It’s been ten long years since the latest main instalment of Star Wars: Battlefront. Star Wars has never really went away, it’s always seemed omnipresent to me, especially within my life. The prequel trilogy seemed to cause more damage to the series as opposed to bringing jubilation to fans of the original. Now it looks like Star Wars is set to have a triumphant return, coming back better than ever. The atmosphere in the community seems to be thriving and once again the hype is at an all time high. The Force Awakens film is teetering on the horizon and years of Star Wars content eagerly awaits around the corner.
With the arrival of new content we have seen the latest and most ambitious Star Wars game to date. I recently spoke in an earlier article about how happy I was to see the return of Battlefront – with many others sharing the same feeling.
But one thing I cannot seem to avoid is the cloud of negativity that surrounds the upcoming release. A lot of it stems from comments and negative criticism scattered over various social media sites. I have gathered as many different comments as I can, listing them below, so I am able to dissect and breakdown each one as best I can. I have tried to answer these with enough logic and rationale, breaking down each point with why I think DICE has made the right decision and why people need to re-think the negativity they seem to be drilling into EA and DICE.
This is the longest article I’ve written so I apologise for the long read you’re in for, so grab yourself a cuppa (British slang for a cup of tea) before you carry on. I have a lot of love for the series and I just wanted to get some stuff off my chest, in order to put an answer behind a few of these statements. I don’t expect you to read this entire article, but if you do – Thank you.
Again this is just my own personal opinion, yours may well differ and that’s totally fine, but by the end of this article I hope to at least change your mind if you are one of those people who are looking at the game from a negative perspective.
There are only 4 planets available, featuring only 12 maps!
This isn’t entirely true, although the game will launch with 12 maps – featuring the desert planet of Tatooine, the forest moon of Endor, the desolate frozen wasteland of Hoth and the previously unexplored Sullust. We will also have the free ‘Battle of Jakku’ DLC, which is set on the planet that first appears in the teasers for The Force Awakens. This is something that can only be experienced within Battlefront, as the film takes place after this monumental battle.
Fans who pre-order the game will be able to receive this DLC on December 1st, with it becoming readily available for free a week later. From the research I’ve been able to gather, this will be a planet; featuring two extra maps. So in the end it seems the game will have around 14 maps, at least a week after release. But the lack of maps seems to upset a fair few, going to the extremes of vowing to not go anywhere near the game on release.
Lets just break this down a little. When COD 4: Modern Warfare launched the game instantly become a multiplayer favourite among fans. It is now regarded as probably the best Call of Duty game within its series. The game launched with just 16 maps. Yes 16! that’s just two more than what we’ll eventually have in Battlefront, considering you download the free Jakku DLC when it becomes available. An extra 5 maps were added through DLC, at the cost of the player. Something we’ll more than likely see in Battlefront.
Battlefield 4 launched with just 10 maps, again I don’t think I heard one complaint being made by this, even though people have lost their shit because Battlefront will have only 14 maps a week after it’s launch – this is still 2 more than Battlefield 4’s launch lineup. Battlefield: Hardline launched with even less! Offering just 9 maps! – with not one ounce of criticism to be found surrounding this. Now don’t get me wrong, these games do offer a single player campaign, but when we get into the nitty gritty of things is that really what people buy Battlefield and Call of Duty for, their lacklustre single player campaigns? I’ll touch on this later in the article.
Let’s look at it from a different perspective, when the online only FPS Shadowrun released in 2007, it offered only 9 maps and 3 game modes, although not received well by critics, this hidden gem went onto be a cult favourite among many fans. I being one of them. I played the game an endless amount and loved the level design each map offered, this was something that was clearly thought out and had effort put behind it when being designed.
Quantity doesn’t always mean quality and a lot of the time, less can be more. I’d rather have fewer amazing levels, or maps, as opposed to a lot of average ones. Take Counter Strike: Source for example, the game launched with just 9 maps and if you’ve ever played the game you’ll notice that most players only ever play Dust and Office. This is because the level design behind those maps is exceptional, it is why the game is still played extensively today – even though it was released more than a decade ago.
So I can’t see why on earth people are kicking up such a fuss on battlefront having ‘only’ 12 – 14 maps, non of which have been experienced by anybody yet, so they aren’t able to judge what the level design is like. Compare this number to other games being released in the same genre and the game offers an average amount of maps, if not more.
The graphics won’t look anything like the reveal trailer!
Yes, this is somewhat correct, but not completely. There have been a number of people who got to experience the game play trailer, first hand, running at 60FPS, on an original PS4, not a dev kit. Which is the set FPS the game will run at when launched. I am on speaking terms with a few of the lucky people that got the opportunity to experience this trailer in Stockholm. So I wanted to piece together as much information from them as I could. The information below is a collective from a number of different primary sources who got to witness the PS4 game play trailer, firsthand:
“The whole game play trailer was played on Endor, similar to the reveal trailer. It showed the play style from both 3rd and 1st person. Just judging from the two trailers, the graphics looked just as amazing on the PS4 game play trailer as they did in the reveal one. Other locations and paths are shown within the Endor forest. Player names are shown above speeder bikes and AT-ST’s, confirming that they are in fact playable. Blaster duels looked absolutely fantastic, featuring green and red lasers shooting amongst the battlefield attached was the ever familiar “pew pew” blaster noise that has become renowned to many Star Wars fans. The blaster and explosive effects looked absolutely stunning and the destruction shown looked incredible. Some of the best effects I’ve ever seen in a video game.”
You’ve got to understand the last time we saw the graphics of a Battlefront game was on the PS2. We are now two console generations ahead of the PS2. Star Wars: Battlefront isn’t being made for last gen consoles (PS3/Xbox360), meaning that DICE has the capability and potential to harness the full power of next gen to make the game look beautiful and run as smooth as possible. I can honestly believe it when people say that we will be blown away with the visual aspect of the game.
Player count is only 20 v 20, that’s far too small!
Right, so that’s 40 players for each game, give or take depending on the game mode, but in this context this is the maximum amount of players it will feature. Personally I have no problem with this, as long as the maps are tailored and worked in a way so that 40 players is feasible and you aren’t having to walk miles just to find other players, then I’m fine with it. Games which have high player counts usually feature huge maps that sometimes don’t take into account the player count they’re built for. How many times have you played on a game where the count has been something along the lines of 64 v 64, for example on Rush in Battlefield 4, how quickly has that turned sour? it can get messy, very quickly. More player’s means bigger maps, resulting in more down time when waiting to get into games. Personally I’d rather be in the action as quickly as possible and be part of a team where I felt as though I was actually making a difference, helping to contribute towards the objective rather than feeling like I wasn’t making any difference.
You can’t even drive the AT-ATs!
Yes the AT-AT’s are going to be on rails. They will be featured in specific game modes where they will traverse towards an objective at a set pace. Did anyone actually play Battlefront 2 and try to drive one of these mechanical giants? they’re slow, heavy and it became boring very quickly when trying to actually drive one.
I don’t see a problem with them being on rails, moving towards an objective. What if it wasn’t on rails and for example a player might not use the AT-AT to continue on the set path they’re meant to be on, in order to complete an objective, thus resulting in the game mode not being played like it’s supposed to be and pissing off many other players. Nothing has been confirmed but the AT-AT may even work similar to that of the AC-130 gunship in Battlefield 4, where the player can control its guns at certain points of the game but not control it’s movement. I wouldn’t be surprised if something along the same lines was implemented into Battlefront. But personally, I’ve had my fill controlling AT-AT’s in Battlefront 2 and would rather be caught up in the fast paced combat upon the battlefield.
There will be no Iron Sights in the game!
Guess what, Battlefront 1 and 2 had no iron sights either, so what on earth is the big deal with this being featured as an article on all of these video game sites – basically using this as a reason to complain about the game it seems, inviting more people to ridicule it. People said they didn’t want a Battlefield re-skin, or something that was going to resemble Call of Duty. But DICE confirm there’ll be no iron sights and cue a hateful mob of gamers with pitchforks and torches, commenting on how Battlefront will fail because of this option not being added.
Here’s another point to help back up the lack of iron sights, one of the biggest FPS game series’ of our generation doesn’t have iron sights. A game that has been played online and around the world for years, also being featured in tournaments at a competitive level. That game is Halo. Yet people still seem to think Battlefront will fail due to the lack of iron sights. I have no problem with this what so ever, people seem to think it’s a huge problem. I love Halo, I loved the original Battlefront games, each not offering iron sights, this also pushes the use of 3rd person further, allowing people to use this perspective and not come at a disadvantage to those who may be using 1st person if iron sights had been implemented.
There’s No Class System!
I’ve seen a lot of people saying they aren’t happy that Battlefront won’t offer any class system. Nicholas Fegraeus has said, “Players are able to freely pick their weapons and gear, rather than selecting pre-made classes.” It seems like you will be able to unlock and use whatever load out you want by levelling up and gaining more XP, which more than likely will be used to unlock or purchase new gear and weapons. A lot of people aren’t happy that there won’t be set archetypes.
It seems like Battlefront will be adopting a load out system and you won’t be able to choose the typical soldier, engineer, scout etc. as you have been able to do in other games. Well if it is a load out system, what the hell is stopping you from recreating the classes you loved from the previous games, now with the added option to tweak them even further?
You can still set all the load outs to how the original class systems were. Meaning that those who didn’t want to lose those original classes can still have them, those who want a more open load out, being able to set whatever they like to their player, can have that too. It seems like fans just want a HD version of Battlefront 2 and if anything is changed then that’s it, they aren’t buying it.
Does the game even have Third person!?
Battlefront now has the ability to instantly change between 1st and 3rd person within battle. Something that BF2 had, but not given instantly by the touch of a button. Instead you would have to go into the start menu and adjust the controls manually, save, then back out. Personally I very rarely played in first person anyway, so I was very pleased when DICE announced that the game would have a 3rd person option. Hopefully it’s equally balanced when fighting someone in 1st person. I like being able to see my character, especially since customisation is now an option.
What is the Customisation like? Are there any Unlockables and Achievements?
I’m very happy to see customisation making it’s debut in Battlefront, especially in a way that is going to stay true to the series. Already I’ve seen fans wanting customisation to be as deep and extensive as games like COD. Do you really want to see a pink Darth Vader storming around Hoth, X-Wings and blasters featuring marijuana filled decals, all this while being accompanied by a Snoop Dogg voiced announcer. I don’t think so.
I can’t emphasise enough how this is not going to be like Call of Duty or Battlefield. If you want them games, then play them games. Simple. I think the customisation we see from Battlefront will consist of being able to change the players race, face and looks, clothing variations and maybe added extras such as backpacks and different styles of helmets, boots, gloves etc. Especially with something like rebel forces. The Empire will more than likely feature customisation options such as weathered and battle worn armour – I think it’ll be similar to the customisation that was seen in Warhawk, for PS3. You have to bare in mind that DICE want to push authenticity, so if it’s not seen in the Star Wars universe then it won’t be seen in Battlefront.
When questioned in a recent twitter Q & A, Niklas Fegraeus has stated “Yes, there will be plenty of things to unlock, achieve and collect” more on this will be revealed at a later a date, from speculation this could tie into extra options for character and weapon customisation, as well as potentially offering a system where the player can complete various challenges in order to be rewarded with generous XP bonuses.
There’s NO Campaign in the game!
Personally this is something that didn’t bother me anyway. In the first instalment of Battlefront the campaign consisted of grouping several battles together, taken from instant action, and loosely based this on the historical campaign of either the Clone Wars or the Galactic Civil War. When I first picked up Battlefront on the PS2 I didn’t go out my way to buy it for the campaign. I played instant action in split screen at a friends house and fell in love with it instantly. From there the series grew on me and this was the exact same reason I picked up Battlefront 2, it had nothing to do with the campaign, as to me that wasn’t the core selling point of the game, I’d rather re-create the famous battles for myself, living them out my own way. When COD games are on the horizon of release, do you think shops have midnight openings and people queue for hours on end to get their hands on it, just so they can hurry home to play the 5 hour campaign, guess what? No!
Now I’m not saying games like COD and Battlefield don’t offer good single player components, but these games have never been renowned for their single player. Their multiplayer component is what has always came first, heck even Battlefield 4 chose to put multiplayer first in their UI menu design, knowing from user experience testing that the majority of players would always select Multiplayer first.
Look what happened when games like Titanfall tried to tack on a single player, it was terrible. When fantastic Single Player games release, the developers or fans seem to think that their needs to be a multiplayer tagged on to it. There really doesn’t. This usually ends up resulting in a decent single player game becoming brought down by it’s multiplayer such as the Uncharted series. I love when good single player games release without any presence of an online aspect i.e. Wolfenstein.
So with this in mind why do developers and players seem to think we need a terrible single player attached to a good multiplayer game? I buy a single player game for the single player and a multiplayer game for the multiplayer. I’d rather the effort be put into one rather than a ratio of 80/20 depending on what the main focus of the game is in the first place.
So when there was no campaign mentioned for Battlefront, my first response was “FANTASTIC!!”. I wish people would stop thinking that we need both to have a good game, or that more content means a better game. I’d rather have good quality content over a shitload of mediocre content. The game still offers offline modes featuring a missions system – which comes in place of the campaign. This allows players to relive battles that were made famous by the films. Maybe even having the chance to change the course of the battle for a totally different outcome.
Bot matches are still available and all of this can be played in co-op, online or offline, using split screen. So there is still an element there for those who prefer the single player to online action. But just like games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield the full experience can’t be had without playing online.
No Prequel Era Content!
Ok, the game isn’t shipping with any prequel era content. Let me tell you why this is a good thing. The main reason is there’ll be NO sight of the irritating Jar Jar Binks! Joking aside though, if DICE is only focusing on the original trilogy that means more of their time is dedicated to making the content for this the best that it can be. This again refers back to the ‘lack’ of maps. With less maps and only one trilogy being focused on at the minute, surely this means that we will get the best out of this era.
With authenticity already being shoved down our throats, it seems like DICE is doing everything in it’s power to create the best Star Wars Battlefront experience for the best trilogy, so far. Plus, you’d have to be pretty stupid to think EA and DICE won’t eventually offer some sort of prequel content as DLC.
Personally, I think this will remain at the bottom of the list though, I presume that the first DLC packs will stem from the sequel trilogy and focus more around that era, again this is something that can only be available in DLC form, as shipping Battlefront; that contained spoilers within maps, characters and content from the new trilogy before the film released, would be unfair to those so hyped for the film rather than the game. But without a doubt I can put my money where my mouth is and say we will definitely see DLC from the sequels and prequels.
EA and DICE are keeping content back to release as DLC later!
I’d love to know where on earth people get these sort of statements from. These companies need us to buy their games. Without us they’re nothing. Why on earth would a company create all of this content and decide not to ship it on day one. These companies want their games to be well received; they aren’t trying to fuck people over by leaving content out, resulting in their games becoming ridiculed and not selling well.
Lets face it, game companies need to elongate the life span of their games. Video games are one of, if not the fastest growing form of entertainment and with that games are becoming bigger and better, resulting in the cost of creation skyrocketing. This means that once a game is bought, the companies still need to find a way to make money off of that game. DLC has to be offered to keep these games companies a float, so more content can be created in the future. DLC isn’t being forced onto you, you don’t have to buy it. It’s there for those that want that little bit extra from their favourite video games. A lot of the time I never touch DLC, I’ve never bought a season pass in my life. No one has ever made me do it, but I’d always like to have the option there to expand on a game or universe that I loved.
There are NO space battles!
This one really does make me laugh. I can’t believe the uproar I’ve seen for the game not having any space battles. A part of me wonders how many people actually played the original Battlefront games. I was around fifteen when this series launched and was already a huge Star Wars fan. A lot of fifteen to eighteen year olds nowadays wouldn’t of even been over the age of ten at the time of launch.
The majority of those probably didn’t grow up in a period where Star Wars was as prevalent as it’s going to become again with the sequel trilogy. They would have been brought up in a cut off period between the two sequels. So a lot of those who may be interested in this game may not have played or be able to refer back to the older games in the series, but may use a FPS game reference point as something like COD or Battlefield, which Battlefront is not.
They may have looked back at old Battlefront games or watched the films and think that the space battles were the best part of it. Believe me, in the games they weren’t. Coming from someone who has sunk an unbelievable amount of hours into the Battlefront series, most of it was spent in planetary combat, something that this new instalment will be greatly focusing on.
Having to wait around in one of the hangars for a ship to spawn, just so I could go out and mow down a few other pilots, to then be left in a madness of barrel rolling waiting for the next squadron to take to the skies just didn’t appeal to me at all, frankly it got quite boring.
Don’t get me wrong there was a lot of fun to be had, but it didn’t compare to the fun I had on the ground combat maps. People seem to be forgetting one major point. These famous battles between X-Wings and TIE Fighters, Rebel Alliance vs. Empire, they haven’t been removed from the game. We now face an even more exciting aspect. Just picture this, especially those die-hard space battle fans, the ones that just can’t seem to accept this ‘vital’ piece being absent from the new Battlefront.
You have those on the ground battling it out against other ground troops and through vehicular combat, those who enjoy taking to the skies can still do so. You’re still going to be engaging in ariel combat, dog fighting along side your fellow comrades against a squadron of TIE Fighters, X-Wings or whatever ships you engage with. This time round you are not only able to take other pilots out, you can also navigate through flack of incoming fire from ground combat, or even reign down open fire on those below you and if you do get tired of owning the skies, then you can easily return to the action on the battlefield below and once again in engage in planetary combat.
Now how on earth is that not any better than just flying around in space? Again there’s no doubt, if people want this enough, DICE will more than likely release space combat at a later stage – but I really wouldn’t mind it if it never saw the light of day again. I’m happy with what’s already being offered. Space combat isn’t one of the main reasons why I loved the game.
Battlefront will just be a Battlefield re-skin!
There are always going to be elements of Battlefield within the game, whether we like it or not, the game is being created from the same team who made Battlefield. It’s like telling an artist not to paint the way he usually does, when attempting to create his newest masterpiece, he will more than likely easily achieve this, but most of the time they can still be identified by their work.
This is similar to how many game companies work take Rockstar, Irrational Games and Bethesda for example, each one can usually be indentified by the type of game they create. When you see a Rockstar game you just know it’s a Rockstar game by the way it plays or looks. Battlefront will not be a total re-skin of Battlefield but will more than likely see some elements.
This is apparent when referring back to must of the points above, but to reiterate “the Battlelog system won’t feature in Battlefront, it is being totally reworked and Built from scratch” Jesper Nielsen revealed on Reddit, something that a lot of people hated in Battlefield. Third person is present, there’s no iron sights, rocket launchers, shields and other various equipment will be available as powerups and pick-ups within the battlefield.
Jetpacks are available, Hero characters such as Vader, Boba Fett and many others to follow will now be playable. Ammo won’t be available in the game, instead blasters will feature a cool down mechanic. The game won’t feature a squad system like other battlefield games, instead you can team up with a buddy where you will be able to spawn on each other and share your upgrades regardless of your level or XP gap. So for those worried about this being a quick re-skin job of Battlefield, can worry no longer.
I’d love to hear of a few more features added, such as environments being more destructible; but this may not be as present as first thought. DICE has spoken about destruction and although it will feature in the game it will only be applicable in an authentic way. So we may not see environments becoming completely destroyed. If this is the case then I’d like to at least see some form of levelolution, meaning that maps you are playing on change with the course of the battle. Seeing the weather conditions in Hoth change dramatically, or having the Star Destroyer crash down amidst the action in Jakku would be amazing.
I don’t think I’d want to see any other company developing this game. This is DICE. They haven’t made a bad game in a long time, yeah Battlefield 4 had a rocky launch but that was soon fixed and Hardline didn’t suffer from this at all. Each game builds on the old ones and adds something new.
EA were ridiculed for always trying to milk every penny from the consumer, something they received a lot of flack for and lately seem to be cleaning up their act.
Star Wars wasn’t really on the best of grounds until it was sold to Disney, we hadn’t really seen a phenomenal Star Wars game in a long time and a lot of people were still trying to strip the prequels from their minds. Now it seems that Disney and Lucasfilms are working alongside each other to pull out all the stops. I couldn’t be more excited for the new trilogy as well as the anthology series. They all seem to have learnt from their mistakes, a lot of care seems to be being put into this game.
I think this Battlefront could be reaching the pinnacle of all Star Wars games. It has the potential to be the best one ever created, which something all three companies want to see happen. So please, those of you giving this game so much hate and negativity. Have a rethink, let’s see what DICE does first and then complain after if needs be. I have a lot of faith in them and if the game fails on every level, I’ll happily let you all tell me “I told you so”.
Battlefront is a reboot, so please stop comparing it to the old ones. It’s a new era now, the last game was ten years ago, a lot has changed since then. They’re best developers to take on this project and I don’t think I’d want to see anyone else in the driver’s seat. So come one give the guys a chance.