Star Wars: Battlefront

October 20, 2004

[floatleft][/floatleft]Star Wars Battlefront is the newest release of an endless games based on the Star Wars license. Battlefront takes one of the most popular sci-fi universes and combines it with the wildly popular engine that runs the Battlefield games and creates an addictive game that lets many Star Wars junkies live out some of their wildest dreams.

If you are a Battlefield veteran then you are no stranger to the style of gameplay that Battlefront is overflowing with. If you aren’t, let me break it down for you. Each game is basically a huge team deathmatch with a limited number of respawns for each team. Each team also tarts out with a few of the various spawn points on the map. To win you can either exhaust the opposing teams respawn counter or capture and hold all of the spawn points for a set amount of time. I will admit that having a single type of gameplay can get old. This is especially true when most games pack in 5+ different types of games along with the ability to create custom gametypes. This is probably the 1 major fault I have with Battlefront.

[floatright][/floatright]The graphics engine is nothing you haven’t already seen and if you are used to playing in high resolutions on your PC, playing on a console probably won’t cut it for you. What you have a basically the Battlefield engine with reskinned models from the Star Wars universe. This is great for me, in fact it is better than great. It is so great that I can’t stop running around as a Stormtrooper hunting Rebel scum. In all honesty, the graphics are nice and the models are very well done.

Battlefront is a Live enabled game so that means you can play single player offline or jump on Live and take out some Rebels as a team. The single player and multiplayer games actually play exactly the same since the end goal of each level is identical. As you play through the single player campaign you are given the choice to play Clone Wars era (Episodes 1 and 2) or Galactic Civil War (Episodes 4-6). As the storyline progresses you are placed on one of the sides and given a set of objectives (which basically means to defeat the enemy). Depending on which era you choose, you are either playing on the side of the Empire or the Rebels for the old school trilogy and the CIS (Robots) or the Republic if the new trilogy is your cup of tea. When playing online you will probably notice that by default you are limited to 4 players. This is due to the high amount of upstream bandwidth needed by Battlefront to operate smoothly. Changing your broadband settings in the options menu allows more open spaces. The nice thing about online play is that the AI can be a very fierce competitor which makes playing all on one team a tough but enjoyable experience.

The addition of non-playable heroes into the game was a nice thought, but is a very underused feature. Having heroes turned on means that each team has a virtually invulnerable character doing mass damage. It almost takes the game out of the player’s hands and puts it into the team whose hero happens to stumble across enemy players. I like watching Darth Vader lay the smack down, but fighting against heroes is virtually impossible.

[floatleft][/floatleft]The control layout in Battlefront is your standard fare FPS Xbox setup and is very similar to the Halo layout with one major difference. That difference is that reload and change weapons use different buttons which drove me nuts. Luckily you can remap any buttons that you like. You can also switch between available 1st and 3rd person views. I personally enjoyed using the 3rd person view much more as it allowed me to watch my character blasting away at the opposing team.

While I said there was really just 1 major flaw in the game, there were a few additional things that got under my skin. For starters, the CIS team seems to be heavily favored. The Super Battle Droid and the Droideka had a hefty and almost unfair advantage on the battlefield. Certain maps also had vehicles for only one team which made capturing a vehicle or the spawn point with the vehicles very difficult. A person could remain in vehicle as a pilot (which autoheals the vehicle after taking damage) for the entirety of a match and rack up absurd numbers of kills. I have also heard of many complaints about the AI in this game but it is by and large very good in my eyes. Yes I have run across teammates staring at a wall, but that has been on a rare occasion.

So there you have it. We have been blessed with a second wonderful game in the same console generation based on the Star Wars license, the first being Knights of the Old Republic. I will be the first to let you know that if you suffer from GADD (Gaming Attention Deficit Disorder) then the limited gametype variety in Battlefront will drive you mad. I love playing Battlefront and I can’t comprehend how it will get old killing hordes of Stormtroopers or chasing down Rebel X-Wings. Battlefront gets my approval, but I definitely would give it some thought before purchasing it if you have limited patience or don’t plan on jumping on Live.

Score: 5/5

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