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As you may have heard, the Star Wars franchise will be making its big return to theaters next month, but The Force Awakens isn’t the only major Star Wars revival we get this year. After a decade on the shelf, Star Wars Battlefront is also storming back to once again bring online multiplayer warfare to a galaxy far, far away.
This new Star Wars Battlefront, created by EA and Battlefield developer DICE, has certainly wowed players with eye-poppingly gorgeous trailers, but there have been warning signs, too. Warning signs like the fact that the game largely lacks a single-player mode and an open beta that left some fans with mixed feelings. So, is Star Wars Battlefront, the multiplayer shooter you’re looking for, or is it all nostalgia and no substance?
Star Wars Battlefront (PC, Xbox One & PS4)
Don’t go into Star Wars Battlefront expecting rich storytelling or an expansion of the new Star Wars Universe, because you’re not getting it. A few of the single-player training modes start and end with brief, largely pointless, little vignettes, but that’s as far as it goes. Star Wars Battlefront trusts the majority of its players know how the war between the Rebels and Empire went down, and doesn’t see much need to elaborate.
Star Wars Battlefront is a good-looking game. A really good-looking game. The game’s stages are incredibly detailed, and packed with all sorts of wonderful little details. The powdery snow that keeps a record of every footprint on Hoth, the heat waves rising from bubbling sulfuric mud pits and lava on Sullust, the butterflies and barely glimpsed flying creatures the populate the lush forests of Endor – sometimes you’ll wish the shooting would slow down for a second so you can just drink in the scenery. I should say the game does have a very slight plasticy sheen to it that makes things look just a tad artificial. Almost like you’re battling on a movie set instead of a real alien planet, which I suppose is appropriate. Star Wars Battlefront recreates the Star Wars universe so well, it even captures its fakiness.
The explosions also look pretty amazing.
In terms of audio, Star Wars Battlefront delivers a heavy bombardment of nostalgia. The iconic Star Wars theme is the first thing you hear when you start up, and the John Williams-inspired tunes rarely let up for the rest of the game. Most of the game’s heroes and villains aren’t voiced by their movie counterparts, but EA and Lucasfilm have found voice actors that sound almost exactly like Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and the rest. Hell, the guy doing Han Solo probably sounds more like Harrison Ford than Harrison Ford does these days.
Star Wars Battlefront doesn’t reinvent the shooter in any particularly groundbreaking way. The game plays similarly to a lot of other modern online shooters, DICE’s own Battlefield series in particular, with a few old-school features, like the ability to play as powered-up Hero characters, lifted from previous Battlefront games.