STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT
released out now! Reviewed on Xbox one
Also on PC, Ps4
Publisher electronic arts
Endor. Red and green blaster fire erupting, Rebel scum on stolen speeder bikes, AT-STs strutting. Overhead, Ewoks scurry through the canopy. The noise, the look, the feel – this is the most wonderfully accurate, brilliantly recreated Star Wars experience ever. It’s a slavish recreation of the original trilogy (there’s no sign of any prequel stuff here, at all), polished to an authentically late ’70s-early ’80s sheen. Every vehicle, character, blaster and planet is just-so, smartly created to not only withstand thorough scrutiny from any dedicated Star Wars enthusiast, but also to work coherently within a well-balanced, AAA shooter. And this is an entertaining multiplayer-focused FPS, although not one that will satisfy the demands of hardcore players.
Shooting here is incredibly stripped-back and undemanding. You point, you shoot. That’s entirely the point, though, because this is more a Star Wars simulator than a traditional first-person shooter. Battlefront is precision engineered to squeeze your nostalgia gland dry, sometimes to its detriment – the selection of blasters, for example, is hugely limited. There are 13 maps in the game, split across Hoth, Endor, Tatooine and Sullust – all delightfully accurate, containing some neat Easter eggs. The real standouts are the massive play areas that host the 40 player modes like Walker Assault and Supremacy, because they offer up the “full Star Wars experience”: vehicles, hero characters, multiple areas, and the grand scale that allows full-on aerial combat.
Sadly, hero and villain characters are one of Battlefront’s few shortcomings. Swing a lightsaber as Luke and it never really feels like you’re connecting with your enemies, leaving what should have been an empowering aspect of the game incredibly underwhelming. Try to do away with a hero character as a grunt and you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of a serious battle of attrition.
But that’s a very small thing. As a wonderful recreation of some of your most cherished childhood fantasies Star Wars Battlefront is an absolute triumph. Andy Hartup
Keep an eye out for some neat movie locations, like the Wampa lair on Hoth and the Jawa caves on Tatooine.
Having forecast grey skies, Carol Kirkwood angrily turned to weaponry.