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Star Wars Battlefront hands-on: Not the Battlefront sequel you're looking for, but still pretty good

Hayden Dingman | June 18, 2015
I'm ruined. I don't think it's necessarily my fault, in this case, but one thing is becoming undeniably clear to me: As far as Star Wars Battlefront is concerned, I'm ruined. I'm checked out. I'm "not the target audience," or however you want to put it. I am the Fallout 2 fanatic who felt burned by Fallout 3, or the Doom veteran who wished Doom 3 were a bit less obsessed with monster closets. I am, in other words, the "scorned fan."

star wars battlefront primary

I'm ruined. I don't think it's necessarily my fault, in this case, but one thing is becoming undeniably clear to me: As far as Star Wars Battlefront is concerned, I'm ruined. I'm checked out. I'm "not the target audience," or however you want to put it. I am the Fallout 2 fanatic who felt burned by Fallout 3, or the Doom veteran who wished Doom 3 were a bit less obsessed with monster closets. I am, in other words, the "scorned fan."

And it's not because EA and DICE aren't trying, and it's not because EA and DICE have made a bad game. I am sure plenty of people will play Battlefront later this year and enjoy it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm going to play it and wrangle some fun out of it.

It's not the Battlefront III I waited and waited (and waited) for though. It's just not. I don't think it's worth making excuses, or trying to pretend otherwise. Rather, I think it's time to accept that this Battlefront is going to be a wholly different beast from the Battlefront I know and love, and then grow to love it (or at least tolerate it)--like when your favorite band puts out an album and you listen to it a dozen, two-dozen times just hoping there's some connection.

Because I didn't feel that connection during my E3 demo. EA plunked us right down in the middle of Hoth, i.e. the Star Wars equivalent of a Normandy Beach level, and I just felt...nothing. Actually, that's not true--I spent a large portion of my demo marveling at the graphics, which are utterly fantastic even on console hardware. The AT-STs are particularly fun to watch, as are the retro spark-filled explosion effects. It's just utterly gorgeous and extremely unique-looking, in the same vein as Alien: Isolation.

But that Battlefront feeling, that feeling of playing with the most amazing set of Star Wars action figures? I didn't feel that at all, which surprised me.

There are a number of reasons, many of which I already had concerns about going into the demo. Some are personal taste--I think TIE Fighters look really silly flying in the atmosphere, but they have to because we don't have space battles, and how could you have a Battlefront game without any TIE Fighters?

Others are just not great design from a Battlefield-esque standpoint--like the scripted nature of the Y-Wing bombing runs, rather than ceding control to real pilots. Part of what made the original Battlefront so great was the scope--jumping into an AT-AT and walking it around, for instance. This new Battlefront is bigger in almost every way, and yet somehow feels smaller.

 

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