The Good: Cool new game styles, (Mostly) Impressive graphics, Amazing variability in the multiplayer mode
The Bad: Some terrible glitches, Lack of a narrative, Some sloppy character renditions (Chewbacca!)
The Basics: Star Wars: Battlefront gets more complex and fun to play with the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass which expands the character, map and weapon base beyond the original game!
Not very long ago, I finally got around to reviewing Star Wars: Battlefront (that review is here!) and as I am preparing to commit 2017 to an entirely different immersive video game, it makes some sense for me to review the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass. Since DICE and EA began expanding Star Wars: Battlefront with the Season Pass's four expansions early in 2016, I have been avidly gaming my way up the Star Wars: Battlefront ladder. I never thought that I would be a gamer who would put in thousands of hours on a single video game, but the stats section of Star Wars: Battlefront does not (presumably) lie! Much of my time on Star Wars: Battlefront for the past six months has been spent on the maps and special new games from the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass expansions.
Despite my daily gameplay on Star Wars: Battlefront, I still do not consider myself a professional game player. This is very much a layman's review of Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass. For the purposes of this review, it is worth noting that I play using a Playstation 4 (reviewed here!) and because the Season Pass is entirely composed of expansions to the online multiplayer portion of Star Wars: Battlefront, in order to play the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass, one playing the game on a Playstation 4 requires a subscription to the Playstation Network.
The Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass is a video game expansion, much like the Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Season Pass (reviewed here!) that is downloadable content (DLC). The four expansions that make up the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass are entirely part of the online multiplayer version of the game. Like the basic game, the Season Pass expansions are set in the Star Wars Universe and allow the player to play as Rebel soldiers, Imperial soldiers and heroes (or villains) from the classic Star Wars Saga and Rogue One. The four expansions for the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass are The Outer Rim (Jabba's Palace on Tatooine and Sullust), Bespin (various portions of Cloud City), Death Star, and Rogue One: Scarif.
The Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass is a first-person shooter video game, both for ground-based forces and fighter vehicles. The expansions in the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass continue to not have gore; shot adversaries simply fall, there is no carnage in the game.
The Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass allows the player to play as a common soldier or as one of the heroes of the Star Wars Saga for most of the styles of game within the broader game. The Season Pass allows players to progress from the previous cap up to a Player Level of 100, which unlocks for players new skins for their soldier appearance. The Season Pass also introduced new characters to the hero and villains lineup of character. By Rogue One: Scarif, players have the ability to play Nein Nunb (much cooler than one might guess!), Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, and Jyn Erso on the hero side or Greedo, Dengar, Bossk (incredibly cool!) and Director Krennic on the Imperial side.
The Season Pass introduced a new mechanic for delivering weapons and Star Cards to players in the form of Hutt Contracts. Hutt Contracts are specific goals that a player must complete to unlock the new weapons or tools they pay into the contract for. New firearms include things like an incredibly powerful targeting rifle that can deliver a lethal shot at a great distance (and finally has a scope that older players like myself can see characters who are far away!) but has a fairly long reload time to a six-shooter to a new blaster rifle that delivers a shot almost like buckshot! One of the other cool weapons is a blaster pistol with a night vision scope, which allows players to see any adversary, including Imperial characters wearing black who hide in the shadows on Sullust!
The Star Card weapons and tools added to the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass include dioxis grenades (a poison gas cloud that damages and kills anyone within its radius until it dissipates!), a scatter gun (which allows players to fire through personal shields), light grenades, and laser trip mines! DICE shot its wad early on the Season Pass as the Dioxis Grenade and Scatter Gun seem to be the most consistently useful weapons to come out of the Season Pass and weapons like the Stinger Pistol, which is such a minor inconvenience as a weapon and so underused by players that I was shocked last week when I was, in a weakened state, actually killed by someone playing with one!
Gameplay for the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass is essentially done by equipping a player with a firearm and three Star Card weapons/tools and then going into one of the maps to run around and shoot. Each of the four expansions from the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass creates a new style of gameplay for the multiplayer mode from Star Wars: Battlefront. While the expansions continue to utilize familiar game modes - Blast, Heroes Vs. Villains, Walker Assault, Cargo, Droid Run, Fighter Squadron, Drop Zone, Turning Point and Supremacy - the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass creates the new play styles: Extraction, Sabotage, Battle Station, and Infiltration. In fact, the only style of gameplay from the original Star Wars: Battlefront that was not added into the Season Pass was Hero Hunt.
For The Outer Rim Expansion, DICE created Extraction. All of The Outer Rim expansion maps were ground-based and Extraction is available on all of the new maps for The Outer Rim! Extraction finds the Rebels trying to get a whole palate of cargo from one end of the map to the other. Rebel forces must set the palate in motion and guard it from the start point, through two checkpoints to a final point where a Rebel ship comes to take the team to safety. The Imperial players must work to stop the Rebels and deactivate the palate to prevent the Rebels from getting to the final checkpoint. At the beginning and first checkpoint, hero tokens appear for the Rebel players; at the first and second checkpoints, villain tokens appear for the Imperial characters. Originally, the Extraction games had specific hero characters who players were transformed into when they activated the tokens, but with the release of the Rogue One: Scarif expansion, Extraction characters were changed into any of the heroes/villains, which makes for even more diversity in the game.
Sabotage is a two-phase game style that was introduced for the Bespin Expansion of the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass. Bespin had one airborn map that allowed players to play Fighter Squadron among the clouds, but the new game - Sabotage - was a ground-based game. In Sabotage, Rebel players must activate explosives on three Tibana Gas generators, scattered around the map. When the explosives are activated, there is a countdown and after a minute, the explosives explode. During the first phase, Rebels have four hero tokens that pop up around the map to allow Rebels to use greater firepower to defend the explosive points (or overtake them if the Imperial players actually play a decent defense!). If the Rebels are successful in destroying all three gas generators within the allotted time, the second phase begins. During the second phase, the Rebels must fall back to an extraction point to wait for a Rebel transport to come and get them off-world. The extraction point is like a control point in Supremacy or Turning Point and Rebels must maintain a dominant presence within it to win the game. Imperials - who are granted four villain tokens in this phase - must penetrate and gain supremacy over the extraction point before the time runs out.
For the Death Star expansion in the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass introduced Battle Station, a three-point game that alternated between ship-based combat and "ground based" (it's inside the Death Star) combat. Rebel players first must launch an assault on a defensive Star Destroyer (which is only vulnerable intermittently, much like the AT-ATs during Walker Assault), while Imperial players must try to destroy the Rebels and their Y-Wing bombers before they can blow up the defensive points on the Star Destroyer. When the Imperial players fail, Battle Station moves into a second phase, aboard the Death Star. On the Death Star, Rebel players must go from one end of the map to the deepest point, where R2-D2 is being restrained. Rebel players must then activate R2-D2 (who becomes a playable character to the player who liberates him!) and bring him to an extraction point (which is a simple "cross the finish line" style goal, as opposed to a control point that must be held). Throughout the Death Star interior are hero tokens which may be picked up by Rebel or Imperial players and can vastly change the outcome of the game. If the Imperials successfully defend R2-D2 and keep him from getting to the extraction point, they win and the game ends. If the Rebels manage to keep activating R2-D2 and get him across the finish line, the Battle Station game enters the Trench Run phase. In the final phase of Battle Station, Rebels try to fly through a prescribed series of checkpoints to a final point from which they may launch a proton torpedo that destroys the Death Star. Imperial teams that prevent the Rebels from getting to the final checkpoint and destroy the Death Star win, while Rebel teams that blow up the Death Star win.
For the release of Rogue One, the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass included new maps of Scarif from Rogue One and a new game style: Infiltration. Infiltration, interestingly enough, is based upon the original ending to Rogue One, which had Jyn Erso and other Rebels physically running the Death Star Plans to a ship that got them off of Scarif! Infiltration is another three-phase game that only progresses when the Rebels complete each of their missions, while Imperial players attempt to block them from accomplishing their goals. Infiltration opens with the Rebels attempting to get a U-Wing troop carrier through the planet shield surrounding Scarif. Rebel players randomly are chosen to be a U-Wing and when the first few attempts with one U-Wing fails, Rebels get multiple U-Wings at a time making the attempt. Once a U-Wing gets to the shield point, the second phase begins. On the ground of Scarif, Rebels must plant explosives on one of two grounded cargo ships for a distraction. Rebel players who manage to activate the explosive and keep it active through a successful detonation win the round and progress to the final phase. The final phase of Infiltration is extraction where Rebel players start in a common point where the Death Star Plans are being held and three players may pick up the plans and attempt to run them across the map to an extraction point. When a player carrying the plans is killed, the plans remain where they fall for a set amount of time, which gives other Rebel players the chance to pick up the plans and continue the run. If the time runs out on the plans, they return to the phase's start point. Imperial players that prevent a carrier from crossing the extraction point line win, whereas a Rebel player with the plans that runs to the waiting U-Wing on the ground will win the Infiltration game.
There is no cohesive narrative to the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass. Sabotage, Battle Station and Infiltration have phases, but there is no actual narrative to them, just progress points that must be reached to enter the team into the next phase.
Just as the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass lacks a coherent narrative, there is no real progression to the game. Players begin at the same point in each round and the games end at generally solid points (like the destruction of the AT-ATs, timing out as one defends the control points or getting R2-D2 to a Death Star hanger).
The graphics for the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass are generally incredible. I played Star Wars: Battlefront on the Playstation 4 connected to a Sony Bravia HD (reviewed here!) and it looked and sounded immaculate. . . for the elements that were so created. The detailing on the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass maps is absolutely incredible. From costuming aspects - there are scratches in the gloss on the Stormtrooper helmets! - to character expressions, Star Wars: Battlefront's Season Pass expansions looks amazing. Players are very easily distracted by running around shooting and preventing themselves from being killed, but DICE clearly worked to make the worlds of Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass look and feel real.
While most of the characters move with lifelike realism in the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass. The notable exception on Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass is Chewbacca. Chewbacca's fur looks matted and pixelated and terrible. It is amazing that DICE got Bossk (who had virtually no screentime) and Dengar (who is voiced on the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass by Simon Pegg!) to look and sound amazing, but they could not nail Chewbacca!
Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass has generally impressive replayability based on the fact that each game has different players, different potential weapon and goal combinations and no coherent narrative. This game is exceptionally easy to jump back into at any point.
Unfortunately, the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass is painfully glitchy in points. For example, it took me two games of Infiltration to recognize that Rebel players may easily get through the first phase by simply taking the U-Wing straight up for two bursts of the speed burst at the start point. From that point, the enemy TIE fighters cannot possibly catch the U-Wing before it gets to the shield point because they lack the speed or positioning on the map to interact with the U-Wing! This is a pretty obvious flaw that makes it impossible for a seasoned Rebel team to actually lose the first round and be blocked from progressing!
Even more problematic is the Lando Calrissian flaw. One of Lando's special attacks is a Power Burst. Some players (possibly cheaters who have downloaded something, if the message boards are to be believed!) play the Power Burst constantly (with no recharge time and no diminishing of the firepower), which makes Lando invincible. I've played against people who play using this exploitative problem and have been at the opposite end of a map, playing The Emperor or Bossk and shot once at the outset of a game by Lando and killed! I've played Lando and cannot activate the Power Burst in a similar way, so it's a known flaw or cheat point that seriously undermines the game.
Outside the glitches, the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass games are eminently replayable. In fact, since any hero can be played now in Extraction, I have enjoyed going back and playing it with all of its new permutations of heroes and villains!
The Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass is a decent investment for those who truly love the expanded Star Wars Universe and are comfortable with the gaming style of Star Wars: Battlefront. As a casual gamer, I certainly enjoyed the content of the Season Pass far more than I enjoyed trying to learn other video games while I was hooked on Star Wars: Battlefront!
Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass utilizes settings and characters primarily from:
A New Hope
The Empire Strikes Back
Return Of The Jedi
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
For other game reviews, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Angry Birds Star Wars
Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor
For other video game reviews, please check out my index page on the subject by visiting my Software Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.