If you know me, you know I am a die hard Star Wars fan. I live and breathe it all: the lore, books, and and especially the games. I grew up on the battlefield of Jedi Academy multiplayer, running around chaotically in Republic Commando and, of course, the legendary Battlefront II. That was the golden age of Star Wars games. It wasn’t until I played the beta for the new upcoming Battlefront series that I realized how the game has fallen to the dark side, and quite frankly – it’s too late to be saved.
Let’s face some cold, hard facts, and if I’ve already triggered you with my opening statement, you won’t like what I have to say next.
As hard as it is, friends, we need wake up and smell the coffee. EA made this game – not Lucasarts, not Pandemic Studios. If it was made by those two, the game would have been out years ago, polished, amazing and loaded with content; none of this poisonous platform that has EA boasting of “pay to play”. This game is the definition of a sell-out, and these words are harder to write than you think. EA has taken a cherished game series and, for lack of better words, milked it for every dollar imaginable.
Our first warning of dark times to come came just over six months ago when EA’s community manager let us know that a fan favorite and classic “Instant Action” would be removed from play and later replaced with “Star Wars Battlefront Missions”, followed shortly after by finding out servers won’t be searchable. And if you played the beta, you KNOW you can only partner with one friend, so good luck running with the squad.
When asked to confirm if this was true, the question was completely dodged and moved to console-related facts, with PC pushed to the wayside.
With server selection eliminated, it kills private games with friends only, so if you just want to have a night in with the team, you’re out of luck. Also, it absolutely destroys the chance of tournament play, pro matches, and LANs.
If you think it can’t go from bad to worse, it goes directly to train wreckage. EA has also taken out in-game communication. So good luck talking to your teammates and coordinating the attacks. (Also note: deathmatch was overlooked, no surprise.)
The carnage only piles up with space combat being taken out completely. As the General Manager of DICE, Patrick Bach, puts it:
“We want players to stay in the same [environment] – we don’t want players to fly off and do something over here. It’s about the Battlefront experience, so we want to keep you in-atmosphere and fighting with the infantry.”
My stomach is left churning at this. Clearly they didn’t do their homework or, for that matter, play Battlefront II, as this was one of the key features of the gameplay. What else could go wrong with this game?
To boot, currently the gameplay is restricted to four planets (versus the twelve that Battlefront II boasted), but why trim the fat there? EA has also taken out class selection and several weapons.
But it doesn’t end here. It only gets worse.
It has EA’s stamp of honor. It’s got the case of DLC Syndrome, something EA is known for, and for whatever reason they continue to wear it as badge of honor.
Remember the good ol’ days when games were complete and you got all of the game for the initial $59.99 price? Well, it seems no one gave EA that memo, so if you’re disillusioned into thinking this would be “the best Battlefront experience ever”, I’ve got news for you. If you’d like to have the full experience of “Battlefield: Space Edition”, you’ll need to cough up a starking $158.20.
Now if that’s not bad enough, the “exclusive” DLC simply isn’t worth it. All those fancy extras that are Han Solo’s pistol, Ion Grenade and Ion Torpedo are all tagged as “instant access”, clearly meaning we’ll unlock it via gameplay.
We also have to face some other harsh realities, as fans who’ve played and loved Battlefront over the years. This is simply not the same game we all started to play, love, and challenge back in 2004.
I can only hope the beta was a mere nightmare and the dust will settle and reveal this to all be a bad dream and the true Star Wars Battlefront will rise from the ashes, a game where you DON’T have to buy the levels to get the full experience like a pyramid DLC scheme, where instead of being robbed of a true Battlefront experience, you are given the experience with all the glorious content originally put into the game. You can play with your friends and not randomly balanced matches. An online experience where we can VOIP to our team and not be silenced. A game where we can truly have fun and remember why we all stayed loyal these long years and be rewarded for it.
All these years of waiting, the hype, the waiting to see it all. It could be worth it. It should be worth it.
But who am I kidding? We all know EA. I think we’ll be planning a funeral for Battlefront before a celebration.
It was good knowing you, dear friend. Goodnight, sweet prince.
Orion is a Contributing Editor for aybonline.com. His opinions are his own.