Welcome to another edition of Drinking and Gaming, where I play video games while drunk on local Minnesota craft beers and proceed to review them . . . also whilst drunk.
For this installment, I wanted to do something special for the release of Star Wars Episode VII, so I decided to play Star Wars: Battlefront while trying out Bent Brewstillery’s barrel-aged Dark Fatha, an American “Emperial” stout aged in whiskey barrels with an ABV of 9.3 percent and an IBU (International Bittering Units) number of 57. To put it bluntly, this beer is like an oxidized fermentation of Darth Vader’s sweaty nutsack from the dark side of his jockstrap. It’s terrible, but it got the job done.
Oh, and of course, the obligatory warning that I’m going to swear a ton and talk shit about things you might enjoy. So yeah, that . . .
Anyway, FUCK YEAH! Star Wars! It’s been 11 years since the first Star Wars: Battlefront from Pandemic Studios was released and 10 since the sequel hit shelves on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Battlefront is a (primarily) multiplayer-only first- and third-person shooter based on (obviously) Star Wars. Published by Electronic Arts, with the latest iteration developed by EA DICE, the new game was released on November 17, 2015. Naturally, it launched without a hitch . . . hahaha, not really. The launch was actually a total fucking disaster. I pre-ordered Battlefront online on the PlayStation Network, but there was a myriad of problems that prevented me from playing the game for nearly 12 hours before EA and Sony opted to release a fix. So apparently DICE had decided to do what DICE does best and launch a broken fucking game. Well played, DICE . . . well played.
Thankfully, it didn’t take too long for them to fix their shit, and I was finally able to jump in and start wiping out the Rebel/Empire scum, depending on what team I’m assigned to. (I have no loyalty; I’m a bloody merc.) However, with the track record that DICE has with releasing broken games, obviously Star Wars is shit too, right?
Hardly. This game is a goddamned love letter to the franchise through and through. From the details to the sound effects to the blasters to the Ewoks obnoxiously throwing shit at you on Endor (while you’re playing as a Stormtrooper) to the amount of detail in the vehicles, everything about this game IS Star Wars . . . almost. The music attempts to emulate the magic of John Williams, but that is one of the few aspects of the game that takes away from the experience. It’s just not John Williams, and the jarring difference in the music composition only highlights how vastly different the music is from everything else that appears so closely to the source material. Still Battlefront LOVES its source material, and it is really meant for the Star Wars hardcore fans through and through.
There are several different game modes, ranging from the classic, large-scale 40-player battle mode (Supremacy)—where the Rebels and the Empire attempt to secure five key points on the map—to small-scale battles. Of course, the game also comes with traditional eight-on-eight team death match (Blast), which is incredibly fast paced and caters more toward the casual gamer. Other modes include variations of the capture the flag and securing of targets, plus Walker Assault, which is a “fight in epic 40-player battles as a Rebel to destroy the Empire’s onslaught of AT-AT’s [sic] by calling in Y-wing bombers. Or, side with the Empire and protect your Walkers while utilizing their mighty weaponry to crush the Rebel objective.”
Of course, what would a Star Wars game be without being able to jump into some bad-ass vehicles and shoot your way to victory . . . or just fail miserably and crash into the ground? Either way, Battlefront has you covered with Fighter Squadron mode, where you can attempt to take on the Millennium Falcon in a tiny little TIE fighter, or even take on Slave I in your little X-Wing. Me? I usually just run into shit and fail. I am the Jek Porkins of the Battlefront universe . . . give or take a hundred pounds.
Another mode that is actually pretty great is the Heroes vs. Villains mode, where you get to play as either a hero such as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, or Princess Leia or a villain such as Darth Vader, Boba Fett, or the Emperor. You can also obtain a Legendary Tokens during some of the larger games (Supremacy and Walker Assault), which allow you to become either a Hero or a Villain and wander around slaughtering random minions of either faction . . . except for me, cause I’m a bad-ass. I took out Boba Fett as a puny little Rebel like he wasn’t shit.
However, there has been a lot of criticism from some fans about the fact that this game is multiplayer only and lacks a campaign. I get the complaints—honestly, I do—because, after all, it’s a vast departure from the previous Battlefront games, which were known for their detailed storytelling and integral campaigns . . . except they weren’t. Battlefield has never had a campaign. Ever. The most it’s ever had that was remotely close to a campaign was Player vs. AI bots and challenge modes, all of which this game has. The 2015 Battlefront isn’t a departure from a previous formula of the franchise; instead, it is the exact embodiment of everything that it had built itself on. To say otherwise is honestly a bullshit argument.
But that’s not to say that there isn’t some validity to the multiplayer-only criticisms, especially considering the game is selling at a full retail MSRP of $59.99 for the bare-bones package. For one extra map (Jakku), the Deluxe Edition will run you a retail MSRP at $69.99. However, the biggest insult is that the game also asks you to pay for a $49.99 Season Pass for all additional future content, otherwise known as the Ultimate Edition, which brings the total for a multiplayer-only game to a grand total of $110. Honestly, this seems more like an Ultimate Fuck You Edition to the consumer’s wallet than anything else.
The only reason I can think of that EA is attempting to charge such an outlandish amount for their content is because of the sheer cost of the machines like the AT-ATs and the AT-STs that I keep accidentally fucking up with terribly timed grenade tosses. I suppose I am exactly why the Empire isn’t allowed to have nice things. I suppose it also answers why the Stormtroopers can’t hit anything except themselves . . . usually with grenades.
In conclusion, Star Wars: Battlefront is a beautifully crafted love letter to the game’s source material. From the flawless weapon and vehicle designs to the technical sound achievement that has everything but the game’s original score, Battlefront is absolutely worth checking out . . . just not necessarily for the asking price of $110. I imagine a year down the road, the full game and content will be released for a much more realistic and reasonable price.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10