Star Wars Battlefront is destined to be one of the best-selling games of the year (it would be a genuine shock if it’s not). Unfortunately, it’s already being labeled as one of the year’s biggest disappointments by scores of disgruntled Star Wars fans who had imagined a very different game than the one DICE and Electronic Arts delivered. Despite being a well-made shooter that is an absolute visual stunner, Battlefront is ultimately a shallow experience that could very well see its user base crumble in just a few months thanks to its overall lack of depth.
Personally, I enjoyed Star Wars Battlefront quite a bit (you can check out my review here) but I’ll admit that it definitely has some glaring issues that can’t be overlooked. While my list of gripes is considerable in length, the following 10 issues are the ones that bothered me the most and need to be addressed in some way in future game updates (or the sequel), if EA wants to ensure that players keep coming back to Star Wars Battlefront long after its initial release window. After all, online-only games like Titanfall and Evolve saw their communities fizzle out relatively quickly and they had more to offer players than Battlefront does right now.
10. No Hunt Mode
Remember Star Wars Battlefront II‘s Hunt mode, that let you alternate between exterminating the indigenous creatures of the Star Wars universe (those Gungans deserved it) and leading a small revolution against human oppressors (army of Wampas > poor weak Rebels). To be fair, Hunt was more of an amusing distraction than a go-to competitive experience, but it only helped enhance the wish fulfillment aspects of the Battlefront franchise even more. After all, who doesn’t want to shoot Ewoks in the face from time-to-time? Strangely, Hunt didn’t make the cut for the new Battlefront, which feels like a missed opportunity. While including it in future DLC isn’t exactly a priority considering the long list of other things that need to be added to the game, the thought of rampaging as a Wampa on Star Wars Battlefront‘s beautiful recreation of Hoth is not an easy one to dismiss.
9. No Vehicle Spawns
Battlefront takes a different approach to power-ups than most other shooters, with everything from heavy weapons to vehicles taking the form of pick-ups strewn around the game’s environments. While in practice this limits the waiting around for vehicle spawns that plague other games like Battlefield or Halo, there should be a mode in this game that features traditional vehicle spawns, if only to inject some variety into the experience. The new system is fine for what it is and gives players who don’t want to wait around in one area for minutes at a time the chance to pilot X-Wings and TIE Fighters, but there’s just something unfufilling about having vehicles represented by little blue icons scattered around a map. And while we’re on the subject, why are all of the vehicles a one-man show? The older Battlefronts allowed you to take multiple co-pilots and gunners along for the ride and the lack of anything like that in the new game severely limits its teamwork aspects.
8. Heroes vs. Villains Mode Doesn’t Go Far Enough
One of the more hilariously chaotic modes in Star Wars Battlefront is Heroes vs. Villains, which as the name implies, pits the heroes of the Rebel Alliance (Luke, Han, and Leia) against the villains of the Galactic Empire (Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and Boba Fett). It’s definitely one of the game’s better multiplayer variants, mixing thrilling empowerment with abject fear as players divide their time between playing as a hero/villain and a regular grunt. Still, as good as Heroes vs. Villains is, it just doesn’t match the entertaining insanity of Star Wars Battlefront II‘s offering, which pit entire teams of iconic Star Wars characters against each other in messy brawls. Granted, it would be hard for the new Battlefront to match that when it only has a roster of six heroes and villains, but that number shouldn’t even be that low to begin with. We already know that new heroes and villains will be added in future DLC, so hopefully DICE expands the Heroes vs. Villains mode in kind.
7. Lack Of A Dodge/Roll Ability
One of the most frustrating aspects of Star Wars Battlefront‘s gameplay is the limited maneuverability options available. Regular Rebel and Imperial soldiers only have a sprint and limited jump ability, which is kind of a problem when the game’s environments are strewn with rocks, cliffs, and other objects that you’re guaranteed to regularly get stuck on (I could make a highlight reel of all my environment fails). While it would be great to see DICE implement some sort of way to clamber over environmental obstacles, the real issue that needs to be addressed is the lack of options when it comes to avoiding enemy gunfire, specifically explosive weapons such as thermal detonators and rockets. The previous Battlefronts featured a roll mechanic that gave players a chance to avoid well-placed grenades, which makes the lack of a similar ability in this game a truly questionable design decision. It’s probably too late to implement something like this in a future update, but whenever Star Wars Battlefront 2 hits, it should offer players more fleet-footed controls.
6. No Republic vs. Separatist Battles
Ironically, the best parts of the earlier Star Wars Battlefront games weren’t the Rebel vs. Imperial battles; they were the ones focused on the conflict between the Republic’s Clone Army and The Separatists’ Droids. Each faction had more interesting weapons and vehicles than their counterparts and in general, the maps were much more dynamic and fun to play. For some reason though, DICE seems to have misconstrued our collective distaste for the prequels as a hatred for anything Clone Wars-related, as the new Star Wars Battlefront only features the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire. While I appreciate that DICE was only trying to keep the focus on the “good” parts of Star Wars, the omission of the Republic and Separatists means we only have about half of a Star Wars game on our hands. While it seems unlikely that the Clones and Droids will be added in future DLC, DICE should seriously consider bringing them back for the inevitable sequel.
5. Very Little Offline Content
There was never any doubt that online multiplayer would be the big draw of Star Wars Battlefront, but did DICE have to skimp on the single player/offline content as much as they did? The first two games didn’t exactly have the most compelling campaign modes (it’s kind of hard when your game design is so multiplayer-focused) but at least they made an honest-to-goodness effort. In particular, the Galactic Conquest mode was a great couch co-op experience and added a neat little meta game into the proceedings. Why couldn’t Dice have included something similar here? The Missions and Survival modes are decent enough and I’m glad they’re there, but I hardly see them holding someone’s interest for very long. Judging by the season pass plans, it’s almost a guarantee that no additional offline content will be added to the game, but I’d love to be proven wrong.
4.The Upgrade Tree Is Sparse And Takes Forever
Like every other modern multiplayer game, Battlefront features a leveling system that lets you earn experience points and credits used for unlocking new weapons, power-ups, and cosmetic options. While the grind of unlocking new stuff is compelling enough, Battlefront stumbles in this area compared to something like Call of Duty in that it just doesn’t offer enough new stuff to work toward. Even worse, it takes way too long to unlock anything good — the jump jet, one of the most essential power-ups in the game, doesn’t unlock until level 13, which takes a good while to get to. The cosmetic unlocks in particular are truly heinous — there are no Wookies, for starts — as the only desirable ones aren’t unlocked until between level 40 and 50 (and I don’t want to even think how much gameplay time that translates to). It’s nice to have carrots to work toward, but Battlefront doesn’t do a very good job of pacing the dripfeed of unlocking new things. More things to work toward and more generous exp./credit rewards would go a long way in making the grind a little more bearable, and most importantly, fun.
3. No Space Battles
Despite some reviews of the game dismissing Fighter Squadron mode as forgettable and shallow, I’ve been having a lot of fun dogfighting in the skies above familiar locales like Hoth and Tattooine. That being said, DICE made a huge mistake not including any sort of space battles in the game; Star Wars Battlefront II let you land on actual Star Destroyers, for crying out loud, and that game came out a decade ago. To not include any type of space combat in a 2015 edition of Star Wars Battlefront is a huge omission and one that honestly makes no sense. Judging by how the whole game has “missing content” written all over it, it’s more than likely that EA’s holding back literal “star wars” for future DLC because they know we all want it. The ship combat that is here is enjoyable, but it needs to be expanded considerably to have any kind of staying power; Rogue Squadron, this is not.
2. The Overall Lack Of Content
The main complaint echoed in pretty much every review of Star Wars Battlefront is that it doesn’t have enough content and boy, isn’t that the truth. How EA thought they could get away with only including four (four!) planets out of the box is beyond me, but that is simply too few for a series that once packed in pretty much every Star Wars locale you could think of. While the maps that are here are admittedly solid and well designed, the game as a whole reeks of trying to get away with the bare minimum. No campaign to speak of, very few modes, a low amount of unlockables compared to other online-focused games…Star Wars Battlefront is definitely a game that’s high on style and low on value. The upcoming free “Battle of Jakku” DLC will thankfully bump up the level variety a bit, but it’s impossible to escape the feeling that this game needed a fair bit more content overall from day one to justify its high price tag. It’s a slippery slope judging a game based on how much “stuff” it includes, but given that Battlefront‘s value is based almost exclusively around multiplayer gaming, there simply should have been more to it than what we got.
1. The Season Pass
Season passes are awful and Battlefront has probably the worst one I’ve ever seen. EA is asking us to pony up $50 USD for future content we know nothing about yet. Putting aside the possibility that the season pass could actually end up being a worthy investment if the content is really good, asking for that amount of money up front is just an ugly pricing model that taints the entire game. Advertisements for the season pass are plastered around the game’s menus, which gives off the impression to consumers that the game they just paid a lot of money for isn’t finished (because it isn’t). The worst part about the whole thing is that EA didn’t need to make the season pass so ridiculously expensive, but they knew that they could because they’re banking on Star Wars fandom clouding peoples’ purchasing decisions. They have a monopoly on Star Wars video games, so you have to play by EA’s awful rules if you want in. I would say that EA could fix this by making all future content free (since it’s incredibly stupid to splinter the community of an online game with premium map packs), but since that will never happen, I’d honestly just settle for a reduced price. $50 is just insane.