A joyless ‘Star Wars Battlefront’ makes saving the universe feel like a chore

21 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Edit George Lucas says Disney tossed his ideas for Star Wars: The Force Awakens: It was like ‘breaking up with somebody’.

If you are a fan of Luke, Leia and Darth Vader, there are moments in Star Wars: Battlefront that will leave you as giddy as a child watching A New Hope for the first time.”You go to make a movie and all you do is get criticized,” Lucas told Vanity Fair. “People try to make decisions about what you’re going to do before you do it.Hamill returns as Luke Skywalker in next month’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but his iconic character has been conspicuously absent from recent teaser clips and promotional pictures.

Star Wars fans have come up with numerous theories to explain his absence, including the possibility that he is “living in self-imposed exile” or potentially “lost on a desert planet”. Mark has now admitted that movie bosses have given him a financial incentive to keep the plot under wraps, and he will face a penalty if he leaks any spoilers before the film hits cinemas in December. “I have something coming out where there’s an amount of money that if it leaks because of me, I don’t get that payment,” he tells Pcgamer.com. “If I keep it a secret until the day it comes out, I get that payment.” The actor goes on to insist he is well-practiced at keeping spoilers quiet because he previously dealt with a major plot twist in 1980 movie “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” when Luke Skywalker discovers the villainous Darth Vader is actually his father. “I’m good about keeping secrets,” he adds. “I’m proud of the fact that I knew a year and a half before anybody else that he was actually dad-Vader.

Walt Disney pulled a classic “it’s not you, it’s me,” and dumped his plans. “They decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were gonna do their own thing. I didn’t even tell Harrison [Ford], or my wife, because I thought it would be terrible if she said ‘You know what’ to a fan and it got out.” “[Empire Strikes Back director] Irvin Kershner said ‘I know something, I’m going to tell you. The third installment of Battlefront for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 — developed by Electronic Arts studio DICE — will focus largely on multiplayer.

Abrams’ upcoming film – which, based on its trailers, has pretty much exactly the sort of aesthetic I want from a new Star Wars movie – will, in the end, be similarly dissatisfying. You have to do it a certain way.” “The issue was ultimately, they looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,’ ” Lucas said, presumably referring to Disney, which purchased Lucasfilm – including the Star Wars franchise –in 2012. “People don’t actually realize it’s actually a soap opera, and it’s all about family problems; it’s not about spaceships. Battlefront offers several ways to get players’ competitive juices flowing, from simple Blast matches where two teams battle to notch the most kills, to the 40-person Supremacy, a tug-of-war style battle where rebels and imperial forces fight to control key check points. Stormtroopers, blasters, AT-ATs, X-Wings, and more have all been faithfully captured in marvelous detail and come with fittingly authentic audio effects to match. More shockingly – at least to many fans who love the bad-boy edge of Han Solo – when Star Wars was released in a 1997 re-release, he changed the film to show that Greedo, not Han, shot first in the cantina scene.

Alongside the returning trio of Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, the film’s cast includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Adam Driver and Andy Serkis. The director who started out idolizing Akira Kurosawa, wrote an early treatment of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and made his first film, THX 1138, about dehumanization can go back to his experimental side. Abrams has recently revealed that Carrie Fisher’s Leia will not be referred to as “Princess” in the film, but has instead been given a new, more military-sounding title.

And sitting beneath all these familiar characters, battered vehicles, and awesome sounding blaster belches is a noticeably aging, mostly middling game that in some places verges on sloppiness. This includes weapons such as Homing Shots, Thermal Imploders (Battlefront’s answer to grenades), gear like Jump Packs, or abilities including Focus Fire to hone in on an enemy target.

The core of the experience – a pair of modes called Supremacy and Walker Assault – are the stuff of DICE’s Battlefield games, with big groups of players on large maps running around and fighting on the ground, manning emplaced turrets, and occasionally jumping into a variety of land and air vehicles. You may be engaged in decidedly Star Wars-ian tasks – such as attempting to arrest the slow march of a caravan of massive AT-ATs before they can hammer the Rebels’ power generator – but it’s just the veneer on what ends up a pretty familiar experience. Players also have a selection of Blasters and preset looks for their rebel or stormtrooper, but without the deep customization they might see from similar games.

Don’t get me wrong; it can make for a fun bit of chaotic action – especially for nerds who’ve never been much into tanks and jets but who would gladly jump at the chance to pilot a TIE fighter or take control of an AT-ST. If you’re in the right place at the right time you can suddenly find yourself piloting a ship, in possession of the power to call in an orbital strike, or stepping into the shoes of one of the nearly unstoppable heroes or villains. Cargo is basically capture the flag with backpacks instead of banners; Droid Run has players battling over standard control points, save that the control points are GNK robots that wander around a bit; and Blast is basically just deathmatch with blasters.

A couple of game types that strive to incorporate the hero and villain characters are briefly thrilling and do a good job of showing how a character like Darth Vader can quickly carve his way through waves of rebels, deflecting blaster fire with his lightsaber and using Force choke to strangle enemies from afar. But one of these two modes – which sees the stormtrooper or rebel who lands the final hit on the hero or villain become a hero or villain him- or herself – just feels like tag.

If you prefer less competitive modes, there are missions that include Hero Battles where you fight as Luke, Darth Vader, Han Solo and others, standard Battles featuring just foot soldiers; and Survival Mode where players must outlast 15 waves of imperial enemies on foot, in the skies from TIE Fighters or in AT-ST walkers. Another mode called Fighter Squadron places squads of TIEs and Interceptors against throngs of X-wings and A-wings in swarm-like aerial combat reminiscent of the big space battle above Endor in Return of the Jedi (except that, weirdly, none of the Fighter Squadron battles are in space).

The game also boasts a solid, free Companion app for iOS and Android where players can customize their card options and earn in-game credits playing a turn-based tactical game called Base Command. However, the level of depth Battlefront offers could present an issue for veteran players, while newcomers to shooters may yearn for more solo adventures — like a standard campaign with narrative — because of the challenging, competitive multiplayer space. Survival, which is basically a Star Wars-themed horde variant that allows two players to work together to fend off waves of attackers, begins with some promise. And Missions mode – a simple take on Call of Duty’s Kill Confirmed mode, with players collecting the tokens left by slain AI enemies dumbly rushing toward them – is merely moderately fun to play once, and unlikely ever to be revisited. Maps set on Endor, for example, are so thick with floor vegetation that you often can’t see the roots of giant trees, some of which are too big even to jump over.

Hence, the frequent sight of players trying to run between trunks getting stuck on things they can’t see (usually just before being picked off by opportunistic enemies). Another map set in an Imperial hanger full of catwalks stretching up to the roof has railed stairwells so skinny that characters can’t pass each other without awkwardly turning or jumping, creating annoying logjams. Battlefront might have been able to at least partly get away with its lacklustre collection of modes and keep players interested beyond the dozen or so hours it takes to try everything out a few times, but only if it had a compelling progression system.

Collecting experience points does little more than provide slow and gradual access to a modest collection of primary weapons, plus a handful of secondary weapons and special abilities found on unlockable Star Cards. The only truly game-changing ability I encountered is a jump pack that comes available early on and greatly enhances your ability to quickly move around the battlefield and dodge enemy fire. Perhaps players will find something to rekindle interest in the quartet of expansion packs due to arrive next year (a season pass is valued at nearly the price of the game itself, so we should expect it to nearly double the amount of content).

Could the right people with fresh ideas not just evoke the aesthetic we love but also create an engaging sci-fi soap opera that feels new and relevant and cool? But while my issue has been reported by others – more than 2,000 people viewed a post that describes my problem to a tee on the official Star Wars Battlefront forums, several commenting that it was happening to them as well – it doesn’t seem to be very widespread, and none of my friends or colleagues have experienced the same difficulty.

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