I was a huge fan of the original Star Wars Battlefront games, so when it was reported EA Games were reviving the seres I was ecstatic and pre-ordered my copy as soon as Amazon listed it.
Of course, I didn’t expect the new 2015 game to be exactly the same as the classic, but I wasn’t prepared how poor it would be.
The at launch focus on online gaming, the absence of any single player campaign mode and very little splitscreen action until last year’s arrival of Skirmish made this game a real let down for me and many other players.
Also, I hated how you now had to collect a token to ride a vehicle – in the classic game you could just find one on a map and get in, but in the 2015 iteration on map vehicles are just background art and you have hope to stumble on a power up token to actually ride one.
Reluctantly I paid up for the DLC season pass to get access to the rest of the maps and new modes, but it became rapidly clear that the DLC was making a bad situation worse – the player base was fragmenting, some games were short of players and limited numbers of playable heroes and vehicles was encouraging players who’d learnt the maps to just camp out for their chosen power-up.
At times it seems like more people are sitting hoping to grab a hero power-up than trying to complete the mission – making the game a waste of time.
The arrival of Skirmish improved things a lot – the AI players have more interest in completing the mission than most online humans do, and a player has their pick of power-ups, meaning they don’t have to resign themselves to someone else playing as their favourite hero. Every. Single. Time.
However, the inability of the AI to play as a hero – dashing hopes of a Luke/Vadar clash on Hoth – and refusal to offer more than 2 modes means the game still feels a bit of let down.
Plus, as developer time moved away to the forthcoming Battlefront II, a number of bugs remain unfixed.
EA has taken a lot of flak over the disappointment many fans felt with their first effort and they’ve made a lot of conciliatory noises and, they say, made major changes for the sequel – the DLC content is going to be available to all, Skirmish is promised for console players from day one and there’s a real single player campaign.
The trailer looks gorgeous and it seems to promise a far better experience:
BUT there are still too few specifics currently confirmed to get me to pre-order this game.
Ten years on, I can still enjoy the original Battlefront – 2 years on it’s hard to get any real satisfaction from EA’s version. It’s hard to believe many will still be playing it after November and I envisage the online games to be virtually empty – sometimes it already feels like they are.
So I’m going to need a lot more details – maybe even some hands-on reviews by journalists I know and trust – before I’m ready to commit to a game which is following up such a disappointing first entry.
I know I’m not alone when I say EA blew their first chance to make a good impression on me and to their detriment, I’m approaching their second release in the series with a lot of scepticism.