In this modern age when first person shooters have gone all technological, with mech suits, jet packs, wall-running, sentient grenades, laser eyeballs and literal guns where dicks should be (some of those may not be real) all becoming the standard, Star Wars: Battlefront is a refreshing step back. A time warp into another time in which every shooter didn’t have to be Optimus Prime’s wet dream, a simpler era when folk could just simply trudge around killing other folk with guns, grenades and by twatting them in the face, rather blowing their enemies head off while running at hyper speed and using an infrared scope. Battlefront kinda reminds me of old school shooters like World at War and Modern Warfare (the last Call of Duty I was actually good at, which is probably why Battlefront is the first shooter in years that I am not total piss at).
I suppose it’s bit of a strange statement to make, that Star Wars, a pioneer in science fiction, feels old school. Even more so when you stop to think about the actual content of Battlefront. There are jetpacks, laser guns, space battles, massive robots walking about the place, I suppose even Darth Vader is sort of wearing a mech suit, kinda. But before I go on to completely contradict all of this article, I guess I should explain just why Battlefront feels the way it does, why it brings back misty-eyed memories of the Call of Duty glory days and why I’m actually good at it.
First of all, movement in Battlefront is very restricted. Yes you can get a jetpack as a perk, but it doesn’t last too long and then takes a while to recharge afterwards. There’s no mega-speed running, parkour, or flying. You’re a mere footsoldier, so the best you can do is run about without a clear mobility advantage – ass opposed to Titanfall, in which if you’re crap at the wall-running you’re going to get absolutely munched. The movement is like early Call of Duty before the future got involved, when the only skill set you needed to concern yourself with was shooting people.
Something that actually was never apart of Call of Duty at all, is that you don’t have to reload your weapon in Battlefront. The gun will overheat if you use it for a prolonged amount of time but, after a few seconds of nail-biting tension, you’re soon back to firing again. It’s hard to fully articulate why exactly this makes Battlefront fun to play, maybe because no one is worried about running out of ammo so just fires with reckless abandon which in turn makes for tense stand-offs – or maybe it’s because it’s something else that makes the player focus on the task at hand, rather than having to fanny about looking for bullets.
The few weapons in Battlefront are all pretty similar and don’t have any really notable differences (I’m level 20 and am still using the default riffle) which, although is in complete contrast to CoD and more akin to Halo, plays probably the biggest part in making Battlefront a competitive and accessible shooter. Those who’ve played Battlefront for the longest are obviously still probably going to be the best, but in this they aren’t then helped further by being given the best gun in the game – which just makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. It keeps things level and means that even if a complete newcomer happens to come across a hardened veteran, the newcomer will still have a fair chance to get the kill. Even the perks in Battlefront are largely ineffective and it’s usually the more defensive perks, like the shield, which do more help than the rocket launchers. Again, it’s just another mechanic in Battlefront that makes the player’s skill the only valuable variable in the majority of scenarios.
All of this gives Battlefront quite a low barrier of entry, which may be frustrating to those who only play shooters, but as someone who hardly picks them up at all these days it makes me feel as if I can compete and actually have an effect on a match rather than just be useless cannon fodder. Battlefront may be shallow and lacking in enough content to keep you hooked for long, but as someone who longs for the days of World at War and Modern Warfare it’s a pleasurable step back in time.