By Jarrod Jones. This is LOAD FILE, where we venture forth towards a galaxy far, far *zzzzz*. This week, Jarrod takes on the fifty minute trifle that is ‘Star Wars: Battlefront’, developed by DICE and Electronic Arts for Playstation 4, Xbox One, & PC.
Y’know. The last time I watched Star Wars, I still considered that one critical moment — where Luke Skywalker turned off his targeting computer in the Battle of Yavin? — as an act of sheer bravery. Now? After countless (actually, only seven) hours of getting my ass blown out of the sky by ludicrously slick players in Battlefront‘s just okay Multiplayer Mode, I have one thing to say to the nouveau Jedi Knight: check your privilege, dude. Not everybody had Sir Alec Guinness for a friend.
Because no matter how slick the controls may be in DICE and EA’s latest Star Wars game, I’m still overwhelmed by the utter insanity of Battlefront‘s online arena. And considering that it’s really the only reason to play this ultimately underwhelming effort, I’ve come to embrace one critical truth: survive, or die. (Or, just turn off your damn PS4 and go outside.) Problem is, Battlefront doesn’t offer much incentive to improve.
A LONG TIME AGO, IN A GALAXY… Y’KNOW WHAT? FORGET IT
Even though we’ve long known that Battlefront wouldn’t feature a story campaign, it’s still easy to miss it, especially when you consider that all the non-Multiplayer action takes approximately 50 minutes to clear. (I plowed through all the available boards within a single hour, including the training missions. Feh.) I’m not going to get on a soapbox about how the internet ruined console gaming, but if most of the meat in a game at launch is found exclusively through DLC, that’s a tremendous kick in the pants, not to mention a tremendous blow to the wallet.
I purchased the Deluxe Edition at $76.46, and since I’m not Nelson Rockefeller, I ain’t bothering with the $50 Season Pass that’d shower my experience with content that should have otherwise been available in the core game. (What’s more, the incentivised “Battle of Jakku” DLC isn’t even available until December, which stings all the more now that I know I have nowhere else to go with this game.) So now that we’ve established that Battlefront offers fuck-all in the form of original content (save for endless hours of Force-infused button-mashing), how does the rest of the game fare?
YOU’LL NEVER FIND A MORE WRETCHED HIVE OF SCUM AND VILLAINY
If you’ve ever interfaced with Battlefront (my fond memories of the PS2 edition still resonate in spite of all this), you’ll find that the controls have become as smooth as they’ve ever been. If there wasn’t an armada of people trying to shoot you dead 100% of the time, navigating the small worlds found in this game might be a casual delight for hardened Lucasfilm devotees. But considering you’re standing in the midst of what could be called a galactic OK Corral, enjoying the limited maps is next to impossible when 1) you’re too busy dodging a damn AT-ST on foot like a chump in Survival Mode, 2) you’re getting blasted out of the sky by some joker in Fighter Squadron Mode, and 3) you’re generally flailing your lightsaber around like some sugar-addled kid with bad parents in Hero Battle Mode. Within the confines of all this brain-numbing havoc, there does admittedly lie one hell of a gorgeous game.
Even though all the Lucasian splendor you can handle has been lovingly recreated here, it still feels unnervingly empty. Not just because there’s no inherent objective to achieve (aside from amassing enough points to unlock your very own Slave I, at which point you can be a bastard to all the strangers you want in Multiplayer), but because all this mayhem feels unnecessarily pointless. You’re not going to solve any of the Rebellion’s problems by yanking an AT-AT into the snow, and you’re certainly not here to put an end to any war. Because Battlefront goes so far out of its way to look like a Star Wars game, its developers completely spaced on making it feel like one.
WHY YOU SLIMY, DOUBLE-CROSSING, NO-GOOD SWINDLER
Star Wars: Battlefront, as I’ve come to know it, is something you have to endure to truly understand. If this was a game made more for fans of George Lucas’ deified space opera instead of hardened gamers, you’d think that there’d be more to offer aficionados than mere fan service. You are offered the experience of stepping into the rebel-stomping boots of Darth Vader, and there’s most certainly a catharsis that comes with the first thirty seconds of being able to Force-choke your worries away. But then you tap Up on your directional pad to throw shade at all the dopes who dare cross your path, and it all goes to shit. Maybe it’s fitting that Battlefront‘s shortcomings can be best summed up by listening to the disappointing delivery of Vader’s legendary baritones: “You are not a Jedi yet,” he seems to be saying. Yeah? Well considering what I’m up against, maybe I don’t wanna be.