The gates have opened for Star Wars: Battlefront thanks to EA Access. After spending many hours in the beta and now launch, I'm convinced that it'll be the shortest-lived AAA first-person shooter of 2015. Here's why.
1. Game Mode Filler
There's a reason you haven't heard much about the game modes outside of Drop Zone and Walker Assault: the other modes aren't very good.
Take for example Heroes vs Villains, which features several famous Star Wars characters in a battle to the death. While it sounds like a good time, it accentuates the shallow design of these characters. They are limited to one offensive attack, and only three abilities. It feels like you're playing a low level SMITE character.
Hero Hunt is one of several game modes you're likely to only play once or twice.
Or look at Fighter Squadron, a mode which should showcase exciting air battles like the Battlefront's of yesteryear. Unfortunately, the TIE Fighters and other airborne vehicles don't feel good to control. It's shocking given the pedigree of EA DICE, as well as the importance of these vehicles in the Star Wars universe.
Meanwhile, Droid Run's design results in players just hulking themselves into control points. Every player becomes a hunk of meat as the game's lack of teamwork mechanics results in a chaotic mess.
This shortcoming is particularly problematic given that Star Wars: Battlefront is a multiplayer-only experience. EA DICE wants you to spend months playing this game, but hasn't introduced enough enjoyable content to keep you coming back for more.
2. A Low Map Count
Four planets are featured in this game, with 12 maps across them. While this number might not seem too bad, only a few of them are playable on the popular modes.
In the case of Walker Assault and Supremacy, there are only four maps available for play. These are moderate sized maps like Hoth in the beta, and where most players are likely to spend the lion's share of their time. Meanwhile, Drop Zone only has six map options. These are smaller, more focused maps like Sollust in the beta.
This lack of maps is already netting the game a lot of negative attention, something you may remember Titanfall experiencing. But that game had 15 maps at launch, almost all of which were available in the most played game modes. It's safe to say that repetition is going to hit Star Wars: Battlefront hard.
3. It's Lacking Social Features
Remember when Splatoon received all that heat for not supporting in-game voice chat? Well, Star Wars: Battlefront doesn't either. Any communication you have with players on your team will have to be performed by creating a party on the console of your choice or by using third-party software on PC.
Organized team play isn't something Star Wars: Battlefront understands.
There are no clans, or anything of the sort. Organization of any form has been completely overlooked. You're expected to just log in and start playing without interacting with anyone else.
This is the theme with Star Wars: Battlefront. It's clear that it's been designed to be a game where your grandpa can head online and just start shooting people in a Star Wars setting. When playing game modes that require some degree of coordination, it's frustrating to an unbelievable degree.
4. Oversimplified Gameplay
If you've played Halo 5: Guardians during the past month, you'll instantly notice Star Wars: Battlefront's lack of depth the moment you boot it up. There aren't very many weapons, and each of them are designed to be as basic as you could ever imagine. You'll find yourself and your enemies using the same weapons most of the time, and they require a low amount of skill to use due to their low recoil and the game's high level of aim assist.
This is problematic for players who like to be rewarded for effort and skill in their video games. Hardcore players are already being turned off by the low skill ceiling. You shouldn't expect to see any fun-to-watch tournaments, team matches, or a lasting impression on live streams.
5. Nowhere to Turn
If this was any other EA DICE release, you could just into a single-player campaign when you feel like enjoying the gameplay and atmosphere without all the intense competition. Unfortunately, there is no campaign in Star Wars: Battlefront.
There is no story, but at least you can play as Darth Vader for a few seconds.
This comes as particularly surprising given that Star Wars is known for its story and immersion. This is a game that could benefit tremendously from even a short campaign. Sadly, you'll have to stick to some derivative Horde-style co-op missions and online multiplayer.
Star Wars: Battlefront is clearly a game that was made specifically to cash-in on the enormous release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It's one that completely ignores modern game standards, and makes little effort to give you reason to come back for the weeks to come.
But it's also a game that succeeds on delivering an experience that's authentic to the Star Wars franchise. It's beautiful no matter which platform you play it on, and there's been a ton of attention given to ensure it contains all the things you look for in a Star Wars game. For this reason, it's going to sell millions of copies and create tons of buzz next week. Unfortunately, many of the millions of people who buy it are going to quickly forget about it.