‘Battlefront’ comes close but misses mark

By Grant Stoner | The Duquesne Duke

Courtesy of EA DICE The “Battlefront” franchise was acquired by EA DICE from previous developer Pandemic Studios. “Star Wars Battlefront” is its first entry in the series.

Courtesy of EA DICE
The “Battlefront” franchise was acquired by EA DICE from previous developer Pandemic Studios. “Star Wars Battlefront” is its first entry in the series.

The first entry in the series in 10 years, “Star Wars Battlefront” attempts to recapture the great and varied game play of the originals. Unfortunately,  just like a Stormtrooper, it misses its mark.

At its core, “Star Wars Battlefront” is a multiplayer shooter that transports players into engaging conflicts within the Star Wars universe. Iconic landscapes from parts of the original trilogy are recreated into arenas for players to do battle in. DICE manages to mimic the planetary environments of the movie franchise by bringing to life four recognizable worlds. They include the forest moon of “Endor,” the frigid ice-covered “Hoth,” the desert world of “Tatooine” and the manufacturing planet of “Sullust.”

However, this is significantly lower than the amount of planets offered in previous entries of the “Battlefront” series and a huge drawback.

Surveying the repetitive scenery of the four planets may quickly become dull, but what takes place during matches is often full of frantic, fast-paced chaotic action. Whether donning Imperial Stormtrooper armor or the disheveled rags of a Rebel Alliance freedom fighter, each battle comes to life like a scene straight from the movie series. From the moment your boots touch the ground, your soldier is dodging laser fire, tossing thermal grenades and ducking from the screeching star-fighters that zoom overhead.

Where previous titles offered a traditional campaign, “Star Wars Battlefront” instead gives players several quick missions which can be completed solo or with a partner. However, these serve as nothing more than a slight distraction. This game ultimately targets gamers who are looking for a player vs. player experience alone.

The game provides a total of nine multiplayer modes. From the 12-player “Blast,” a traditional team-death-match game mode, to the 40-player “Walker Assault,” different modes keep the action refreshing. Those looking to relive the experiences of the old games will most likely migrate toward “Supremacy.” This 40-player game type tasks teams with capturing and holding more control points than the enemy. In all game modes, players will receive the assistance of heroes, vehicles and various armaments.

Scattered throughout the levels are special power-ups which players can acquire to help to diversify their load-outs. A total of 23 power-ups provide gamers with the opportunity to assist players in turning the tide of the battle, whether by wielding a light saber or flying an X-Wing.

However, the power-ups only appear in fixed locations on each map. This means that people familiar with the spawn points will often wait for their favorite power-up to appear, snatching it before others have the chance to acquire them.

Moderate customization tools are offered, which allow players to choose between 11 blasters, along with equipment cards that contain secondary weapons and abilities. Cosmetic alterations are also available, yet the limited choices rarely add diversity between teams. Gamers can expect to see the same appearances from multiple people in a single match.

Accompanying the musical scores of legendary composer John Williams are the melodies of Gordy Haab, creator of the soundtracks for “Kinect Star Wars” and “Star Wars: The Old Republic.” The music heightens the intensity of each conflict, especially after losing or gaining an objective. Players will also delight in the familiar tune of the “Imperial March” when Darth Vader appears, signaling that the all-powerful Sith Lord has entered the fray.

“Star Wars Battlefront” is an immensely entertaining game, albeit for a limited time. After roughly 12 hours, gamers will have experienced everything that it can offer. While each match can unfold in a different way, the thrill of hearing and seeing “Star Wars” can quickly diminish. Perhaps the upcoming release of the film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” will inspire gamers to look past the shortcomings and appreciate DICE’s contribution to the “Star Wars” universe.

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