State of the game: Star Wars Battlefront
Now that the holiday season is over and the advertising campaigns for all of the high profile games have died down, we can finally get around to playing the games that have been sitting in our libraries. Most importantly, it also means that we can examine those games on their own merit and what kind of state they are in now, free from the influence of the marketing powers that be.
Star Wars Battlefront a month ago...7-8/10
A $60 multiplayer-only game has many challenges that it must overcome if it has any hope of surviving more than several months after release; that is a fact that has been proven over and over again, especially by titles like Titanfall or Destiny.
Fortunately, Star Wars Battlefront has a huge nostalgia factor working in its favor that DICE took full advantage of, creating a game that undeniably looks and sounds great. Sure, the gameplay was somewhere in the average to above average range, and the number of maps available wasn't boast worthy, but overall it was seen as a solid product. While it wasn't considered a must-have for most people, it offered a nice change of pace from Call of Duty and Halo.
Star Wars Battlefront now...6-7/10
You could play one match, you can play hundreds of matches, Star Wars Battlefront's graphics are still capable of eliciting that "I feel like I'm in the movies" feeling. However, the relatively small number of maps available has become more noticeable.
This is not the balancing update that you are looking for
Unfortunately, a far more aggravating issue has arisen in the game lately: weapon balance. Personal Shields (invulnerability to almost everything for a bit under 10 seconds), Jetpacks, and Bowcasters (essentially long range shotguns that fire explosive shells), along with the DL-44 blaster (which can kill someone in two shots) are incredibly common sights in multiplayer matches. Needless to say, such weapons greatly outclass anything that is available to lower level characters.
Even the gametypes feel somewhat unbalanced
If that weren't enough, certain modes are weighed heavily in the Rebel team's favor, notably Walker Assault and Fighter Squadron. In the case of Walker Assault, the fact that almost every single person can carry an anti-vehicle weapon makes it incredibly difficult to utilize the Empire's AT-ST walkers, while making it significantly harder to defend the AT-ATs.
On top of that, the Imperials lack effective air coverage at most stages of the match, due to how poorly the TIE fighters perform compared to their Rebel counterparts -- especially in the final stage, when T-47 Airspeeders can instantly destroy the Walkers with relative impunity.
In the case of Fighter Squadron, the fragility of the TIE Fighters is magnified tenfold. For example, all starfighters in the game can take four or five shots before exploding. However, because all the Rebel starfighters have very strong shields, a TIE pilot would have to keep shooting at their target for another couple of seconds; a period of time that can leave the TIE pilot extremely vulnerable. Throw in the small profile of the A-Wings, and it should not be a surprise that most games end in an Imperial defeat.
While such a disadvantage is certainly lore friendly, it does not make for a balanced multiplayer experience.
Can Star Wars Battlefront withstand the test of time?
It is possible that most of the balancing problems can be fixed with a simple patch, which in turn can lead to a more varied array of loadouts and games that the Empire can win. However, the fact still remains that Star Wars Battlefront is a multiplayer only-game with relatively few maps per playlist, which will likely lead to a multiplayer population that dwindles faster than normal. True, there are an impressive number of unique gametypes, but this can both help and hurt the population by dividing the audience between just under a dozen gametypes.
Now that the hype is over, how do you feel about Star Wars: Battlefront? Is it doomed to dwindle and fade away? Or can it be salvaged and brought back to life? Let me know in the comments!