I’m on Endor. As I push through the foliage, red and green blaster fire erupts around me, and some Rebel scum zooms past on a stolen speeder bike, taking pot-shots at my squad mates. An AT-ST struts alongside me, trampling trees and unleashing a stream of fire that reduces the speeder bike to a cloud of sparks, smoke, and hot metal. Overhead, Ewoks scurry through the canopy, and although I take aim and try to shoot them, they quickly bolt into a nearby treehouse. I lob a Thermal detonator at a passing Twi’lek and it sends her flying through the undergrowth. The noise, the look, the feel – this is the most wonderfully accurate, brilliantly recreated Star Wars experience ever. I’m on the goddam-forest-motherf***ing-moon of Endor.
That’s Battlefront’s finest feature. As a Star Wars game this is unparalleled: a slavish recreation of the original trilogy (there’s no sign of any prequel stuff here, at all), polished to an authentically late ’70s – early ’80s sheen. Every vehicle, character, blaster, and planet is just-so, smartly created to not only withstand thorough scrutiny from any dedicated Star Wars enthusiast, but also to work coherently within a well-balanced, AAA shooter. And this is an entertaining FPS, although not one that will satisfy the demands of hardcore players. The slavish recreation of George Lucas’ grand sci-fi opera comes at a price – it needs to be as accessible as possible, a game for everybody to enjoy. As such, some will find the Battlefront experience a little limited.
Shooting here is incredibly stripped-back and undemanding. You point, you shoot. Doesn’t matter if you’re running and hip-shooting – your blaster accuracy remains the same as someone who is stationary and aiming down their sights at you. There are no revives, no special abilities (outside hero characters), no double-jump even. This is a game designed to make players move, to experience everything on offer, and not to settle or specialise for a specific class or role. It’s incredibly refreshing, but anyone who has spent 1000 hours grinding a character in Destiny, or who loves to tinker endlessly with their loadout in COD, will find it overly simple and painfully… fair. Battlefront is specifically designed to welcome players of all capabilities with open arms, and it gives them the tools to score just as many points as the hardcore.