Monday, 23 November 2015

Star Wars: Battlefront: PS4 Review

Star Wars: Battlefront: PS4 Review


Platform: PS4
Released by EA and Dice Games

There is no denying that Star Wars fever is in the air.

Have you heard of a small independent film called The Force Awakens?

And when the BETA for Star Wars Battlefront dropped last month, there was the sound of a billion voices of Star Wars fans collectively crying out to sign up. (Including myself).

The general consensus was that the Star Wars Beta offered a new hope to fans of the games and also the next gen chance to flex its multiplayer muscles.

Thankfully, the full game expands that chance to play in the Star Wars Universe - but at a cost.

From DICE and EA, the team that brought us Battlefield, Star Wars: Battlefront is a deeply fun but ultimately slightly shallow game that dwells on its experience and will give fans the thrill they're seeking.

Aimed squarely at the multiplayer end of the market, the game is nothing short of a gem; its multiplayer offers you the chance to be on worlds that are iconic in Star Wars lore - from Tattooine to Hoth, you can tread the same ground as Luke, Leia or Darth did. And in fact, you can even be them too in either first or third person mode.

In fact, there's nothing better than its multiplayer, with its sense of chaos as you're dropped into the middle of a battle for supremacy or against Walkers and AT-ATs to try and save the day. The sense of reality in these levels is deeply immersive - even if it is occasionally brief as you're blasted to bits by another player desperate to get points (one of the downsides of the multiplayer is no chance to explore these worlds and revel in the incredibly realistic detail rendered in the game). There's no denying 48 hours was lost living in this world, where I joined with people I didn't know or mates to take on the rebel scum / imperial scum.

One of the problems though of the multiplayer is that you don't get to choose sides - they are allocated to you and you simply have to make do with it. Granted, it's possibly so there's a fair allocation of players but it would be nice to have some choice; a lot of the time I've taken place in Multiplayer events, I've been allocated repeatedly to a losing side - the only way to escape that is to leave the game completely. It's an odd thing to say but when progression via credits and XP come from winning, a continual losing streak hits you harder than you think.

The maps are big, but have boundaries. Any chance you stray too near the edges looking for the collectibles which pepper the game and you're prompted to get back or risk being kicked out of the game - again, a frustration given the design work the game's got. But given you see all of these worlds time and time again in different events, chances are you'll be acquainted with them before too long.

Though admittedly, this is one of the areas where depth or lack thereof comes to mind - any chance you get to learn one world is cast asunder given that you can't repeat it straight after.

Shooting is simple, controls are simple and locking on is a simple matter too - and with weapons readily available via the Star Cards system and power ups around the levels, there's enough chance to build an arsenal for a short time, rather than a long one. Giving yourself access to these cards and weapons comes from gaining credits and sees the customisation elements confined to 3 slots only - but given most of this is multiplayer, it allows for some kind of level playing field, which is to be welcomed.

From driving an AT-ST to piloting an XWing, being involved in dog fights from speeding through Endor on a bike to being either Luke or Darth, Star Wars: Battlefront is a great Star Wars experience. Though I do worry about its longevity once the novelty wears off. Levels like Droid Run and Blast benefit from simplicity of purpose and strategic execution. Drop Zone adds to the fun as you essentially try to capture and keep the flag - DICE has hardly gone out of the way to reinvent the wheel here and the modes are variations of most multiplayers you've been part of before.

Admittedly, Star Wars Battlefront won't win any awards for its single player (which is confined largely to training and a few other missions) but it will win for its commitment to the Star Wars Universe and its multiplayer ethos and execution.

With graphics that feel like you're in a George Lucas Star Wars holo-suite down to the realistic costumes and detailings of the set, Star Wars Battlefront is an unmissable multiplayer experience that gets to the core of why fans love it. Sure, there's DLC to come and for many waiting may be worth it in the long run, but for right now Star Wars Battlefront is simply addictive gaming, even if it does come up a little short on depth of content.

(For more on Star Wars Battlefront, visit the official EA Star Wars site)

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