Column: “Battle of Jakku” DLC adds nice visuals but little else

A glimpse of Star Wars Battlefront: “Battle of Jakku” DLC. (Courtesy/EA Games)

Like many others, I was disappointed when “Star Wars: Battlefront” was originally released. I thought the design of the maps had issues, the single player modes were bare-bones and there wasn’t enough variety in the game modes. The new free downloadable content, “Battle of Jakku,” attempts to address some of those problems, but leaves others unaddressed.

The “Battle of Jakku” DLC features a series of technical fixes and one new map straight from “The Force Awakens.” The name of the map is “Graveyard of Giants,” and it features the same ruined husks of starships seen in the movie. Unfortunately, there still isn’t a good indication of how the ships got there and, I don’t know about you, but I expected to re-enact the battle that resulted in those destroyed starships rather than getting to fight in the wreckage. This might have made for an awesome single player or cooperative mission, but not only is that not present, but no new single player content is included in the release.

Like the main game, “Battle of Jakku” is extremely pretty and well-made from a technical standpoint. Debris from the unseen battle is littered across the map, and it really reinforces just how small you are when you’re standing under an arch made from the rubble of a single Star Destroyer engine. It’s a small detail, but one that I appreciated.

Unfortunately, certain gameplay issues arise in the new map that weren’t present in maps from the main game. In the “Walker Assault” mode, when the Rebel faction must defend a pair of Uplinks from the Imperial Forces, I found several extremely effective camping spots that enabled me to snipe anyone attempting to capture them without a serious fear of reprisal. A jet pack and a rifle are all you need to make the body count skyrocket, but it feels like I’m taking advantage of a developer oversight.

Fortunately, the map doesn’t have the same spawn issues that the main game suffered from at release. There are no gigantic obstacles separating teammates from each other like on Hoth, and the map feels very balanced compared to the ridiculous advantages the rebels had on Endor.

The DLC also introduces a new game mode, “Turning Point,” which sounds epic but mostly boils down to territory control, where the Empire must defend a series of control points from Rebel forces. There’s a lot of fun to be had with this mode, but I often found that the match turns into a grenade lobbing party, and the most effective strategy is to abandon your jet pack and stuff your pockets with as many high explosives as possible.

At this point, the best way to fix “Star Wars: Battlefront” is likely through DLC. I’m encouraged by the progress that “Battle of Jakku” has made in terms of balance and map design, and it’s clear that the developers are at least listening to some fan feedback.

“Battle of Jakku” will not make anyone who wasn’t a fan of the main game into a stormtrooper fanboy, but for those who liked the main game, “Jakku” adds a cool new map and game mode. Still, I suspect that most fans will remain wary of “Battlefront” until EA reveals more about its plan for future DLC. 

Edward Pankowski is life editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at edward.pankowski@uconn.edu.