STAR WARS BAT­TLE­FRONT

Shoot first

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

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.

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