Battlefront is getting a bit of a kicking. Actually it is getting pretty universally torn apart. The criticism is certainly warranted, it literally costs an arm and a leg (which might explain the flight controls) and there is about as much content as there are drag clubs in Saudi Arabia. Still, that being said it’s copping hefty criticism from all corners in the sort of mass ‘band-wagoning’ usually reserved for anything that smells or quacks like #gamergate.
So, what is good about Star Wars: Battlefront? A great question, dear reader, and one I fully intend to answer just as soon as I work out how to stop ploughing my X-Wing into the side of a mountain…nope, fuck it we’ll move on… What is good about it? Firstly it is singularly standing alone as the best looking game money can buy. Genuinely it is astounding, I’ve never played a game that involves a forest and genuinely thought “oh that’s what forests look like with my actual eyes”, minus all the guys in pig masks but this isn’t about me, so if you like looking (and listening) at nice things then this is the game for you.
Now it’s time to get on the shooting train, aiming straight for the space immediately around and/or behind whoever I’m pointing at. Turns out lasers are slower than the bullets I’m used to filling my enemies with, and with the amount of time required to upgrade it will be a while before you get some high-end shit to fan at your friends. That being said, getting to the end scoreboard I’m often surprised by the amount of kills I’ve had (bare in mind I’m a bit shit at it still), and the large battlefields make geography as much as a factor of success as trigger speed.
These things are all against the grain of the current FPS as we know it. The way you’re supposed to do an FPS is pretty simple. Single player campaign and a few multiplayer modes with extensive load out options.
Star Wars goes a different route and is designed seemingly for the “average” gamer. This may come as a shock to the games press of the world, but the average gamer is a 35 year old man who buys 2 games a year: One being FIFA and the other being either COD or Assassins Creed. He has a job and a wife and doesn’t have time to play 300 hours of Fallout 4, but he probably has time for a bit of gaming and likes Star Wars. The counter to this is the slow progression, but then what else are EA supposed to do?
The elephant in the room to all this is of course the brand. Star Wars is fucking massive, and as much as being a nerd has become massive business, dragging comics and super heroes into the main stream, Star Wars (particularly the originally trilogy that Battlefront is based on) wasn’t for nerds. It was as broad as broad can be, with toys and merch galore and box office numbers that would make your Jar-Jars Binks. It wasn’t a love letter to nerd culture, it was designed to be a behemoth from start to finish, to usher in an era of expensive CGI to prop up the cinema experience before a wave of new technology crashed over the industry.
If the criticism of Battlefront is that it isn’t enough game to satisfy the games people, then that is a complete mis-reading of what this game is and who it is for. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, it creates broad, visually spectacular fun that is light on content but big on spectacle for short bursts of nostalgic fun for Star Wars fans, who happen to number in the millions.
If it wasn’t Star Wars it would be looked at like “Black” was for the PS2. A show piece. But this is Star Wars, it has loads of Star Wars things in it. I like Star Wars. So I like Battlefront.