Star Wars Battlefront launches tomorrow. I haven’t pre-ordered it yet, but I’ve come close a few times. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do.
You see in the beta, and during EA Access’s “Early Access” period that started late last week, I’ve found the Walker Assault and Supremacy modes to be really fun, but the rest of the game feels like throw-away content. And I like the meta aspects of SW:Battlefront. Here, at last, is a competitive multiplayer game for the rest of us. The e-jocks hate it because anyone can jump in and have fun. The blasters have no recoil and long ranges which I’m told (by commenters on various posts, so it must be true) makes Battlefront a “no skill” game. To which I say “Good, you e-jocks take your attitudes and go back to COD or where ever is in vogue among your kind.” I almost feel a responsibility to pick the game up just to support this decision.
The modes I love most really capture the feel of Star Wars well, too. I frequently find myself just kind of taking it all in. The first time a Tie-Fighter comes screaming out of the sky, clips an obstacle and spins out of control before crashing in a fiery explosion right in front of your face…well if that doesn’t evoke some kind of a smile you’re just no Star Wars fan.
There’s no voice chat in Battlefront which is another reason the e-jocks hate it, and another reason I love it. I can jump into a game and play and not have to listen to crappy music or racial slurs, or be told how much I suck. I can just have fun and do that thing I do where in my imagination the folks I’m playing with are decent people rather than the awful, awful individuals I usually meet in MP games. (And of course if you WANT to chat with your friends you can just start a Party out of game and chat that way.) With 20 people per team (again, in the 2 modes I like) it’s easy to blend in and just be OK and not wind up at the bottom of the charts and feel like you’re dragging your team down. Usually the people on the bottom just spawned into the game shortly before it ended, anyway. You can pretend to be one of those guys! In any case, the point, for me, is not to win (though I do try). It’s to spend a few minutes experiencing a Star Wars battle from the inside.
But it IS generally “a few minutes.” It’s not a game I find myself playing for hours at a time. I jump in, do a few matches, get my fix and move on to something else. Is that worth $60?
If this was a single player experience it’d be an easy choice: Wait for a sale or something. But if I’m going to play I kind of want to play it while the servers are nice and full and games spawn quickly. Plus with new Star Wars movie out next month, there’s the whole Star Wars fever aspect.
But the other big downside is the crazy-expensive season pass. The base game is $60, the season pass is $50. I wouldn’t care about this except for the fact that Season Pass holders get access to new content 2 weeks ahead of everyone else. That means if you don’t have the season pass and opt to buy DLC, you’re going to be experiencing it for the first time playing against people who’ve spent 2 weeks mastering the nuances of the maps. Since this really ISN’T an e-jock kind of game, that might not be as big of a problem as it sounds. but in general I don’t like how hard they’re trying to motivate us to spend $50 on a season pass of mostly unknown content.
Of course if I just opt to buy the initial game and say no to all DLC, that doesn’t impact me at all.
So pros, cons, confusion. It’d also be easier if I hadn’t purchased so many great games lately. I’m still pretty heavily invested in Fallout 4. If Battlefront had launched last summer I would’ve been all over it. I could wait, but again I kind of want the full server experience (and to not be the one level 1 guy playing with a bunch of level 50 characters).
Maybe I should flip a coin…