This weeks recommendation is one of the most highly anticipated games of the Winter season, in the form of DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront. This game is a massive online multi-player shooter set in the Star Wars universe around the time of the original Rebellion, and not only does the game look and feel like Star Wars but its so much fun its difficult to log off once you get on.
Dice have created possibly the best looking FPS game I’ve seen on the current generation here in terms of the graphical output and the attention to detail they have given to each of the maps and the worlds. The game as it stands (season pass free) contains 4different worlds and 12different maps each of which feel and look like classic locations from the movies. This is the first huge draw to this game- the moment you log-in and get started with a game you get the iconic John Williams score and you get a visual image of a huge battle zone that feels familiar and looks like the movie from the beginning.
The landscape are all so well rendered and designed that they look beautiful and feel completely immersive- from the moment you arrive on either the vast snow expanse of Hoth or the insanely detailed forests of Endor you are swept away by the sheer visual detail they’ve packed into the landscape. This could be the simple way your trooper leaves footprints in the snow on Hoth, or the way you can see the water move on the rivers and waterfalls of Endor- the environments are a true visual treat.
However as with any game of this type looking beautiful for the maps, just isn’t simple enough as they have to be functional and well designed to play and give you enough options to not simple create a bottle neck of troopers in the massive 40man matches. This is one of the areas in which the game flourishes as the landscapes on the modes feel big enough to prevent catastrophic funnelling but not too huge that you never meet the enemy- and this is exceptionally important in the ‘Drop Zone’ mode where the levels feel big enough for you to find the pods and really sneak around, but not too big that the re-spawn points are too far away from the objectives. Add to this the underground cave system on Hoth that feels amazing and some of the indoor medical bay facilities that you can run through full of Bacta tanks and droids and all of maps give you that Galaxy Far Far Away instantly.
Despite the attention to details no game of this type is complete without a great series of match types to get involved within and Battlefront with a total of 9modes currently available and each of these is engrossing and fun. The simple matches such as Supremacy (simple deathmatch) and Cargo run are short and sweet matches that any FPS online gamer would be used too, but then there are modes that give you the epic Star Wars battles you would expect- the most obvious of these being Walker Assault. The aim of this mode is too either support the AT-AT (If your an Imperial) in making there way to the generators to destroy them by stopping the rebels from controlling ‘Uplinks’ and calling in Ywings to take out the big walkers shields. Or as the rebel you need to destroy the AT-AT’s before they reach the shields/transports. Here’s a quick glimpse of the epic gameplay.
Yes these levels are insane, in terms of their scale, size and fun levels. Not too mention you can get the aerial power-ups and the Hero tokens to wield your favourite hero on the field of battle. These are one of the more fun elements of the game and can last for a good 30minutes of intense and fun battle time. ‘Drop Zone’ is a great mode for smaller teams (8per team) and has you securing a drop pod and trying to hold it until the next arrives allowing you to score a point for your team and the first team to 5 wins. This mode really relies on the ability for you to work as part of a team, as trying to do all this on your own never happens- this mode also doesn’t include any heroes which is a very nice change.
Speaking of the heroes if you play ‘Hero Hunt’ or ‘Heroes Vs Villains’ you get a real sense of how epic these characters are within the game- you have the option of Luke, Solo, Leaia, Vader, Boba Fett and Palpatine all of which play very differently but are amazing fun to play as. These modes both use smaller maps and rely on you hunting down and killing the opposing facitons heroes/hero to score points to win the round. Getting to see the heroes go on a kill streak is fun- especially if its you as Boba Fett. Each hero has 3unique abilities that can be used that range from Lightsaber throw to Force Lightning and Single shot kill making the combat experience unique for each of these. Its in these moments as the heroes that the game makes itself unique, as it sometimes feels like a great shooter but other than the Star Wars theme nothing new until you get to wield the power of the force of the jetpack of Boba Fett, and then the game becomes totally unique and you spend your whole time trying to re-find the hero token and go back into the thick of battle once more. Add to these modes the ability to take to the skies in the great areal battles that Star Wars is known to display in a 20 on 20 Tie Fighter/Tie Interceptor vs X-wing/A-Wing battles that include the Slave1 and the Millennium falcon as the heroes and this game just gets even better. While I found it difficult to not simple get blasted out of the sky at first due to the pace of these battles, after several goes this may well be one of my favourite modes as it really adds something different to the game.
The game has so many amazing moments in multi-player like hearing the tie fighter screech as it zooms past, watching the AT-AT crash to the ground, killing a platoon with a well placed lightsaber throw and even hearing the thermal imploder go off and send bodies flying across the terrain. Everything this game does is fun, aesthetically pleasing and plays brilliantly. Even the single player missions, which can be played with a partner, are fun. They sometimes only consist of the multi-player games set to offline but even then the hero hunt is fun against the bots and gives you practice for the online battles to come. However some of the single player missions are set out with you dealing with wave after wave of increasingly difficult threats on gorgeous maps and well designed layouts that are fun and exciting.
Everything about this game is brilliantly presented and sounds and feels so much like Star Wars that if your a fan of the franchise this game should be an instant purchase, and even if your not and you just like an online shooter then nothing gets better than this so far on the current generation for sheer enjoyment.