Star Wars: Battlefront was one of the most hotly anticipated games of this year. It’s also one of the year’s most disappointing titles, receiving a lukewarm critical reception across the board due to its sparse offerings and ridiculous progression system. However, there’s a solid platform there that could serve as the foundation for a great game if Dice and EA play their cards right with updates (and players are willing to drop more money on expansions or a season pass).
From the inevitable to pipe dreams, here are 10 things we’d like to see come to Star Wars: Battlefront.
Star Wars: Battlefront is a game that’s constantly compensating for its lack of things to do in stupid ways. The stupidest? Adopting Battlefield 4’s progression system and forcing the player to unlock nearly every single weapon, piece of equipment, and even customization options for their character model. You have to play several games before you even get access to grenades! The system is a nonsense attempt to make players feel like they’re unlocking great heaps of rewards by playing, but it’s more frustrating than anything else, especially for newcomers who keep getting sniped from across the battlefield or blown to bits with grenades and have no means to fight back. There need to be some tweaks that give players access to basic equipment, like class loadouts, instead of just throwing them headfirst into fights they have no chance of winning.
One of Battlefront’s merits is its authenticity to the original trilogy, nailing the look and sounds of those films (outside of the voice acting, but we’ll get to that later). However, one of my annoyances in this department of the game has grown into an outright grievance: the lack of weapon damage on enemies and vehicles. In the films, Stormtroopers who had been blasted by lasers would often have a burn mark on their armor where they’d been hit. I assumed that this would be in the game because it would be an easy way to help make the weapons feel powerful and also add to the game’s already impressive attention to detail, but nope! There are no damage markings anywhere. Implementing them would go a long way toward making the weapons not feel like peashooters.
Look, I know, the prequels are controversial but they had their moments! I mean, that fight with Darth Maul is pretty sweet, right? And the Battle of Geonosis is so good it almost makes Attack of the Clones worth watching. Okay, maybe not that good but it’s still great. I’d love to see the stuff from the prequels that worked make their way into Battlefront sometime: The Naboo royal starfighters, those rolly droids that could spring a shield around them, double-bladed lightsabers, Qui-Gon, the works. Even just a few planets to wage war on, like Naboo or Coruscant, would be nice.
There are a lot of neat looking weapons to unlock in Battlefront. Too bad none of them feel particularly powerful or different from any other weapon. Worse, if you ordered the deluxe edition you get immediate access to Han Solo’s pistol, which is better than pretty much every other gun in the game, so that’s what the majority of people are playing with, it seems. An arsenal shakeup is definitely needed, either by adding weapons that are actually fun to use or retooling the ones that exist.
Yeah, yeah, playing as Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett and kicking the living daylights out of entire squadrons of troops with ease is great, but where the hell is Lando Calrissian? And Obi-Wan? And Yoda? Not letting players leap around Hoth as a little green dude with a lightsaber seems like a missed opportunity, continuity be damned.
Piloting starships and getting in dogfights should be one of the most enjoyable parts of Battlefront. It’s not. It’s actually pretty frustrating thanks to poor controls and a lack of throttle control that’s been in previous Star Wars flight games (X-Wing and Tie Fighter). So more speed options and better turning for these ships would be a huge improvement.
Battlefront’s impressive fidelity to the series is lessened by the voice acting. The VA here is mostly decent and is rarely horrid, except in the baffling case of Darth Vader, but it just doesn’t match up to the care taken with the rest of the game. If you can’t get the original cast together, at least get some actors who can pull off great impersonations. A couple of years ago fixing this issue might have seemed like a stretch but hey, we live in an era where Peter Dinklage’s voice was completely expunged from Destiny and replaced with Nolan North’s (for better or worse). So maybe the same thing happening here for some of the weaker impersonations isn’t so ridiculous.
Battlefront isn’t really a singleplayer game but that didn’t stop EA Dice from sticking in a horde mode to try and lure in folks who don’t like multiplayer games that much (me, hi, what’s up). Too bad it’s terrible. Every map has you dashing around, opening pods and earning power ups while fending off waves of enemy troops. It’s dull and goes on for far too long. Even the minigame you play while the game is installing where you’re Vader strolling around Hoth, crushing rebels’ throats and slicing them to bits with your lightsaber is more fun than this. It’s a real bummer because tacked-on modes don’t have to be bad, as Mass Effect 3’s surprisingly sturdy multiplayer component proved. It’s not likely we’ll get an update with a revised singleplayer mode but maybe if Battlefront gets a sequel, we’ll get a decent campaign packaged in instead of this waste of time.
There’s a mode dedicated to letting you fly around in X-Wings and TIE fighters called Fighter Squadron, but sadly you spend your time dogfighting in the skies and not in space. Not having any battles that take place among the stars in a dang Star Wars game is definitely a hole that needs to be filled, which EA Dice will probably be happy to do with a paid expansion pack. Boo. Oh well, maybe we’ll get a nice Death Star map out of it at least.
The expanded universe is dead, slain by none other than Mickey Mouse himself, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to see some old friends by the name of Kyle Katarn (Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II) and Mara Jade show up as heroes or being able to sit at the controls of the Ebon Hawk one last time. It won’t happen but I can dream, right?
Javy Gwaltney devotes his time to writing about these videogame things when he isn’t teaching or cobbling together a novel. You can follow the trail of pizza crumbs to his Twitter or his website.