So I bit the bullet and paid for a 12 month subscription to EA’s Access on my Xbox One. Two reasons for this being; early access to Star Wars Battlefront and to eventually get FIFA16 when it becomes available in the vault, as I can’t justify/afford purchasing the new edition every year.
As an added bonus (in my opinion), I now have a bunch of other games at my disposal when I get around to downloading them with my very average Internet speed…..
But this isn’t about EA Access, or my methods of spending money on gaming, rather it is about helping you to determine if Star Wars Battlefront is worth buying! Just remember, this is not a typical game review, rather an account of my initial impression of the game, coming at you from a more casual gaming perspective. I love Star Wars, growing up with the three original movies, but I am not what you would call an enthusiast or fanatic.
To get started, I needed to ask myself three questions and seek out their answers when playing the game, the three being; is the game play good? does it have enough depth to keep me interested, and will there be enough people playing it after the first few months following its release to keep the multiplayer (the main component of the title) going?
I started off playing this game during its trial phase which as previously mentioned, was available via EA Access, and upon completion of this article, I had spent the majority of time playing post release. The change in matchmaking was significant between the two phases, where it was struggle street to get into a match quickly prior to the official launch, compared with the almost instant connection to matches in any of the numerous game types. I haven’t checked the figures (because I wouldn’t know where to look for legit stats) on how many people are playing the game on Xbox One but it definitely feels like there are plenty of people playing the game. While this doesn’t necessarily answer the question about the population to maintain the multiplayer, it provides me with confidence!
Is the game play and good? Well the game itself feels extremely well made, with a great feel to the controls and is also visually stunning. To me it feels like I am essentially playing a Battlefield game in a Star Wars setting, though there are differences, including the way in which you are able to access vehicles which are “pick ups” on the map. There is also “power ups” that are scattered in areas of the map that give you weapons for single use such as a rocket launcher or an orbital strike. I didn’t like this at first, but it has grown on me, as it means players need to keep on the move if they want access to vehicles or power weapons. At the same time too, if you are too greedy, you may find yourself getting killed often because your focus is on the pick ups, and not your nearest enemies.
I am yet to experience lag in any matches or game types I have played, which is a great achievement given the 20v20 modes along with huge maps to roam around in. There have been a few of those questionable moments where you feel that a large portion of your shots are not registering on the intended target, but as mentioned it has only been a few times. The sounds in the game are fantastic, from the AT’s through to the Speeders and the sound of a ……using its blasters. It is awesome to see a sudden eruption of laser fire filling your screen as numerous opponents find each other on the same area of the map, which also acts as an indicator as to where your enemies might be, in comparison to other shooters where you can’t see bullet fire well.
For a more casual gamer, the load-out system should appeal, as you are not overwhelmed by monumental numbers of different guns, secondary weapons and abilities. I have found with some games, the designers have gone too far with this aspect, perhaps hoping that it will make gamers feel there is more depth to the game than there actually is. In reality, multiplayer in FPS titles such as Battlefield, Call of Duty and Halo are all about doing the same thing over and over again – deployment onto a map in free for all or team warfare, shoot everything and hope you are good enough to win. There isn’t any story progression or character development, but it is fun when it is done right, and I believe DICE have succeeded with Star Wars Battlefront by stripping back this area to make the gaming itself take centre stage.
Although menu’s don’t really have anything to do with game play, they do play an important part in the overall feel of the game, and I love what they have done. Along with a more simplified approach to load outs and the unlock system behind them, the menus also keep things easy, allowing to move between multiplayer, missions and more quickly.
Will more hard core gamers discard the game soon after the release? The weapon unlocks, simplified load outs and lack of a campaign could see popularity fall sooner rather than later, but it does depend on what you want out of a game. The thrill of battles within a Star Wars universe for me offers enough appeal to keep coming back, added to this is the fact that you don’t need to invest huge amounts of your time with the game to have fun. So if you want a game that you can switch on and just play for a few hours, Battlefront hits the spot!
As an added bonus, there is a companion app for the game, available on iOS and android devices, which gives you access to all your in game stats as well as working hand in hand with the game itself. There is a mini game within the app that allows you to earn credits to spend in Battlefront!
I hope this article offers some help towards those yet to decide if they want to spend their hard earned dollars on it. For me I am glad I have!