Happy Birthday, Star Wars Battlefront! Not to be confused with Star Wars: Battlefront the 2004 smash hit. While the two share (basically) the same name, the 2015 release was not a remaster but instead a reboot. While the game was praised for being graphically stunning, it has taken more than its fair share of heat from the internet. The biggest beef fans have with this game was the content… or lack thereof. The content it did offer was great, and its conception at a time when Star Wars was at the peak of its resurgence from the world wide phenomenon “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hype should have launched it into the game hall of fame. So what went wrong?
If you log in today, you won’t find nearly as many people playing as most other DICE games one year after their launch, and this isn’t a generic military shooter– this is STAR WARS! Personally I think the game’s first misstep was to name it Star Wars Battlefront. While I get the idea of using the most beloved Star Wars Video Game I.P.(Intellectual Property), calling it “Star Wars Battlefront” and not Battlefront 3 or adding a sub title like “Star Wars Battlefront: Galactic Conflict” meant they had to compete with that nostalgic masterpiece.
As I said, the new game is gorgeous and is without a doubt the best Star Wars sim to date (at least from a graphical standpoint). I wonder how the game would have faired if they had instead titled it Star Wars Battlefield? I mean, it is a DICE game, and it plays like a Battlefield game, which is probably a bigger IP. It wouldn’t have to compete against anything except Battlefield games, and while it isn’t as deep and doesn’t boast as many maps or modes as most Battlefield games, it has the benefit of being STAR WARS! The complaints of it just being a Star Wars re-skin of battlefield would have been moot.
Naming aside, let’s talk content. What is there is great, what isn’t there shows as the game doesn’t have much replay value. The maps are all more or less designed for one mode, and after your tenth play through you kind of get what it’s all about. At least, those were my feelings during the BETA.
The modes that came with the full release all seemed like nothing new except for Heroes vs. Villains. Though it wasn’t as much unabashed fun as its predecessor game mode from Battlefront 2, I do think it offers its own take on the mode that is truly something unique. Normally, Heroes are just a power weapon, a map pick-up that allows you to go crazy. The Heroes and Villains mode previously gave everyone that option non-stop, making a playground mode that resulted in many hours of delightful mayhem. This mode reversed that effect, making the goal of the match to kill all of the Heroes. This means, in theory, most of these Heroes will be playing back and working strategically with their teams, playing a game of chess with more than one king. Regrettably, unless you played with friends, that’s not really how most people played; the game probably would have been better off with a more insanity-driven game mode.
Another major complaint came from the lack of a campaign. Yet, if you look at the series, a traditional campaign is not really the hallmark of this series. What the more loyal fans wanted was the return of Galactic Conquest, a mode which gives weight to each individual match you play with a star map control sim layered over it. It would have been interesting to see how this would have worked in a PvP environment but wouldn’t have really appeased those fans until the recent addition of skirmish, which allows you to play most PvP modes against AI.
Honestly, it really has filled out over time and has more to come, but its recovery from the communities lingering “salt” is dubious.
This game proves two things. First, that graphics aren’t everything, and second, that if the Internet hate train gets behind something then there is no recovering. Even so, over the past few months there has been a lot of talk about a sequel– Star Wars Battlefront 2, not to be confused with Star Wars: Battlefront 2… (sigh).
My fingers aren’t crossed, but with the time they have they could actually make an amazing sequel that would perfectly blend the original games with the new game they have given us, which would result in one of the best Star Wars games ever made.
I think the first thing they need to do is not scrap anything. The first game already looks amazing, so don’t fix what isn’t broken. What they could do is simply optimize the game for the PlayStation Pro (and Xbox Project Scorpio) with the scaled up graphics, 4k, and a locked FPS (frames per second). Then, have the game act almost like a GOTY edition with all the content, including DLC. For this to be a sequel though, they need to add more planets as well as more space battles. They could also offer more maps on each planet, recycling the art assets they already have. They also need to double down on the new movies, with maps and characters from Force Awakens and Rouge One for the base game. It would serve them well to release a free Episode Eight map alongside the movie release like they did with the battle of Jakku.
My hope is that they keep the new Heroes vs. Villains mode but offer the old version as an alternative, and that they offer up more of the absurd fun game ideas like the Wampas on Hoth.
With the amount of pushback they had for lack of single player content, rumors already suggest that the new game will have a story mode. While it would be enjoyable to play out Rogue One through Episode Seven in a campaign mode, without Galactic Conquest and Skirmish mode at launch, and a plethora of maps, they are still going to turn off original fans of the series. These modes are what give the game its infinite replay ability, and if they start from scratch, focusing too intently on a story mode and leaving out its namesakes, then they risk offering the world a game that is every bit as deficient as the first, and we will (once again) not be getting a Battlefront 3.
(Help us Front Wire Studios you’re our only hope)