force was strong with Battlefront’s server structure at release, and that’s great. One of DICE and EA’s best launches, I’d say. Also with you there: if their next Battlefield game looks anything like Battlefront does now on consoles and PC, that’d be spectacular. I’m also playing it on PS4 and I still can’t believe how good it looks.

      • pb0yd1

        Thank god You’ve left the dark side and joined the rebel fight/ps4 . Lolo

  • Venom06

    i have to say for what it is, the game is a TON OF FUN to play. Especially with friends. The first 2 Battlefronts were nowhere the “beacons of complexity and depth” as folk want to try to portray. Sadly, EA hate & DICE bias has infested the so-called gaming community to the point where folks were bitching about the game before it even came out (not sayin this author was apart of that). i agree with IGN and would give this a SOLID 8/10

    • Thats fair, man. Thanks for the comment. Truth be told, I also had a ton of fun playing with friends and, no, Battlefront shouldn’t be a complex game. Good point about the older titles. I tried to keep my rose-tinted glasses aside when comparing this game to SWBF I and II.

    • dpg70

      They weren’t, but they were also developed 10 years ago. This game shouldn’t carry the complexity or depth of a Battlefield title, but it shouldn’t be as bare bones basic as it is today. At least give it the basic features you’d expect in a AAA shooter in 2015. Things like VoIP, squads, a server browser and for the love of all things holy Stormtroopers with helmets.

  • Venom06

    and NO it wasn’t built for the CoD fanboys, nor Battlefield fanboys. It was built as a casual shooter, for folks that love Star Wars, that anyone could pickup and do well with.. THAT’S how it should reviewed as.

  • Just a guy

    “I look for steep learning curves and competition”

    If you make a Star Wars game like that, you’ll infuriate more people than you’ll make happy. If you want that, go play Battlefield or even Call of Duty.

    • Guest

      BF and COD dont offer that anymore

    • Well, exactly! Not sure if you missed the rest of my quote or are just commenting, but I continued, “but that’s not fair to the non-gamer who might be twice the Star Wars fan I am and who deserves to enjoy Battlefront just as much as I do.” In other words, given Star Wars’ popularity, Battlefront should be welcoming to everyone, not just the sweaty try-hards.

      Hopefully it’s clear that your point is the same point I was trying making 🙂

  • Nick Bontrockis

    Question for Console Users (PS4, and historical PS3 users):

    Ever since DICE moved away from Frostbite 1.5 (BFBC2), I’ve found aiming (ADS, not hip), and player movement (running, jumping, etc…), to be quite clunky. Weird, in fact. BF3 and BF4 suffer from the same weird “floating” ADS issue, where it almost seems like when you hover the reticule over an enemy, the game engine seems to “push” your reticule past it. Experiments with Auto-Aim on and Off produce similar aiming issues. Pressing the “Steady Aim” button does not seem to help either. Anyone that played BFBC2 on a PS3 probably is well aware of the vast differences in aiming, and movement, with regard to MOH, BF3 and BF4 (have not tried Hardline or Battlefront). Even more so, when you move to PS4 (something about the PS4 controls makes it seem even more clunky and sloppy, with regard to FPS “twitch” aiming, and DICE’s current build of Frostbite).

    My question:
    Does Battlefront suffer this same input limitations (clunky, sloppy, etc…), that MOH, BF3, and BF4 did?

    Note that I’ve tested and tried to correct it, by playing with In-game Sensitivity settings, In-Game aiming settings, and by changing the curser speed (PS3), using different controllers, altering graphical settings, etc…

    I cannot reproduce the same crisp input that I use to get with the Frostbite 1 and 1.5 builds, and it is preventing me from being willing to try Battlefront.

    • Hey Nick. Those are great questions and I think I can answer them.

      Yes, you’ll occasionally get stuck on geography in Battlefront. I completely forgot to mention this. It’s noticeable, but not as bad as Flood Zone. I guess it’s #JustFrostbiteThings

      There’s also no vaulting, so you’ll need to be able clear obstacles with a normal jump (or jetpack). I found myself travelling around most obstacles that I’d normally be able to clear in Battlefield 4, which, in a way, is a little less frustrating than trying to vault over it and failing. Movement, in general, feels deliberately a little more ‘heavy,’ unless you’re playing as a hero or villain.

      Aiming feels much different than BF3 and BF4, but also not quite the same as BFBC or BFBC2. I think they found something here that’s unique to Battlefront. There’s no traditional “aim-down-sight,” so it’s hard to compare that feeling of snapping to your target the way you could in BFBC or any other Battlefield game.

      You can zoom in, but it doesn’t make your blaster any more accurate. When you do zoom in, you still get a circle as a crosshair (imagine a shotgun crosshair but much tighter) instead of the standard red dot. As for the blasters themselves, they don’t always shoot straight, but the projectiles are big enough that they’ll usually hit your target at most ranges.

      All you really need to know is that it doesn’t feel anything like DICE’s previous shooters and that it’s so casual, you don’t need to worry about how precise it is 🙂

      • Nick Bontrockis

        Thanks for your comments! I might check it out! No vaulting, more casual, Quake like movement…the only thing that sounds a bit depressing is the “heavier movement” comparison. I already thought BF4 movement felt heavy haha 🙁

        But, The vaulting over objects and walls in Frostbite drives me nuts (nothing like being locked into an animation, only to have it fail a handful of times, and then get shot or knifed haha), so the thought of being free of this scripted animation is quite…freeing! Haha

        Ohhh, NO ADS? Yikes! I bet that’s a little…weird. Maybe liberating though.

        This does sound different. Haha I didn’t play the Beta- wish they would offer a demo. Hmm

    • oofy

      I’ve never played BC2 on the ps3, only the 360 version. Maybe they were different on the competing consoles, but I found the controls to be clunky, even with the sensitivity notched up to its highest level. I don’t know if it’s input lag, but, when sniping long distance targets, I would have to revert to tapping the stick instead of smoothly scrolling (if that makes sense). I didn’t have these problems for Bf3 or Bf4. Just thought I’d chime in.

      • Nick Bontrockis

        Hmm I think it must be a difference between Xbox 360 and PS3, in terms of BFBC controls. I did test my “input lag” for My HDTV (Vizio), and it’s producing 300ms of lag (between what is being sent to my TV, and what is being seen in my tv). It’s possible we have differing levels of that as well. But yea, for my setup, post Frostbite 1.5 products/builds have felt like incredibly clunky/sloppy. Again, could be my setup.

  • uwantSAM0A

    Hey david,

    Good review. Just wondering, do the reviews on MP1ST get chosen for a game’s score on say gamerankings or metacritic? Or is there a completely different process im not aware of?

  • YoungMurf

    Thinking about picking this game up.. Love FPS’s but read mixed reviews about the game and I’m not sure, any thoughts?

    • If you are okay with a very casual first-person shooter experience, are enamoured by good graphics, and love Star Wars, get Battlefront. If you want something more team-based with balanced, fair, and competitive gameplay, skip it 🙂

  • OpinionsAreFrownedUpon

    “My distaste for what I perceive as a dumbed-down shooter game might just be my unwillingness to admit that perhaps it wasn’t built for a gamer like myself. I look for steep learning curves and competition, but that’s not fair to a non-gamer who might be twice the Star Wars fan I am and who deserves to enjoy Battlefront just as much as I do”.

    Couldn’t of said it any better.

  • Barry Harden

    Remember folks the reviewer won’t come out and say it but many other sites(ie Digital Foundry) have: The PS4 version is the better console version due to the higher resolution graphics.

    • Lol. Thanks, Barry.

      That made the news earlier on, before launch, so I didn’t mention it. But, yes, Star Wars Battlefront runs at 900p native on PlayStation 4, 720p native on Xbox One, and, of course, up to whatever the f*ck you want on your PC without melting it 🙂

      • Barry Harden

        Fun facts, the PS4 active online players for Battlefront outnumbers the amount on XBone & PC players COMBINED. Mind blown.

        • Yep! Pretty cool. It’s where I’m playing it too. Looks great on PS4.

  • roland0811

    $110 for $30 worth of content and it’s even more dumbed-down than Battlefield 4? No thanks. STILL waiting on a decent shooter…….

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