Star Wars: Battlefield.. er, Battlefront
I don't play as many shooters as I used to.
Nowadays, I play a lot more story-based gaming. A lot more solo campaigns. It's something I enjoy - the building of a narrative, the participation in the narrative. It's not that shooters don't have narratives, it's just that they're mostly aimed for online competitive play these days.
That being said, when I recently purchased my PS4, I bought the Battlefront bundle, so I got Star Wars: Battlefront along with the console. Which I'm actually really happy about. I love Star Wars. Like, way too much. I'd been paying some attention to this game in the months leading up to it's release, and I was pretty sold on it early.
I loved the original Battlefront. I played a s#itload of it on my PSP back in the day. So seeing a new one being made, with the option of first or third person shooting, got me stoked. Seeing the graphic updates and the scope of the matchups brought out that good ol' nostalgia. Really most of my initial draw to this reboot is fueled by nostalgia. As things go when you're running on nostalgia, the feeling fades fairly quickly when you have the opportunity to re-experience the old nostalgic fun. When I sat down to play some good ol Battlefront (taking a break from the eternal time-suck that is Fallout 4) I was immediately prompted to make an EA account to even play the game.
But I made the account, immediately forgetting all the details for it because fuck you, Electronic Arts. I was then prompted to play through the 'Missions' option of the game before jumping online into real-life action.
But I ain't no chump.
So I decided I didn't need no damn 'Missions' and I jumped right into the online competitive play scene. And died. Promptly. Because the way that Battlefront is set up, as far as I can see, is that players of varying different levels are all shoved into the same match as one another. This means that plenty of players are outfitted way better than you are, armed with just your teeny blaster and one grenade.
So I died a lot. Probably more than regular people would, because I'm particularly shit at these large-scale gun battles. I get turned around a lot and I have a hard time finding where the fight is happening in a lot of games. I really couldn't find a picture that captures what I want to say here adequately. You see how that AT-ST is currently experiencing some explosive action? Well that doesn't begin to cover how it pans out in actual live games. In the games I've played so far, there are approximately a million explosions per square foot of map space.
Grenades - everywhere. Orbital Strikes - often. THERMAL IMPLODERS. ROCKET LAUNCHERS. EXPLOSIVE LASER ROUNDS FROM AT-ATs and AT-STs. It's hard to get yourself oriented to the game as a newbie because you're constantly screaming at your TV, because there are A MILLION EXPLOSIONS HAPPENING ALL THE TIME.
Thankfully, there isn't friendly fire in the game modes I've played so far. You can accidentally kill yourself, but your teammates explosives shouldn't be a problem for you. So once you get adjusted to the constant explosions, you'll start figuring out the clear similarities between Battlefront and Battlefield. It's in more than just the same.
It's in the way the maps are set up, and the feel of the weapons. The grander scale of some of the 20 vs 20 maps scream Battlefield, especially when you look skyward and see TIE Fighters and X-Wings tearing across the sky.
(I don't honestly know, but I'd like to think those same starfighters screaming across the ceiling in the ground force games are other players playing a fighter squadron match on the same map as you in live time.)
There are about 9 different game types, ranging from your regular Team Deathmatch to Hero Hunt, where 7 players hunt down the 8th, a Hero character. Killing the hero grants the player the next turn as one of the icons of the film franchise.
I feel like I always wind up getting Leia.
So the gameplay on the ground isn't really all that special or unique except for the Star Wars varnish. It's still a competent shooter with a lot of action and sprawling maps to get turned around on.
Where I lose my mind is in the Fighter Squadron matches. Piloting a TIE Fighter feels all kinds of correct in Battlefront. I try to play most games in the first-person perspective, for some kind of realer connection to the whole shebang, but I am too green. I haven't quite found my wings yet and so I lose track of the player I'm chasing in the madness of aerial combat.
Still, in either first person or third, fighting these battles in these starships is such a rewarding feeling. I'm pretty bad at them, but I enjoy it the whole time. I love feeling like a kid shooting lasers at other kids. Plus, with the fast pace of it all, I don't get too bummed when I inevitably bite it.
Which I do.
A lot. Ultimately I think Battlefront functions as a competent Battlefield clone.
It's really not changing up the game for online FPS titles and it's really not even making the existing model look perfect. It's just a fun shooting romp dressed up in the most popular franchise in history. That being said, it feels so good to have a good Star Wars game again.
It's been a long time since KOTOR.