Have You Played… Star Wars Battlefront?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

The new one‘s out right about now, but I feel little pull towards it. Two years ago, I couldn’t stop staring at Battlefront screenshots, almost disbelieving about how Star Warsy it looked. What changed?

Two things, I reckon.

One was that even I, embittered old bastard that I am, could not resist the siren call of New Old Star Wars, Star Wars that more-or-less resembled the Star Wars of my youth, as opposed to the gaudy, weightless Star Wars of the previous decade. I bought Lego AT-ATs, I looked at Episode VII spoiler sub-Reddits through my fingers and I read frighteningly, pointlessly long Wikipedia pages about half-remembered characters. And I watched those Battlefront videos and thought, “Gosh, yes, this is the multiplayer shooter for me because it looks a bit like a late-70s/early-80s science fiction movie.”

The second thing was that, for all the authentic plastic helmets and pew-pew noises, Battlefront turned out to be just another twitchy online shooter with a Lucasian skin. It was shallow, and it was also a bit miserable unless you really went all-in on becoming great at it – something not entirely compatible with the lifestyle of the jaded dads the adverts tempted into Battlefront by ads suggested a world of do-anything exhilaration. Repeatedly losing a six-player race to the one icon that granted you thirty seconds in an X-Wing was not quite the same as the suggestion you’d be engaged in breathtaking space dog-fights.

But now I know what Battlefront is and know that those lovely 1977 graphics don’t really mean anything, and more pertinently, Star Wars is everywhere now, again, and if anything the dark promises of more Star Wars everywhere forever only serves to kill the nostalgia-fuelled enthusiasm of 2015.

However! Give me AT-AT simulator and I will eat every one of these words.


  1. Meat Circus says:

    The obvious answer is “EA”.

    Unlike other publishers who have a certain sense to tread lightly when trying to monetise players in a controversial way, EA’s boundless greed and incompetence means they’re incapable of showing any kind of restraint where $$$ is involved.

    And that unbearable stench of fetid shit that lingers whenever EA is near leaves a sour taste in the back of the throat.

    • Blackcompany says:

      This about sums it up.

      Every time I hear something about Battlefront of Battlegrounds or whatever reskinned clone they’re releasing this year…I cannot help but wonder:

      Who in the world is still giving this company their money? Are there REALLY that many super gullible gamers out there?

      I cannot fathom why anyone anywhere would purchase anything with the EA brand attached to it. As interesting as I found the intro of Anthem at E3 this year…I know they’ll find some way to screw it up between now and the 2018 release date.

      • Turkey says:

        Well, you’ve got to remember that us people who read reviews and follow gaming news are a tiny minority compared to the vast general gaming audience.

    • Megatron says:

      It simply cannot be stated enough: Fuck EA. I’m done with them for this lifetime.

    • Kamalen says:

      Please. If you want to hate greed, then be honest and hate all the AAA publishers. EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Bethesda (inventors of the fire starter, the Horse armor) and the others. They ain’t charities, after all…

      I dare to say, we should thank EA on this one. They handled the lootbox so badly on such a popular licence that they have lampshaded the system even to the regulators, and probably have cooled off the copycats for a couple years.

    • Maltose says:

      I mean, they still make fun games. Battlefield 1 was good. Battlefront 2 is still fun if you can get past the god-awful progression system (increase credit gains and that’s fixed, imo). Titanfall 2 was good. ME: Andromeda was mediocre, but not terrible. Battlefront 2 launching a week before Thanksgiving probably hurt EA by keeping them from making anything besides the most basic band-aid fix of disabling microtransactions. And honestly, EA’s implementation of lootboxes isn’t even that awful. Sure the rewards suck, but that just means you won’t be hooked into spending $100s or $1000s of dollars as you might in one of the mobile gacha games (Granted those are f2p, not p2p).

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    I played the Beta, which told me all I needed to know about the full game. I’ve not bothered even trying the GambleFront 2 Beta, due to the overwhelming “mhe” that the BF1 Beta left me with.

  3. Rizlar says:

    and I read frighteningly, pointlessly long Wikipedia pages about half-remembered characters.

    Typo, shouldn’t that be “Wookieepedia”?

    • emotionengine says:

      Was about to say. Speaking of needlessly long and detailed entries, behold the complete chronicle of the life and times of Davin Felth, the stormtrooper who failed to find C3PO and R2-D2 on Tatooine: link to starwars.wikia.com

      • h78 says:

        Behold- FractalSponge!

        link to fractalsponge.net

        A guy that started doing frighteningly detailed spaceship classes from a fictional world, who seems to be moving on to frighteningly detailed individual spaceships from said fictional world. What’s more, individual spaceships from the SAME CLASS that 99% of people would perceive as exactly the same.

        Yup, that’s right- individual star destroyers. I don’t know whether to be impressed or scared.

        (there is a weird fun in reading wookiepedia. Its so ludicrously detailed it seems like its own genre. It does help modders though)

  4. Megatron says:

    I played PC games through the Lucasfilm golden age; they were amazing, wondrous things that I couldn’t get enough of.

    Then Phantom Menace came along and ripped my heart in twain, Spaced style (“It still hurts!”). It no longer hurts but that’s because my heart had plenty of time to heal over. But the games were shit. Half-assed cash-ins.

    I got a little excited by Star Wars VII, starting to falling for the old girl again, but the film itself killed that quite neatly (It’s terrible, just about the last thing I would have asked for from the continuation of my beloved characters’ lives). I had no interest in SW: Battlefront because of the film (and I don’t really like multiplayer gaming)

    Rogue One was actually really enjoyable but if SW: VIII is bad I’m pretty much done with SW as a franchise in all forms except memories and perhaps a Lego game or two. With SW: BF2 EA have butchered and desecrated the gaming potential, smothering any hope I had for SW games returning to any kind of decent form other than their LEGO iterations.

  5. Crackerjacker says:

    I bought the whole BF1 package a almost a year after it came out, and I still felt like the £20 I paid for all of it seems a bit much.

  6. Spuzzell says:

    Star Wars is a bit lame.

    Sorry to get all playground-ey, but it’s the perfect word.

    It’s clunky, the plot is the same in every film, the characters were fine as paper thin cartoon characters in the 80s but haven’t moved on even slightly, and the technology is dull through constant repetition.

    Even ATATs, Alec.

    I’m fine with nostalgia, but not as the entire raison d’etre.

    Battlestar Galactica was fantastic as it took something classic and made it again for today, Star Trek: Discovery is the best Star Trek (though that’s not a huge claim to fame)for the same reason.

    Star Wars hasn’t changed an iota in 38 years, and any game that accurately reflects its unchanged beige populist audiences addiction to nostalgia will be.. unchanged, beige and populist.


    • Daymare says:

      Star Wars is fun.

      But it’s also lame. It’s easy simple fun. Like, I’m always up for a new SW movie, they’re usually enjoyable colorful stories about heroes and baddies and giant flying spaceships and robits and lasers.

      But then after I’ve seen that, I don’t really feel like exploring its wider universe, or watch that movie again repeatedly. I don’t feel like playing a game set in the same universe, or read a book set there.

      I’d agree that SW’s ingredients are kinda limited — even though it’s theoretically set in an infinite universe. And I think the problem is, if you take those limited, canonical ingredients away, it stops feeling like Star Wars altogether (and instead becomes a sorta generic sci-fi story), so anything Star Wars needs those constraints in order to … be commercially successful, I suppose.

      Anyway, a franchise staying the same for 38 years is no problem … people love things staying the same. That’s why millions and millions buy the newest Star Facewars: Battleduty 2.

    • Hans says:

      So all the great, critically acclaimed Star Wars games of the past? There’s no difference between those and this at all? It’s all just a nostalgic illusion and that’s the only reason why this game is suddenly bad?

      That’s…pretty stupid, bud.

    • wombat191 says:

      Star wars was wrote as a goofy sci fi film that they hoped to make a bit of money off of and then disappear

  7. Antongranis says:

    Yes, i did. On the Ps2. This awful way of naming new games the same as old ones need to stop!

  8. Carra says:

    I’ll settle for a new republic commando.

    • Rich says:

      That’s sort of what the single-player campaign for Battlefront 2 is. At least thematically. It lacks the squad control though.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        BF2 having a campaign is the one thing that might make me eventually play it, but the thought of needing Origin and the current price (not to mention my Steam/GOG backlog) makes me want to wait like 5 years or so.

        I’m not all that antagonistic against EA. If they are behind good games, I’ll buy them, but I sure don’t feel like supporting them or giving them a chance, when all they can offer is a short campaign with doubtful replay value in a game that is still centered around multiplayer.

  9. wombat191 says:

    To those saying they would want a new say Republic commando and Tie fighter.. Honestly would you trust EA to do it justice without being full of microtransactions and lootboxes?

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I very much doubt ‘they’ would want to let EA anywhere near a beloved setting (or, any, perhaps). But since I am one of ‘they’ I can at least speak for me in this case.

  10. unraveler says:

    No, I haven’t because it looks like a re-skin of already existing games!