‘Star Wars: Battlefront’ a mixed bag of cool additions, stripped features


A first glimpse of The Battle of Jakku, a scene from the “Star Wars: Battlefront” video game coming out in late-November  2015. (Courtesy/Electronic Arts)

It will have been ten years and two weeks since the last “Star Wars: Battlefront” game, but this November, developer Electronic Arts (EA) will attempt to recreate the magic of the series that first hooked me on shooters.

It has been a tumultuous few months for EA since announcing the release date last April at an annual “Star Wars” celebration festival. Rumors and leaks have piled up and EA has struggled to keep the fan base content.  

In past columns I have talked about the difficulty in rebooting a franchise but when you take a series as old as “Star Wars: Battlefront” and combine it with the huge property that is “Star Wars,” it becomes exponentially more difficult. 

The latest announcement to anger fans was the news that there would be no dedicated servers for the PC gamers among the “Star Wars” fan base. This means that custom modes and servers hosted by your friends will be out the window. 

Some Australian gamers have pointed out that they are likely to be subjected to higher ping, which means more lag, given that they may be forced to connect to servers in the United States or Europe. A petition to change this feature has garnered over 1,500 signatures on change.org. 

Some earlier issues that fans had, such as the lack of space battles, has been somewhat  resolved. There may not be any clashes in space but the developers have taken the aerial battles closer to the ground. Tie fighters and x-wings will be duking it out, not in space, but directly over the map. 

To me, this is a fair compromise between devoting resources to recreating the epic battles of Hoth and devoting those resources to rendering entire space ships in the high definition graphics the next generation demands.

For those really craving the dogfights of space battles in games past, there will be modes for that, including a new mode called “fighter squadron,” which promises to be all about the dogfights. 

Of course, EA has kept the big guns in reserve, so we only have rumors about the playable “hero” characters so far. Boba Fett, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker have all been confirmed, but if we are all being honest, there was never any question of those characters being in the game. 

Rumors are, however, that a whole array of new characters could be included from both the original trilogy and the prequels. Obi Wan Kenobi, Han Solo and Qui Gon Jinn are all rumored to be in the game, which seems to indicate that there will be a mixture of prequel and original trilogy characters. 

Series newcomer Starkiller is also rumored to make an appearance. Starkiller, who has not been in a “Star Wars” game since “The Force Unleashed II,” would make for a surprising addition. 

For now, the success of “Star Wars: Battlefront” is still very much up in the air. The success or failure of the game may depend on how well Dice and EA implement the new features. More specifically, the game’s success may depend on whether the new features added to the game will make up for the features that have been stripped from this reboot.

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


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