The Five Main Flaws of Star Wars: Battlefront
Battlefront has finally released, and it”s far from perfect. It may capture the look and sounds of the space opera epic, but there’s still a lot left to be desired. Dice have mastered the art of presentation and audio design, but Battlefront also features some odd design decisions. The following points are the five biggest flaws of Battlefront. While they don’t result in a terrible game, they do create for an frustrating video game experience, and a bitterly disappointing consumer product.
The Token System:
In terms of design, this is easily the most confusing feature Battlefront plays host to. In order to gain access to vehicles, assets and heroes players must collect their respective token. This system makes little sense in the grand scheme of Battlefront’s gameplay.
More often than not, tokens tend to be spawned in the open, making them a risky prospect to pick up. While this may create a risk/reward mechanic, the fact they spawn away from objectives (particularly in Walker Assault) results in player abandoning their mission in order to pick up a token. Witnessing four players leave a uplink, charging towards a token, it’s hugely frustrating.
Vehicles fall under the same mechanic, just with less abusive spawns. Space ships tend to spawn in the offshoots of the map, allowing players to pick them up with less risk attached. The issue here mainly stems from a tactical view point. It’s tricky to consistently grab a vehicle token, often resulting in at least one player dominating the sky, as inexperienced players fly to their slaughter. The pattern ship token spawn almost welcomes the dominance of the skies.
Hero tokens are by far the most confusing concept. Playing as one of the iconic heroes/villains of the Star Wars universe should be privilege. Simply walking over a randomly spawned token makes the whole thing feel cheap and chatty, almost gimmicky. The ability to play as a hero should be a true asset to the time, but in this form it’s nothing but a random chance and a hope the player in control isn’t selfish. From personal experience, I’ve seen players camp spots awaiting Hero token spawns, putting their team at a disadvantage in doing so.
Surely players should have to earn the access to assets, vehicles and playable heroes. Rewarding players for playing the objective feels like a much more logical method, rather than using this bizarre Mario Kart like token system. Silly and obtrusive are the two words that describe Battlefront’s token system.
Where’s The Team Work?
For a game that encourages team work in it’s premier game mode, Battlefront does it’s best to stop you from communicating. No squad, no voice chat, no spotting feature, no nothing. Dice have pedigree in creating in-game communication options that allow team mates to work together without typing a word. Battlefront’s serve lack of any real communication option detracts greatly from the team experience. The only call outs you’ll ever here is to announce objectives or the arrival of hero/villain units.
Some may say the lack of classes means there’s no real need to communicate, to these players I say bullshit. With modes like Walker Assault, which Empire forces can call in AT-ST’s and Tie Fighters, I’d argue communication is vital. Spotting approaching AT-STs, alerting players to their presence, it’s sorely missed. Vehicles can wreck defences, requiring the defending force to take them out as soon as possible. Without the ability to spot enemies, players are left with either standing still and typing, or hoping people notice. The lack of communication options make even less sense given the world it’s set in.
The lack of communication and squads results in Battlefront feeling, and looking, like a bunch of headless chickens running towards their feed. No synergy, little direction, just a flood of feet.
The Force Feels Like Crap:
One of the most promoted features of Battlefront was the ability to play as an iconic hero/villain. Admittedly there’s a gasp of nerdy joy when taking control of one of the heroes/villains, then you start to play as them and things get underwhelming. The problems with these units only truly affect force users. Darth Vader, Luke and the Emperor feel like utter trash to play. Their movements feel stiff, their controls bizarrely floaty.
Luke has a wonderful attack that makes him swing his lightsaber around like he’s swatting a wasp, it’s more hilarious than impressive. All three force users can float in the air, allowing them to cover great distances. While the float is useful, it looks cartoonish in motion. Character models remain almost motionless while floating, resembling an action figure thrown into the air. Luke and Vader can affect the general landscape of a firefight, but their general life cycle pales in comparison to other heroes/villains.
The Emperor, Bobba Fett, Han Solo and Leia all provide much more effective skills. Leia and the Emperor can both spawn player controlled units equipped with missiles launchers, giving their team the advantage on the field. Smart players will conserve their lives and play safely, allowing for as many special units to spawn as they can. While the concept is smart, it does deduce both heroes to nothing but a glorified spawn point.
Han, Fett and Leia stand out from the force users thanks to their ranged attacks. All three are far more effective in battle, mostly due to the fact they don’t need to get up close to use most of their skills. Bobba Fett stands out from all of the choices, mainly due to how versatile he is. There’s little balance between the choices, with force users mostly being brief assets, while ranged units effect the match in much more effective ways.
Battlefront 2 suffered from the same issues in part, but managed to contain the issue by having map specific heroes/villains.
Lack of Modes:
A huge problem with Battlefront is the lack of game modes. Walker Assault is by far the most successful of the modes on offer, with all the spectacle and intensity you’d come to expect from both an Battlefront title and a Dice developed game. The rest of the modes feel rather forced. Bog standard deathmatch (Blast), two variations on King of the Hill (Dropzone & Droid Hunt), Capture the flag (Cargo) form the forgettable options.
There’s two modes built around Hero/Villain units in the shape of Heroes vs Villains and Hero Hunt, both of which suffer the same problems mentioned previously. There’s even argument to be be made that the Hero modes further highlights with the balance between the heroes.
Fighter Squadron is a nice distraction, but is exactly that, a distraction. Dog fights feel fun for a time, but the lack of depth or complexity to the controls and movements allow repetition to sink in rather fast. Supremacy attempts to replicate past glories of the Battlefront franchise, but given the huge differences between the original vision and Dice’s take, matches end before any real conflict can begin. One team will often steam roll the other, leaving a sense of bewilderment settling in.
The problem with the various modes is none of them feel developed. They have a core outline and objective, but none of them (bar Walker Assault) ever feel crafted or rewarding. Quick fixes that provide mild distractions, requiring even less thought or engagement than ever. Dice have seemingly went for quantity over quality. The way Battlefront has been built and crafted stops it from ever feeling ‘right’ in the smaller modes. There’s no rewarding sensitisation in winning a round of Cargo, there’s no sense of achievement after topping the leader board in Blast. The smaller modes feel vapid, unimpressive and utterly forgettable.
Lack of Maps:
Battlefront’ biggest flaw is the lack of maps. It’s a flaw that becomes unmissable four hours in. There are people who claim there are four ‘worlds’ but this is a bait and switch, also attempted by EA. These ‘worlds’ are a lazy excuse to try and cover up the lack of battlefields to wage war on. The four maps are at their peak on Walker Assault, they’re merely scaled down to fit the other modes.
This one flaw results in the simple, but fun, gameplay becoming utterly repetitive and shallow. With a lack of classes and customization, there’s not much room to express yourself. The gameplay it’s self is fast, flowing and easy to pick up. There’s no real depth, and that’s fine, but when that simplistic nature is trapped within the same four maps, problems arise.
Once you’ve played Hoth for the 20th time in the space of a few days, the spectacle and ‘Star Wars’ feel is no longer enough to create an enjoyable experience. The maps largely play out the same, even more so given the almost uniform weapon layouts player posse. Each map is decent, but when the map is repeated so often, decent is not enough.
A lack of maps stops Battlefront from growing into anything but a Star Wars novelty. It may have fun moments, but that’s only ever brief sessions. The repeating nature of map rotation detracts from all the good Battlefront has to offer. The problem is made even worse by the constant reminder of Battlefront’s season pass, which promises 16 maps. The main menu displays not one, but two, season pass buttons. It’s almost like EA is rubbing the players face in the fact there;s a glaring lack of maps.
Multiplayer games need two things to work, gameplay and quality maps. There’s a reason why people remember maps from various games, be it De_dust 2, Wake Island, Crash and Gold Rush. These maps are well designed, allowing each element of the game to flow, creating memorable and enjoyable experiences. None of the maps in Battlefront are good enough to carry the game, resulting that four map total to be a huge issues in the grand scheme of things.