Finally, there is a place for People to Live out their Star Wars Battles Fantasies in a Video Game. Sure this isn't the first Star Wars Game. It's not even the first good Star Wars Game. There have been quite a few in recent years like the 'Rogue' Series On GameCube and N64, 'Shadows of the Empire' on N64, and 'Knights of the Old Republicr' on the Xbox. But this is the first Star Wars game where basically your not set along a certain "Story" you have to do. Yes there is a on overall plot, and yes you have still missions you have to do, but they don't leave you on a set path. Rogue Squadron II and III, for example, have you being a Pilot IN Rogue Squadron and therefore most of your missions take place along a scripted story. Most games are like this. There isn't anything wrong with this. But Star Wars Battlefront basically puts you down in a Star Wars Universe sandbox and says "Here, do what you want". That's what makes this Star Wars game different then the others.
Battlefront is a 1st or 3rd person game where you're given tasks and objectives, but how you choose to go about those is completely up to you in the 3D world. You select the character you want to use (From Classes) and then you choose a spawn point that's availble to you. Once you've done that your ready and that's when it begins. You are placed in the 3D world with the objective of defeating the enemy and capturing their "Command Post". How you get to the Command post and how you choose to get there and what strategy is all up to you. Want to walk through the thick woods of Endor using the foliage as cover laying down in the Bushes and snipering off the enemies one by one until the area is clear and you can move in to take the Comman post? Go ahead! Walking through the woods and you suddenly come across a Speederbike and decide you want to take it and scream through the forest mowing down enemies as you do? Go right ahead and climb on and go for it! Fighting for the Rebel cause and suddenly come across a damaged AT-ST standing there? If you're a pilot, fix it up and commandeer it and use if for the forces of good! It's all possible. This truly makes the game a wonder for people who want to live out Star Wars battles anyway they want.
It's an obvious Choice for a Star Wars Fan, unless you really don't like 1st person (or 3rd person) shooters. Then again it's not just a traditional 1st person shooter, but it does play like one. If for some reason you absolutely cannot stand those types of games, you might not find much in Battlefront that you'll like other than the universe it plays in. If you don't care much for Star Wars but like 1st person shooters like Battlefield 1942 then you should probably check out this game. It's very similar to that game and a there is a lot of comparison going on. I'm sure you'll hear it a lot about the comparisons. However if you totally hate Star Wars then obviously your probably better of just sticking to Battlefield 1942.
Graphics. What can I say about the graphics? Wow! The graphics for the characters and ships are quite good and the levels are varied depending on the level.
The Level Graphics :
The Levels and enviroments are for the most part pretty good and acomplish what they set out to do. The Endo Forest level for example is great. Lush forest enviroment with plenty of bushes, leaves, trees (both standing and fallen) as well as the changing elevations of the level. It gives you a sense that your actually deep in the thick of a forest with changing elevations, surrounded by shrubry and foliage all around you. It's a good spot to hide and sniper as well. Graphics change from level to level with some levels (like the mentioned endo forest one) being better then others. Some might say Hoth is plain or basic for example or that the "Caves" are to simple and plain. I disagree. I think for the most part the levels do a good job of making the level feel unique to itself. Sure Hoth might seem very plain and drab and.. white.. but it's Hoth! The Ice Planet! What's it supossed to be? Covered in Rainbow colors?
The Vehicle Graphics:
The vehicles looks really good for the most part. These aren't exactly graphics like Star Wars Rogue Squadron series on Cube, but then this is a different type of game. This is a more open game where you can take multiple vehicles in a level and have more freedom of movement in the sense of being able to land and get out of your vehicle at any point. However just because the graphics aren't as detailed as the Rogue Games doens't mean they are bad. They are actually quite good. You can instantley reconize any of the Vehicles (if you know your Star Wars material) and include nice touches like actual Landing gears for the ships like the X-wings and Y-wings. They also have all the details one would expect in the newer generation of games like seeing R2D2 on the back, being able to see the pilots through the windows, and more. Although it's not the highest polygon count for vehicles they aren't low either. Everything looks as it should for the most part. Walkers are nicely detailed and are huge. AT-AT's are big and clunky, and they yake a long time to walk anywhere in them. The AT-ST's are quick and handle akward but move nicely in their animations.
The not so good:
Other then the above mentioned fact that they aren't the most highly detailed Star Wars Vehicle models in a game we've seen yet; The Rogue Series has to get credit for that. The fact that when using cockpit view you cannot look around the cockpit could be seen as a downfall or downgrade to those used to those other games. However this isn't really a graphics issue rather then a gameplay choice/issue. However since it does affect the "realism" of the game from a graphics point of view I've included it here. It's nothing major, but it would be nice to be able to look around your cockpit like in the Rogue games.
The Characters Graphics:
The character graphics do the job very well for the most part. They aren't the highest character models you might expect but they aren't low simple ones either. Characters have details like helmets with visors, backpacks and shoulder pads. Depending on what class they are this obviously varies. Rebel Pilots are in their usual orange flight suits, and Storm Troopers look like well.. Storm troopers. The outfits can change depending on the level as well. In the Hoth and other snow levels they are in white snow outfits for example. In other levels they are more in green or tan/green camo type outfits and wookies remain covered in fur! Small details like this help add to the characters. Although there could be more variation for the most part the Graphics are good. They aren't the best of the best but they aren't bad either.
The sound effects are simply amazing. All the classic Star Wars sounds are implemented perfectly. Laser blasts being fired, AT-AT's thunking steps on the ground, AT-ST's 'chack, chack' walking sound, Storm Troppers voice, the classic zipping sound of the Speederbike, the "hovering" sound of the snowspeeders, the the screaming ewok's running through the levels...it's all done very well in the game. It really helps to pull you in to the experience.
Music: The music is a mixed match. It's the popular and well-known Star Wars Music. It's done very well and it changes depending on whats going on in the game. If you've just won a command post, you can hear your side's music play triumphantly play for a few notes until settling back into a more normal routine. Lose a Command post and you can hear the music take a lower more desperate mood. The only downside could be that over the course of playing it can get repeditive. Still this is more just an issue with hearing the same stuff over and over again than with the quality. The quality is great, but it just could have used more variety of music.
The controls in the game are straight forward and totally customizable. It's standard 1st person shooter controls and should be easily accessible for anyone who's played other FPSer's. Vehicles might take a few minutes to get used to but after that should be pretty easy for you to control everything in the game. Aiming is another matter; even with sensitivity up all the way aiming can still be a little less precise then you might want it. There are autoaiming features, but I suggest always turning off autoaim and getting used to the aiming naturally on your own. Other then the aiming not being as smooth or precise as one might like the running seems off in the game. It never really feels like you're running very fast. It would have been nicer if it moved just a bit quicker, as it always seems like your charater might just be casually jogging through the level. Now, I don't know about you, but if I'm trying to run away from a mass amount of enemie or a giant walker I'm not going to be casually jogging! This could have easily been overcome if they included a dash option with a limited bar if they wanted people not to be able to run constantly. Regardless, this is just a small issue and there is always sequeals to fix it up. Other than that the fact it is never feels like your really running the controls are pretty much what you'd expect.
The gameplay is great for the type of game it is. If you're expecting a heavy driven story/plot type game then don't look here. However, if your looking for a game where you can just pick up the controller choose a level and want to get at blasting some Stormtroopers or Rebel scum, or want to run through the Endo Forest with a group of screaming ewoks, or pilot a Snowspeeder and trip some AT-AT's then this game has got that in mass amounts for you. Just don't come expecting new unfolding surprises or new plots. This game is very straightforward; start off in a certain point, get the command point, and win. Yes it's simple but that's part of its charm: simple fun. Set up a level get in, get blasting, get flying, get destroying and get to having fun.
The double side to this simplicity is that at points it can get repetative and you might find yourself being bored with yet another level to do with the same main objective. But you can always find yourself wanting to pick it up later on and play again if you like the game. This makes replay value nearly endless, although you may only want to take it in shorter spans and not in long ones. Then again does being able to hop into a Snowspeeder and whip around the Snowy Ice level of Hoth Blasting AT-ST's and the Emperials and trying to take down the AT-AT's with the tow cable ever truly get old? Nah I don't think so.
All in all this game is a good game. If your familar with the type of game style of Battlefield 1942 then you know how this game plays. If you don't like that type of game or 1st/3rd person shooters then you probably won't be interested in this game either. However if you do like those type/style of games then you'll probably want to check this one out. If you do like those games and are also a Fan of Star Wars then you probably already know by reading this that you'd love to check out this game. Either way if you take it for what it's supossed to be the game is great. If you're expecting it to be something it's not, like a story, you might be dissapointed.