- Developer: DICE
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release Date: October 04, 2016
- Platform: PS4
- Playtime: Five Hours
- Acquisition: Bought by Reviewer
Released last November, Star Wars Battlefront has been polarizing among video game players and hardcore fans. Excitement was high prior to release, but Battlefront was met with both disappointment and indifference.
The negative reception was because fans wanted a replication of the classic Battlefront experience instead of a modern one. It may be hard for people to try a game again, though the addition of the iconic Death Star as the latest DLC should be enough to warrant another trip to a galaxy far far away.
The penultimate DLC release for Star Wars Battlefront, this latest offering by EA and DICE provides players with the ability to battle in and around the Death Star. Yes, for the first time, Star Wars Battlefront features actual space battles. Beyond the addition of space battles, the DLC also includes the new Battle Station mode.
A NEW BATTLE AWAITS
A three stage mode, Battle Station plays out more like an actual mission rather than a simple match. Starting players out in space, the goal for the Rebel team is to destroy a colossal Star Destroyer. That may not be an easy feat, but help is provided through the presence of Y-Wings. Weak points are also displayed on the Star Destroyer in the hopes of bringing the mammoth ship down.
The first stage of Battle Station plays out like a fighter squadron version of Walker Assault. While players don’t need to defend points of interest, a constant back-and-forth feeling in the battle is present. With the Rebels having to destroy the Star Destroyer while protecting the Y-Wings, and the Empire tasked to destroy the Rebels the action can get hectic. While there isn’t much combat strategy present in this stage, it is a fun way to start things off since it provides the first space battle in Battlefront.
Once the Rebel team has destroyed the Star Destroyer the Battle Station mode then continues to stage two – extraction. Now set inside the Death Star, the Rebel team needs to secure R2-D2 and extract him. This part of the mode plays out like an escort mission, and it’s at this point where things begin to falter. Battle Station’s core is fine. It’s the fact that things can get uneven that ruins the fun. If the Rebel team fails to extract R2, the final stage — the famous Trench Run — is skipped. Yes, the entire mode restarts if the Rebel team loses at stage two and there’s no way for the action to continue to the stage three.
PROBLEMS IN THE TRENCH
That element of Battle Station is frustrating since it creates an immediate sense of repetition. This design choice means that some players may not get to play the Trench Run segment in Battle Station. While the actual Trench Run map is available to play as a Fighter Squadron map, it defeats the mission emphasis that Battle Station strives for if players can’t play the grand finale.
It’s a shame that some players may not automatically play the Trench Run map since it’s incredibly impressive. The scale feels accurate, and the look is on the mark. Not reaching the obsessive lengths ILM went to in Rogue One, the Death Star design is as accurate as one could hope for. With giant turrets firing, ships flying by, and the narrow pipe filled trenches being a point of caution, the Trench Run map is pure fun. The immediate visual impact of the level really sells everything since it’s so gorgeously rendered. Though an additional Death Star map would’ve been nice to include to showcase more of the facility and further even out the DLC pack.
Complaints aside, the Death Star DLC as a whole truly delivers. Seeing sights like the trash compactor, the Imperial meeting room, and the huge blast doors open is a pure delight. Compared to past Battlefront add-ons which had some memorable elements, the Death Star DLC is full fan service in the best way.
The interior Death Star map design is reminiscent of the claustrophobic feel found in the Jabba’s Palace DLC. Filled with narrow halls and side paths, the Death Star provides interesting battle scenarios due to how it funnels players. Design like that may result in situations where the player finds themselves on the wrong end of a thermal grenade, but ultimately the Death Star interior is a well designed map for twenty-four player action.
There is a downside to how DICE has constructed the Death Star DLC modes. Right now the maps only support a max of twenty-four players. More specifically, the only modes supported in the maps are Battle Station, Blast, and Fighter Squadron. It wouldn’t make sense for Walker Assault to appear, but the lack of modes like Droid Run is odd. Those modes could be added in later, but player options are limited currently.
HEROES AND SCUM
Another neat element of the Death Star DLC are the two new playable heroes. A late addition is the trusty Wookie, Chewbacca, to help the Rebel forces. Joining Chewie in the fray on the Imperial side is the reptilian bounty hunter Bossk. Both characters feel good to play as and aren’t as immediately over-powered. Chewbacca’s and Bossk’s main weapons may not feel different yet they’re fun to play since DICE has nailed their look.
A NEW HOPE
It took awhile longer than expected, but fans now have some truly great DLC to play within Star Wars Battlefront. Immersing the player in a true Star Wars experience, the Death Star is exceptional in the mood it creates. Flying around a Star Destroyer is thrilling, and executing the Trench Run is perfect dream fulfillment.
The Death Star DLC may not bring everyone back, but it does a fine job pleasing the existing audience. With the detail and fun it provides the Death Star DLC serves as a new hope that perhaps Star Wars Battlefront 2 will be the game fans are dreaming of.
The Star Wars Battlefront Death Star DLC is currently available for owners of the Season Pass. The Death Star DLC can be bought separately for $14.99 starting on October 4.