Which platform should you buy Star Wars Battlefront for?
Coming just a few weeks ahead of the highly-anticipated release of The Force Awakens, EA is stoking the fire of Star Wars fandom with a new entry in the Battlefront saga. This reboot of the classic series is due to drop drop November 17th, 2015 with a dizzying array of versions available across the various gaming platforms.
Previous-gen gamers are unfortunately left in the lurch for this multiplayer-focused title (time to upgrade, wouldn't you say?). Battlefront will only be available for Xbox One, PS4, and the PC master race.
Across those platforms, Battlefront is available in the basic no-frills standard version, the deluxe edition with bonus weapons and emotes to utilize in combat, and the ultimate edition that includes all the deluxe extras, plus the season pass for all four upcoming DLC expansions. Dedicated console players willing to put down $130 also have one extra option: the deluxe version with a Han Solo carbonite fridge for storing your gaming fuel!
It's been a long time since the days of the SNES and Sega Genesis, where the same game was a drastically different experience between two consoles. But there are still fundamental differences to be found between each platform, whether in terms of graphical capabilities or the exclusives available at launch.
In this instance, there are more similarities than differences, as Battlefront is slated to drop on the same day for all platforms (with one slight exception for certain Xbox One owners, explained below). And the same 4 DLC packs are coming no matter where you play the game. The first free DLC, “Battle Of Jakku”, arrives December 8, but anyone who pre-orders on any of the three platforms gets in on the action a week early on December 1st.
On the graphical front, developer DICE specifically stated its intention to make all versions of the game run at 60 fps in any mode but split screen, where it will drop to 30 fps. Frankly the game looks fantastic on all systems – this is probably the best Star Wars game ever in terms of aesthetics– but there are some differences that could influence which platform you go with when laying down your hard-earned cash.
If you have the $5 a month EA Access subscription, you'll get to play Battlefront starting on November 12th rather than waiting for the official November 17th release date – for a short time. For Star Wars fanatics, that's a huge boon, but keep in mind that previous early access games released through this service were only available for six hours before locking you out, and that's likely to continue with Battlefront.
On a less exciting note, in the recent beta test made open to the public, the Xbox One edition was only running at a resolution of 720p – much lower than what's available on the PS4 or PC versions. This lower resolution slightly reduces the graphical polish, especially on objects farther way.
Despite the developer's intentions to keep a consistent 60 fps frame rate, beta users also experienced frame rate drops down to 50 in scenarios featuring a significant number of characters and movement on the screen. This issue may be resolved by launch, however, as beta testing specifically exists to identify these issues and resolve them through optimization before the launch date. But at this point it should be assumed the Xbox One will lag in terms of graphics.
While Sony fans can't get early access through EA's subscription service, the recent beta test ran at 900p rather than 720, offering a smoother graphical experience. While it's not a huge difference for most parts of the game, there is an advantage to be had here, especially at longer ranges where its harder to identify what's an enemy and what isn't in lower resolutions.
Sony also has a leg up over Microsoft with the different versions of the game, as a PS4 console bundle is available. If you haven't bought a current gen console yet and are leaning towards the PS4 (or just want a PlayStation that's specifically Star Wars themed), this is definitely the way to go. The console bundle is up for grabs with either the standard or deluxe (but not ultimate) edition of Battlefront, depending on how much money you are willing to lay down.
It goes without saying that the PC version will potentially have the highest resolution available, even better than the PS4's 900p - assuming your graphics card and monitor are up to par. While that's a boon for tech enthusiasts, there are some downsides to consider for computer gamers.
First off, there are fewer options of where to buy and how to play Battlefront than with many other PC titles, since you have to go through EA's Origin platform and can't spend your money through a service like Steam or GOG.
A big draw for PC games over their console counterparts are user-made mods, but those are unlikely to be readily available for Battlefront. Besides having to go through Origin, developer DICE specifically doesn't support mods, due to the complexity of the Frostbite 3 engine used to create the game. Add in the fact that there's no single-player campaign (although you can play the various modes with AI bots in offline mode rather than against real players) and that EA will probably clamp down on anything that could unbalance multiplayer, mods are very unlikely to get any traction.
On another potentially negative note, EA confirmed through a Twitter interaction with fans that there will be no native VOIP option for the PC game, meaning you'll either have to use a third party program to chat with friends, or just type out what you'd like to say. This isn't an issue in the console versions, which will let you plug in your headsets and scream profanities at other players to your heart's content. But it could be a bigger problem for PC gamers.
Clearly there are many different options to take into account when deciding which version of Battlefront to pick up next month. If you demand the best graphics available and prefer the console route to use with your high-end HDTV, then the PS4 is the way to go. This is especially true if you haven't gotten into the 8th generation of gaming yet and are thinking of going with Sony over Microsoft.
While there's no built-in voice chat, the PC edition otherwise will offer the best graphics, assuming you've got a rig beefy enough to handle the high specs. While the Xbox One will have slightly early access available, that console is clearly the odd man out this time around.
Which platform will you be purchasing Star Wars: Battlefront on? Let me know in the comments!