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Star Wars: Battlefront Companion App – A Beyond the Films Review

With recent events leading to a backlog of recorded episodes and episodes to record very soonStar Wars Beyond the Films‘ Nathan P. Butler will be posting short, non-spoiler reviews for new releases. Spoiler-filled discussion will follow in the weeks thereafter on the podcast. (In the case of minor releases, that discussion may be kept for a Year in Review series of episodes.)


Battlefront Companion App Career Menu

A Companion and a Game

I recently reviewed the new Battlefront video game from EA and DICE. Due to its length, I chose to keep one releated item for a separate review: the Battlefront Companion App. As has been the case with a growing number of AAA video games on current consoles, EA has released an app to tie into Battlefront that not only assists in managing your career in the game but also has a built-in game of its own, Battlefront: Base Command.

The app’s home screen features the latest official Battlefront news from EA. A Friends Menu helps you keep track of which friends on your gaming network are online or offline and, if online, whether they are playing Battlefront. (You can even allow the app to send you notifications any time someone on your friends list signs on to play Battlefront.) The main thrust of the app, though, is found in the Career and Base Command sections.

The Career section allows you to track your current credits, items related to stats and progression (such as how many diorama pieces you have unlocked, what your kill/death ratio is at the moment, etc.), and allows you to view your Star Cards, Blasters, and Appearance options from the normal game’s “Collect” menu. You can change your equipped items and spend credits on available items, just like in the regular game. In this sense, it works as a decent (though somewhat redundant) management system.


Battleftont: Base Command pre-siege loading screen

The built-in game, Base Command, is where the app really shines. It is a digital combination of a card game and miniatures game. You take the role of the Rebel Alliance. At the center of a set of concentric rings is a Rebel base (with a big ol’ cannon) that is under siege by Imperials, represented by various miniatures that appear at the outer ring and work their way toward the center, turn by turn. Your goal is to wipe out all of the Imperials before they can bring your base’s “health” to zero.

To to this, you draw upon two decks of Star Cards, built by unlocking Star Cards both in the main game and in the app itself. Each turn, you draw three cards that act as support, doing things like dealing damage to all enemies in a particular quadrant of the “board” or rebuilding the health of your base. You also draw three cards to represent Rebel units to attack the Imperials like snowspeeders, X-wings, infantry troopers, and the like. Different cards (and different Imperial enemies) have various perks that alter how they play in relation to other units. This is a turn-based game, though, so while the constant march of the Imperials on your base gives it a sense of tension, you can also strategize and take your time akin to playing chess.


Base Command siege in progress: Imperial units converge on the Rebel base, while the player uses its cannon and three cards drawn from two customized sets of Star Cards to withstand the assault.

Base Command is relatively simple intiallly and grows in complexity. Eventually, you will face Battlefront‘s three villains (Boba Fett, Darth Vader, and Palpatine), Slave I, and two different power levels each of seven other Imperial units. You will use nine different Rebel units as you unlock them, including Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, the Millennium Falcon, and other more generic units. The game includes 25 regular missions, divided among 4 campaigns, then also features a Master level version of all four campaigns for a total of 50 sieges to play.

As a fan of both card games and miniature games, along with digital variants of those that track stats for you as you play, I was very pleasantly surprised by Base Command. In fact, I may one day find myself playing it more than Battlefront itself.

The Verdict

The Battlefront Companion App is a redundant management tool in relation to the Battlefront video game, but its built-in Base Command game is quite enjoyable. If only for Base Command, any fan with a compatible mobile device should pick this one up. It is free with no microtransactions involved, so why not give it a try?

Recommended for: Those who enjoy combinations of card and miniature games, looking for a fun “freebie” game.

Not recommended for: Those looking for something that substantially adds to the Battlefront experience on Playstation 4, Xbox One, or PC in the vein of something like the Destiny Companion app.

No review copy was provided for this publication. It was a standard consumer download.

Join Us – Star Wars Tonight Podcast Counts Down to the Force Awakens!

From the creatives behind comes a brand-new nightly podcast counting down the last 30 days until Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters.

Star Wars Tonight will be hosted by the Star Wars Report Founder and Editor in Chief Riley Blanton and will feature an incredible lineup of guest hosts. Each day of the week will feature a special guest host with a unique perspective on a fascinating aspect of Star Wars fandom and anything and everything in that galaxy Far, Far, Away.

Star Wars Tonight is now available on iTunes!



Monday brings the Justin Robert Young.


Justin Robert Young is a podcaster, comedian and writer. He is the host of the JuRY podcast, co-host of the Night Attack podcast, and a correspondent for the Daily Tech News Show.


Tuesday’s episode features Steve Glosson.


Steve is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe. He’s the host of the Geek Out Loud podcast and the Founder of the entire GOLiverse of podcasts.


Wednesday’s episode features Amy Ratcliffe.


Amy is a contributor to various outlets including Nerdist, IGN, and Star Wars Insider. She is a co-host of the Full of Sith podcast.


Thursday’s episode features Scott Ryfun.


Scott is the Most-Listened-To man in South Georgia Radio! He hosts Mornings from 7 to 10 on 1440 WGIG. He is the host of the incredibly popular “My Star Wars Story” podcast.

And on Fridays, we’re recording a bonus 5th episode for our supporters at all levels on Patreon!


Stay tuned for details and be sure to follow the show on Twitter, @StarWarsTonight.

Star Wars Rebels: Now This Is Podracing! Edition

Reminder: This is not a full review (If you want that, that’s totally fair, there are plenty of fansites that do), but rather a discussion on 2 or 3 bits of it with, of course, spoilers abounding.

First of all: not even sorry for that title.

Secondly: Woah, boy. This isn’t going to be an easy review. Not because it was bad, but because generally I just pick a few things to discuss. But I want to review all of it. Almost every second of it was perfect. But, here are my picks:

Rex and Kanan


As a brief* aside, if you’ve ever read a review and wondered where they, the reviewers, get their images from, it’s not from screencapping (as I used to think), but rather the episode gallery on I bring this up because there were many Rex/Kanan pics, and I struggled to pick just one.

*Yes, thank you, I do know the meaning of the word. I looked it up on the internet.

Anyhoo, previously I have mentioned how Kanan has slowly come round and accepted Rex as, not just a person in his own right, but as a soldier innocent of any wrongdoing, and somewhat a victim, too, of the same machine that wrecked his life (Also costing the life of his master, Depa Billaba, but that’s secondary to his pain, obviously). I must admit to jumping the gun, there, because this is the episode where that emotional conflict was finally resolved. Mea culpa*. That said, if it does continue beyond this episode, I shall be firmly and strongly calling it out, no matter how much in error I am.

*I googled this, too. It turns out that I’ve been writing it wrong, as ‘mea cuppa’, which, as a Brit, means something quite different.

All that aside, I loved the resolution. Sure, it did lean quite heavily on the buddy-cop formula – no bad thing, in itself, merely that it was somewhat tonally different than what was expected. But, it did contain a real heart to the conflict, and explored the key differences in their outlook, beyond just having a conveniently explanatory line. Okay, there was that, too, with Kanan as the mouthpiece, but it did provide ample example to back up the line, both before and after. And that ‘before’ is key: we’ve all heard of the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule? Personally, I dislike calling it a rule. It’s, for the most part, a good general guideline, for those who are learning how to write fiction, but it’s just that. If you’re good enough to pull it off, you can show and tell – showing first then telling, telling and then showing, tell and not show, show and never tell and whatever other combination I’ve forgotten. If you’re good enough: Joss Whedon, who does have faults and blindspots as a storyteller, is generally thought as very good, and plays merry hob with this rule throughout Buffy and Firefly (and perhaps his other series, of which I’ve not seen so can’t say). In this episode, the writers show, tell and then show some more.

But enough of that literary snobbery. Much like real-life working relationships, and avoiding the buddy cop cliche, the two manage to arrive at a working, functional relationship, yet don’t really compromise either of their positions, and did so from their mutual disdain of the Empire, a genuine concern for their comrades, and a desire to see them home safe.

As a viewer, it helped that this was achieved with a large helping of humor, both in joking to, and at the expense of, each other, as well with some self-referential and occasionally lamp-shading humor (Kanan trying to talk code to an Imp officer and Rex wondering about the Imperial shuttle, and the poor shooting because of the helmets, were great examples of this). I took particular delight in when Ezra shot his would-be rescuers. Not just because it was a fairly humorous moment (thanks to Chopper showing his recording on repeat) but also because it highlighted, in a light-hearted yet in-depth way, how they responded to the friendly fire incident.

In the immortal words of Call of duty: Friendly fire - isn't.

In the immortal words of Call of duty: Friendly fire – isn’t.

(Although, to quickly examine one joke: I thought it was weird how the Imp officer in the elevator noted that the armor was a little snug. I realize that a non-real, dictatorship’s military might be different to our real-world military, but it seemed strange: I know many, many soldiers and military personnel who are on the very bulky side of things, there’s no one-size-for-all in our earthbound military. Beyond that, from what I gather from soldiers who’ve served in the field, they often put on a lot of weight, for a number of reasons. So that, from a realism perspective, did jar me a bit.)

I realize that I’ve perhaps spent far too much time documenting Rex, here and in the past, but the Rex/Kanan dynamic is quickly becoming one of my favorites on the show. They gel together in a way that, say, Ezra and Sabine simply don’t, and in the same way that Sabine and Zeb do.

Brom Titus

AKA This guy

How utterly refreshing to have a baddie be competent! This isn’t anything against Agent Kallus and the Grand Inquisitor (one of which, however, is currently suffering from a mild case of death), but when your heroes face off against the same baddies week after week, and not only that, but triumph, their abilities, and how they came to such positions of power, can be reasonably called into question. Of course, that’s a danger that many TV shows face. How can you resolve your episode’s conflict without a nice, neat victory? The obvious answer is to have your rebels suffer an ignominious and harsh defeat, but that raises its own problems. These heroes have to be special, in some way; special enough to win. And to have them lose constantly doesn’t make for very engaging TV. You could always not have a conflict (or at least, not just in one episode) but that can be just as problematic and disengaging to the viewer. So you have your heroes win, time and again, your villains lose – and with every loss, they look just a little bit less menacing. Even this admiral Titus loses. But competency isn’t about winning or losing.

I’m somewhat skeptical, but all ears.

Well, not necessarily, anyway.

Certainly it helps to be competent to win (well, not so much in TV Land), but showing that the villains are at least capable of getting one over the heroes does lessen the blow of the defeat to the viewer. From the very beginning, Titus proved himself: by capturing a rebel ship, to lure in a larger prey in the form of Commander Sato – which, he freely acknowledges, was down to luck. It doesn’t hurt to be honest and accept that your windfall was pure chance.

Later, he quickly infers through logical reasoning the identity of Ezra (and to a slightly less impressive extent, the identity of Rex), and when ‘Jabba’ escapes, he wastes no time in ordering his soldiers to use lethal measures. This, as he states, was to save his own reputation (and likely, skin) in the eyes of Agent Kallus, but he does at least realize his error (more on that in a moment) and tries to correct it, rather than doubling down.

But why does this entirely capable admiral make such a terrible mistake? Surely he had read reports or heard rumors about the troubles this particular rebel cell, and this Jedi, has caused? It seems likely, but I have to wonder how much the Empire is letting slip.

(Before I continue, I wish to make it clear that a lot of it probably had to do with the fact that Ezra is a child. I merely wish to explore another factor that could be at play here)

From the old EU: From its very beginning, the Empire had been disdainful of the Jedi and their abilities. This is understandable, from an in universe perspective and a thematic one. Thematically, it makes sense to have the thing that the Empire held in low regard – even after everything the Emperor knew about them – to have the Jedi be his, and the Empire’s, downfall.

In universe, the Emperor had long sought to destroy the power of the Jedi, first the physical, by wiping them out, and then the psychological: we know that the Empire did suppress quite strongly knowledge of the Jedi, to such a degree that people who were born in the last years of the existence of the Jedi Order – people like Han Solo – knew very little. More, by making them demons in the eyes of the public, and making them seem unimpressive, over-hyped kooks.

Of course, that’s the old EU, but just from what we’ve seen on this very show, it seems reasonable to believe that this is the case in the new canon, as well. As such, I think it’s entirely plausible that the admiral saw a mere child with an oversized glow stick, pretending at Jedi-ing, and thought that he wasn’t much of a threat. Thus leading to the downfall of an otherwise capable and impressive admiral.

This seems entirely likely, given that …

Jun Sato Had No Trust In Ezra’s Abilities

I have made a grave error. I left the oven on.

(Again, it may be in large part because Ezra’s a child. But, again, I’m exploring other factors, and following it to its conclusion)

On the other side of the conflict, we have our heroes (By the way, I’m not forgetting Hera and Sabine; I use the word in a gender neutral sense. But that’s a whole other conversation), who have looked to the Jedi as their saviors and as a source of hope. Admittedly I’m again leaning on the old EU for this bit. But again, it does makes sense that this would still be accurate, from what we’ve seen in Rebels. But what’s remarkable is that Sato goes against this and lacks that hope, that trust in Ezra. True, Ezra is just a kid, which may explain Sato’s lack of trust in his abilities, but all Sato knows about Ezra is that he’s a Jedi in training, and trained by a Jedi of the old Order*, and that he’s a member of one of his most highly skilled rebel cells. And yet, still there’s a lack of trust.

*Personally, I’m not sure this would hold much weight with Sato. Whatever trust he has in Kanan, it’s probably because Kanan has proved himself as a capable rebel, and nothing more.

Why is this? If we take all of the above as true (and certainly we shouldn’t, but for now go with it), could it be that the Emperor’s misinformation is so effective that the rebels still hold on to this unconscious bias?

I’m not in a position to do so, but I would love to go back and rewatch the first two series, to see how rebels outside of the main group react to Kanan’s and Ezra’s Force abilities. But certainly in this episode, when Sato is freed by Kanan and Rex, he seemed to accept, without hesitition, that these two could mount an effective rescue. This could simply be because, as I say, Kanan has proven himself a capable rebel, outside of his Jedi-ness. Yet previously, Sato expressed skepticism towards Ezra’s usefulness, and later displayed surprise and downright shock at his skill. And furthermore – again I may just be overreaching on this whole thing, but – when Ezra tells Sato that Rex and Kanan will make their own escape, Sato accepts him at his word. If Ezra hadn’t proven himself to Sato, it seems entirely likely that Sato would wait for the pair, and thus seal the fate of every rebel on board.

See, it just goes to show that if you’d just take a teenager at their word, the world would be a much better place.


Michael Dare

Star Wars: Battlefront – A (Long) Beyond the Films Review

With recent events leading to a backlog of recorded episodes and episodes to record very soonStar Wars Beyond the Films‘ Nathan P. Butler will be posting short, non-spoiler reviews for new releases. Spoiler-filled discussion will follow in the weeks thereafter on the podcast. (In the case of minor releases, that discussion may be kept for a Year in Review series of episodes.)


Battlefront by DICE and EA (Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, 2015)

Preface: Two Reviews in One

The newest installment in the Battlefront franchise (the seventh or sixth, depending on how one counts two versions of Elite Squadron) has been both highly anticipated and highly controversial among Star Wars fans and gamers alike. A pattern has seemed to develop wherein Star Wars fans who judge the game on its Star Wars authenticity first (and thus put its merits as a video game second) tend to praise the game highly, whereas those who judge Battlefront as a game first and turn to its Star Wars authenticity as a secondary concern tend to be more harsh in reviewing the game. In a sense, though, these two approaches are answering two very different questions. As such, this review will address both, independent of each other until the end.

A Little History

Before we dig into Battlefront, a brief bit of historical perspective is in order.

2004: Battlefront (Xbox, Playstation 2, PC, Mac)

2005: Battlefront II (Xbox, Playstation 2, Playstation Portable, PC)

2007: Battlefront: Renegade Squadron (Playstation Portable)

2008: Battlefront: Elite Squadron (two very different games on Nintendo DS and Playstation Portable)

2009: Battlefront: Mobile Squadrons (mobile devices)

2015: Battlefront (Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC)

This makes the new Battlefront the first on consoles in a decade and the first Battlefront of any kind in six years. It is also the first by EA and DICE (makers of the Battlefield series and the Frostbite 3 engine that BattlefrontBattlefield 4and quite a few other current generation games run on).

Battlefront as Star Wars

Judging Battlefront on its merits as an authentic Star Wars experience is where the game fares best. Thanks to the Frostbite 3 engine and amazing recreations of archival materials by DICE, Battlefront is not just the most realistic looking Star Wars game ever but also one of the best looking games in general on consoles.

Characters look and move as we would expect real humans to move in the Star Wars universe. The technology features a huge amount of detail. With environments that are painstakingly detailed in recreating the forest moon of Endor, Hoth, and Tatooine from the films (along with non-film planet Sullust), the game is simply gorgeous and visually authentic in spades.

The game even includes so-called “Battle Beyond” scenarios, battles occurring in the background or in the sky that shift as one side or another turns the tide in a given match. That kind of detail is quite impressive.

In terms of sound design, the game fares nearly as well. It could be argued that it is very difficult to “screw up” Star Wars sound design due to the unique body of sound effects created for the saga and available to a game developer, but the use of the sounds of blasters, starfighters, etc. in the game is fantastic. The only real “dings” to this impressive audio sheen are in two areas: new music and hero voicework.

There are times when the music strays a bit too far from John Williams’ score, though it will only be jarring for those heavily immersed in the music, rather than the gameplay. The hero voicework is where jarring differences will abound, however. While Temuera Morrison’s work as Boba Fett and Sam Witwer’s vocal talents as Palpatine are strong, the voice work for the game’s other four heroes and villains (Matt Sloan as Darth Vader, John Armstrong as Han Solo, Anthony Hansen as Luke Skywalker, and Misty Lee as Leia Organa) are often cringe-worthy in how poorly they approximate the voices of their film counterparts. Vader in particular sounds like he has been neutered (in the comedic sense, since his voice is far too high for the Darth Vader we know). These voices will throw many fans out of the audio atmosphere every time they speak.

Barring those sound concerns, which tend only to be an issue when the characters actually show up in a match, the game’s authenticity as a Star Wars experience is truly outstanding.

No Campaign: A Star Wars Concern and a Gaming Issue

One thing that takes away from the overall experience of Battlefront, both from a gaming perspective and as a thrilling Star Wars experience is the complete lack of a campaign in the game. Put simply, this is a game without a story.

Now, immediately some will shout, “Battlefront games don’t have stories! You can’t criticize it for that!” Let’s set things straight on that count: Yes, Battlefront games can and have had stories. While the original Battlefront‘s campaign was not much of a story, Battlefront II contained a campaign that told the story of the 501st in various missions that added to the Legends Continuity. Moreover, the portable games, Renegade Squadron and Elite Squadron, each contained a substantial story. In fact, the two versions of Elite Squadron (on DS and PSP) each contained one perspective on a story that, when taken together, was much more substantial. (The footage so far revelaed for the canceled Battlefront III also reveals plans for a campaign, as its campaign appears to have been the story eventually used for Elite Squadron.) In truth, the only Battlefront games to lack a story since the original’s lackluster campaign mode are the cellphone game Battlefront: Mobile Squadrons and this new 2015 release.

Yes, Battlefront can have a story. In fact, Battlefront can have rather good stories (as far as video games go), but this particular Battlefront game does not. That, in and of itself, is enough to turn a lot of people off to the game.

Play Battlefront for an authentic Star Wars combat experience, but if you are looking for any real inklings of new story content, look elsewhere.

Battlefront as a Video Game

As a video game, Battlefront is a far lesser product than when attempting to measure it solely on its Star Wars authenticity.

Battlefront is, at its core, a first person shooter (FPS) that can act as a third person shooter (TPS) and, every once in a while, branches off into vehicular combat. It runs on the Frostbite 3 engine, which brings with it all of the strengths (destructible environmental elements, realistic movement) and pitfalls (useless jumping, difficulties spotting who is shooting you repeatedly from somewhere in front of you, etc.) of that engine. (I actually purchased and took some time to play Battlefield 4, just to get a sense of which pitfalls of Battlefront were of its own making or tied to its game engine.)

The gaming market is currently flooded with FPS (and TPS) games, many of which are horrid cash-ins on the genre. Others, though, have set extremely high bars for quality in the genre. Notable examples in the current console generation include Destiny and Halo 5. It is a genre defined, rightly or wrongly, by Call of Duty and its seemingly infinite number of installments. In order to fare well when reviewed as a video game, Battlefront has a rather high bar to reach in 2015.

Contrary to some complaints that claim that the game includes only four maps, it is more accurate to say that the game includes four settings (Hoth, Sullust, Tatooine, and the forest moon of Endor). Within those settings, the game’s various modes span several different maps (on different scales) at each of those settings. For Tatooine, for instance, includes 6 (or 7) maps: Tatooine Canyon, Tatooine GR-75 Transport, Jundland Wastes, Jawa Refuge, Rebel Depot, and Dune Sea Exchange, along with a battle over the Jundland Wastes for Fighter Squadron mode.

In general, the maps tend to be natural terrain with a few artificial structures available, depending on which setting the map is based upon. Some maps include a great deal of vertical possibilities (such as going up into an Ewok village), while others are rather flat (such as the external Hoth maps). With jumps relatively useless in Frostbite 3 games, getting used to this mostly flat set of maps can be frustrating. The flat nature of some maps, such as those on Hoth, are also “sniper-fests,” since there appears to be little to no real drop-off of damage from weapons at very long range. Expect to be killed from far away constantly, often by enemies that you cannot see from your position.

The game features just over ten different blasters with different ratings for damage, rate of fire, range, and cooling power (how fast they cool down during use). Rather than needing to be reloaded, the weapons heat up with use. Judicious use can keep them from ever overheating, but consistent use will cause them to reach a maximum and become useless for a moment. When that happens, a small mini-game mechanic occurs, allowing an instant readiness if timed correctly, but the mini-game mechanic is designed to get tougher each time it is successfully completed, so managing your weapon heat is important.

That said, the game’s blasters never feel quite right. They lack a feeling of having any real “kick” to them, and except for a couple with high damage output, they all pretty much feel the same. Throw in the fact that they cannot be customized or upgraded beyond their base versions, and you have a very shallow set of weapons. (You also only carry one at a time without the ability to swap to a secondary weapon on the fly in the way that virutally all FPS and TPS games allow these days.)

New to this Battlefront game is the use of Star Cards. Before a match, players set up a hand (or two upon reaching Rank 10) of three Star Cards. Two of these Star Cards represent weapons or abilities that can be used, then used again after a short “cooldown” period. These Star Cards include elements like grenades, slugthrowers, and an ever-useful Jump Pack that is unlocked at Rank 13. The third card, a Charged Star Card, requires picking up charges during the game (kind of like ammo) to use more substantial abilities such as a personal shield or the ability to make your blaster more effective against vehicles. Upon reaching Rank 15, Traits also become available, such as decreasing how much damage explosives do to your character. For the most part, Star Card abilities feel useful and varied enough to feel like moderate character customization, and the ability to upgrade each a small amount helps players specialize.

There is no armor to speak of, nor any specialization of your character model beyond cosmetic customizations. For Rebels, players can shift through several different variants of several different human faces (and races) of both genders. (There are 6 males with 7 facial options each, along with 6 females with 5 facial options each – no facial hair for the ladies, hence two less options.) Higher level players can unlock 7 alien species (with set looks and genders, so zero customization), such as Ishi Tibs and Twi’leks. For the Empire, players can choose a male or female stormtrooper with helmet, or take off the helmet and do the same facial customization as for human characters (though without an open-faced helmet option that Rebels have). Higher rank players can unlock only two unusual Imperials: a scout trooper and a shadow trooper.

Players can also unlock and equip “emotes.” They have no real gameplay value and range from shouting phrases to mocking other teams to acting like the player is being electrocuted by an “ion shock.” (Doing the “Ion Shock” over an opponent’s dead body might soon replace the ridiculous “teabagging” of foes in this game.)

There are no character classes or archetypes, nor loadouts you can save, beyond the Star Card hand(s). From a character customization standpoint in the modern FPS genre, this is woefully shallow. Character “progression” is based solely on reaching new ranks to unlock new blasters, Star Cards, emotes, or appearances, which are then purchased with credits earned in-game. Beyond unlocking a few certain Star Cards, though, virtually all unlocks feel unnecessary and impact the game too little to waste the requisite credits.

Game modes fare better than customization and loadouts, though many are old standbys from the FPS genre with a Star Wars theme slapped over them, rather than innovative new game modes pioneered by Battlefront.

For those wanting a single-player or two-player co-op experience (online or local split-screen), there are Missions. These include five Training missions (to get players used to operating a starfighter, speederbike, AT-ST, and T-47 airspeeder, along with playing as a Hero/Villain character), Battles (regular or Hero Battles, which pit the players and optional AI companions against AI enemies until one side earns 100 points), and Survival (a 15-wave horde mode). The Training missions do a great job of getting players acclimated to game mechanics, especially the T-47 controls that are essential in Walker Assault multiplayer. Battles can be fun, but the real gem here are the Surivival missions, which can be quite intense and nerve-wracking on the higher difficulty settings.

First and foremost, Battlefront is an online multiplayer, Player vs. Player (PVP) game. In this capacity, it includes nine modes. Supremacy features large-scale battle over control points. Drop Zone is a capture and defend mode in which you attempt to gain control of falling escape pods (one at a time). Droid run is also a capture mode, though the three “points” are power droids that are constantly moving (albeit slowly). Cargo is the game’s version of capture the flag. Blast is traditional team deathmatch (TDM).

Other modes are a bit more unusual.

Fighter Squadrons is flying combat, though starfighter options are rather limited: A-wing, X-wing, or the Millennium Falcon (via power-up) for the Rebels, or TIE Fighter, TIE Interceptor, or Slave I (via power-up) for the Imperials. It is, in essence, team deathmatch in starfighters.

Hero Hunt puts one player in the role of one of the game’s heroes or villains (Vader, Palpatine, Boba, Han, Luke, or Leia), then tasks all other players to kill them. Whoever lands the killshot spawns as the next hero or villain, and the goal is to kill the most players in your time as the hero or villain.

Heroes vs. Villains features small team play with three on each side playing as their side’s heroes (or villains). The goal is to kill the other team’s three heroes before they can do the same to your side. Dying as a hero or villain respawns you as a regular trooper, and teams earn points by being the side to knock out all three iconic characters on the other side first.

Finally, there is the game’s “crown jewel,” Walker Assault. In this mode, The Empire must defend AT-ATs while they march on a specific location (such as power generators on Hoth). As long as at least one AT-AT is still standing at the end of the match, the Empire wins. Meanwhile, the Rebels control points (akin to in Drop Zone and Droid Run) to activate uplinks. Each successful activation sets up a Y-wing to do a bombing run at predetermined times. Those bombing runs hit the walkers with ion bombs, making them vunlerable to other weapons. (The AT-ATs are also always vulnerable to a tow cable attack from a snowspeeder, but good luck having someone on your side not only find one of those power-ups but also use if effectively.) The Rebels win if all AT-ATs are brought down. (This was the most criticized mode during the Beta due to lack of balance, but the inclusion of the airspeeder Training mission and some hints in-game about where to shoot an ionized walker has aided in rebalancing a bit.)

As far as game mechanics, forget what you know from previous Battlefront games. Matches never come down to running out of soldier spawns on your side. There are no space battles with capital ships involved, only atmospheric battles between starfighters. You cannot earn the use of a Hero or Villain, nor can you simply grab any vehicle you see and put it to use. You instead gain the use of a hero, villain, vehicle, or some special items (like the awesome thermal imploder or orbital strike) by grabbing power-up symbols on the battlefield. This is a game designed very much around casual players, not hardcore FPS or TPS gamers.

With all that in mind, is this Battlefront installment fun as a game? It can be. The battles are chaotic (often too much so given the propensity to be killed without ever seeing the far-off attacker) and fast-paced. The gunplay is strong, though not on par with something like Destiny. It is also undeniably amusing to grab a vehicle mid-match or turn into an iconic character to rain down death on the other team, whlie you know they are sitting at their own console spouting profanities and trying (in vain) to run away.

The Longevity Factor

Given its relatively shallow progression and customization options, I am quite worried over whether Battlefront actually has the staying power of many other AAA shooters on the market. Hopefully, as we get more downloadable content add-ons (in the form of the free Battle of Jakku pack that introduces one new planet, two new maps, and a new game mode, followed by four paid DLC packs without content yet announced), the game’s online community (which absoutely must be there for the game to live on) will continue to be robust.

It will be the Star Wars factor that brings people back, time after time, however. It will most certainly not be the game’s merits as a modern shooter. Those looking for a deep FPS or TPS should look elsewhere (and probably already are).

The Verdict

Battlefront is an undeniably gorgeous game that thrusts players into the Star Wars universe like no other. It is hampered by a lack of any real story and gameplay that quickly reveals that this is a game designed with casual gamers firmly in mind.

In terms of Star Wars atmosphere, it gets an A.

In terms of Star Wars storytelling, it earns an F.

As a first person shooter, it earns a C+ (bolstered a bit by Walker Assault and Heroes vs. Villains).

This is a game you can just pick up and play without any major time investment. It is an experience worth having, but for many fans, probably not yet worth the $60 for the base game, $70 for the Deluxe Edition (with two exclusive emotes and early access to three weapons that can otherwise be unlocked through game progression), or the $50 on top of either of those for the Season Pass (which includes all four paid DLC packs).

Recommended for: Those who want to experience a gorgeous, atmospheric Star Wars experience.

Not recommended for: Those looking for what is now considered a “deep” shooter game.

No review copy was provided for this publication. It was a standard retail purchase. (For what it’s worth, despite the downsides of the game, I personally preordered the Deluxe Edition for PS4, picked up the Collector’s Edition of the game’s guide, prepurchased the Season Pass, and even received the limited edition Sandtrooper headset as a birthday gift. The only things I passsed on was the Wal-Mart bundle with the Han Solo in Carbonite mini-fridge and buying another PS4 to get the Vader themed console and controller.)

I should also note that I am producing a series of livestreams of Battlefront on my YouTube channel.

Press Release for the Supply Pod’s Star Wars Mystery Box

The holiday season is fast approaching and this year, December is going to be dominated by one thing, and one thing only. On December 18th, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will hit theaters, bringing with it legions of fans who are desperate to see the franchise return to its former glory. To celebrate the movie event of the century, Outer Places is pleased to announce that the next Supply Pod from Outer Places will be dedicated to that Galaxy Far Far Away.


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