That’s entirely the point, though, because this is more a Star Wars simulator than a traditional first-person shooter. You’re here to immerse yourself in the universe you love, to be a part of it, to experience it with your friends, not to be cannon fodder for xxBiffLord69xx who can headshot you across the map with his super-advanced, heavily modded sniper rifle. Battlefront is precision engineered to squeeze your nostalgia gland dry … sometimes to its detriment.
The selection of blasters, for example, is hugely limited and very few weapons feel particularly different to the rest. They all have 100% authentic names too, like the E-11 rifle – hardly guns you’ll form a great attachment to, even if they look and sound spot on. Star Cards, which are the pre-set power-ups you’ll take into battle, are rather basic and precisely created to feel like part of the Star Wars universe. The net result is that there’s no single loadout that’ll give you an advantage over your opponents, and no combination of armaments that feels out of place on a galactic battlefield.
What about those battlefields? There are 13 maps in the game, split across four planets: Hoth, Endor, Tatooine, and Sullust. Each is perfectly suited to the specific modes they feature in and, yes, they’re all delightfully accurate, containing some neat little Easter eggs for fans to hunt down, like the Wampa lair on Hoth and the Jawa caves on Tatooine. While smaller arenas could be mistaken for reskinned versions of generic shooter maps, the real standouts are the massive play areas that host the 40 player modes like Walker Assault and Supremacy, because they offer up the ‘full Star Wars experience': vehicles, hero characters, multiple areas, and the grand scale that allows full-on aerial combat. These larger areas are mostly well designed too, offering enough cover and tighter, indoor areas to make sure regular grunts don’t feel out-muscled by vehicles and special characters.
In fact, there’s a real gulf in entertainment value between the bigger and smaller modes. Walker Assault is the standout because there’s always so much happening; so many roles to play, and such a varied selection of options for scrapping. As the Imperials, it’s your job to protect your AT-AT division through three phases of combat, keeping them standing long enough to destroy the opposition base. As the Rebels, it’s your task to stop them by defending uplinks long enough to call in Y-Wing bombers. Odds are still stacked in favour of the Imperials on this mode, but that makes Rebel victories all the sweeter.
What Walker Assault does is combine everything in a single, massive battle, and it’s all the better for it – win or lose, you’ll have a bloody brilliant time because everyone contributes in some way. Throw in that authentic score, which boldly stirs your emotions as you push for victory alongside your buddy, and it’s an experience few other games can ever hope to match.
Outside Walker Assault, Fighter Squadron (just aerial combat), and Supremacy (which is essentially Battlefield‘s Conquest mode – teams of 20 fight to occupy and hold five objective areas), the other modes are fairly similar, and expose the shallowness of the combat. Fewer players on a map, without the variety afforded by vehicles and multiple objectives, means you’re restricted to pure shooting and the rather limited power-ups. Not only that, but you’re less likely to experience those epic Star Wars moments, which really sucks the magic from the game. Personally, I enjoyed Droid Run, but only because I found endless entertainment watching the little fellas strolling around honking “Gonk” at me.