One of the most anticipated games of the season, Star Wars: Battlefront, has finally released, and is being met with great reviews from most gaming media. The reboot of the wildly popular 2004 game series, being developed this time by EA Dice, features new maps as well as re-imaginings of old ones, new game modes, gorgeous visuals, and has been the talk of the town on social media, at least when folks aren’t talking about Fallout 4. But while fans of both Star Wars and shooters alike are enjoying their newly revamped game, many gamers are criticizing the outing, basically just saying that “it sucks”. Why? I believe the answer lies in two areas: the direction modern shooters have taken, and the blatant extortion practice known as DLC, or Season Passes.
STAR WARS VS CALL OF DUTY
It seems as though many of the major gameplay complaints coming from Battlefront’s camp are largely centered around its difficulty. Gamers who normally rip up the field in Call of Duty games are facing matches where they die constantly in SW:B. This is because Battlefront is, for the most part, fairly balanced. All weapons have even strengths and fair weaknesses to accompany them. For example, the T-61 heavy blaster does a great amount of damage with one shot, but has a relatively slow firing rate compared to most other blasters. This can be problematic with characters that run as fast as these do, and would cause a player to retake aim and carefully time your shots. As any FPS player will know, a battle can change in a split second.
Another reason for frequent deaths are the shooting lanes. The maps in SW:B are enormous, and it can be difficult to navigate. In one particular Tatooine map, there’s a spot near the Jawa crawler at the entrance of a cave which is a haven for grenades and blaster fire, and in games like Conquest where you have to capture control points, going in a straight line to the target like that will most likely end in your death. This tactic forces players to use their surroundings to find different entrance points and even flank a specific target in order to capture it. Camping is simply not an option, as with so many players and bots on screen it’s difficult to stay in one place for too long without someone finding you. While there are places where one can just sit and snipe, it is most certainly not recommended, as most sniping spots leave you wide open to enemy fire. In a genre dominated by camping and overuse of over-powered perks, Battlefront is a refreshing combination of balance, skill, and strategy rarely seen in today’s FPS market.
THAT OL’ BALL AND CHAIN
Downloadable Content (DLC) has been a widely criticized topic in relation to most gaming platforms of this decade. The complaint is that developers release incomplete games and then charge people for the extra content. This is especially true for day-one DLC packs, which makes sense. Why are you making us pay extra for something that should have been released as part of the game? While Battlefront doesn’t have that exact problem, it does face an even more difficult challenge; expensive Season Passes.
The Season Pass for Battlefront will cost you about $50 bucks, and gets you all of the DLC coming out for the next year. Assuming they come out with over $50 dollars worth of DLC in the next year, it seems like a great deal. But aside from the Battle of Jakku DLC (which comes out Tuesday December 1st for those who preordered and December 8th for everyone else), nothing has been announced. This is alarming, seeing as how the price of the Season Pass would warrant tons of new content. The same goes for most modern popular shooters, where $50 bucks gets you a ton of exclusive maps, weapons, perks, and the like. However all we know about so far is one single movie-themed map. And speaking of the movie, any announcements on EA Dice’s part could be getting held back because of the launch of The Force Awakens, and realistically it’s a bit early to tell whether or not there are going to be massive additions to the admittedly sparse multiplayer map selection. But with a price tag like that, honestly, there better be.
IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE
Overall, the game is not bad. It’s not amazing, but it’s pretty and it’s fun. For an older gamer, it takes you back to the days of stomping on your friends with the original Battlefront. For the Star Wars fan, it gives you the feeling of being right in the middle of the most iconic ground and aerial battles in the series. However for the FPS fan, it’s not a game for casuals. There’s no camping or modding, very few sniping opportunities, and constantly bombarded common shooting lanes make running and gunning almost impossible. You need to slow down and think and strategize when playing this game, otherwise you’ll never survive. That doesn’t necessarily mean it sucks, but not everyone is good at every game. Stick to what you’re good at, and don’t blame the developer for your lack of skill. Either that, or practice. A lot.
As for the price point, it’s a little expensive for a multiplayer only game, sure, but most people forgot about the fact that it’s multiplayer only much like the Xbox One’s release title Titanfall. And like Titanfall, the game will most likely receive huge improvements to core gameplay that will make it even more fun down the road. For example, if you haven’t noticed, the current maps only focus on battle from the Original Trilogy (Star Wars Episodes IV, V, and VI), and there are no maps from the prequels and only one from the new movie. Seeing as how this is the beginning of Star Wars Mania, it stands to reason that there will be many more maps with many more vehicles, weapons, modes, and factions to play with. So my advice is to just wait it out, and see what happens. It might not be your cup of tea right now, but give it a few months and I’m sure you’ll regret letting your cousin borrow it. – Elijah Arnold