I’ve been a big fan of the Battlefield 4 game for a while on the PS3 (and some of the review will reference BF4 as a comparison). While there is Battlefield: Hardline (which I’ve not played, as the setting seems a bit contrived to me), and a new game in the series on the way, one of the spiritual successors of the game is Star Wars: Battlefront.
First, you might want to read the PS4 review before reading this post, if you haven’t already. I’ll be hitting some of the points from there again here, but hopefully from a slightly different viewpoint.
I mean, dude! BF4 in a Star Wars setting?! Sign me up!
Mind you, I’ve only had it for a day, and I might just be still trying to convince myself that spending the amount of money I did on the PS4 wasn’t a total mistake.
It took a while for everything to download. Even after that, it required a bit of additional installation time, but DICE has realized this and they give you something to do: Play as an unbeatable Darth Vader walking around Hoth with some Stormtroopers killing every Rebel that might pass you by. This was really cool and appreciated … for a little bit …
Thing is … it took so long that after a while I paused it and switched back to watching something on Netflix on the PS3.
There’s sufficient single-player material to keep you busy for a bit as well, allowing you time to get comfortable with the controls (which are different enough than BF4 on the PS3 to confuse you but similar enough to the controls for BF4 on the PS4 that you’ll be comfortable) in an environment where you’re not dying instantly to some twitchy little prick who’s been playing the game since release day.
Now, let’s get a huge couple of issues out of the way, right away: First, Amazon.com has the game listed at around $40 (marked down from $60). But that gets you just the basic game, which isn’t really a lot of content. Much like BF4, though, DICE will be releasing updates regularly (maps, guns, game styles, etc). Most of those, though, will cost money unless you have a “season pass” (available on Amazon.com for $50, probably similarly priced in the PS Store). And now, on the PS4, if you want to play the multiplayer version of the game, you need to spend another $50 a year for PlayStation+ (which ain’t so much of a “+” any more as it is more of a requirement).
That’s an initial outlay of $140 for something that, in my opinion, should only be $50 at most. As much as I like the games (as BF4 suffers from much of the same issues) … fuck you DICE, and fuck you Sony.
Multiplayer gameplay in general: Well, BF4 had squads of up to five people with whom you could chat in game. SW:BF has reduced that to you and a friend, and if you’re not playing with someone you know, you might randomly get assigned a friend. As such, there hasn’t been any in game chatter that’s kind of nice to have (like “Behind us!” or “He’s just around the corner”). Coordinating gameplay hasn’t been something I’ve observed … but then I’m also not all that familiar with any of the maps.
Next, the level system.
BF4‘s was mostly straight forward: as you leveled up and played certain guns, you got additional guns or additions to the guns, or additional abilities.
SW:BF has added some additional, slightly confusing dimensions to the concept. As you play, you get levels, which allows you access to guns, “cards” (things like thermal detonators, special weapons, jet packs, etc. only three of which you can have at any given time, and there’s a limit to what can be used in which card slot), and character “traits” (things like special helmets, races, etc.) but you don’t get the guns and cards right away … you have to purchase them. Now, no, as unsurprising as it would be for them to require some kind of micro-purchase to actually get the guns, you use an in-game currency called “credits” that you get as a normal consequence of playing the games. HOWEVER, I haven’t investigated it, but it wouldn’t at all surprise me if there was a way to convert real cash into game credits in case you want to pad your character a little.
I can’t say that my current K:D ratio in game is a consequence of not having a whole lot in the way of cards and weapons unlocked – I still seem to be at the higher end of the score list for my team (though so far I’ve only been on the winning team for one game). There’s a bit more that goes into it: familiarity with the map; luck; controller familiarity (I still accidentally throw the thermal detonator when all I want to do is shoot my gun); getting used to spotting enemies at a distance when there’s not as much assistance in this as there was with BF4; all sorts of things that go into how well you do. Yes, I expect I will do better as I get used to the game as well as get access to slightly better weapons … but at least I haven’t felt totally pwned and useless while playing (only somewhat, and switching to a different server away from someone who knows all too well what they’re doing can help that). BF4 had a good system in place for this when I started, which had newbies able to access a certain collection of servers that experienced players could not get into. Hence, most people were on the same footing there, and it was a bit of a shock when I wasn’t allowed to play the newbie servers any more.
SW:BF doesn’t have this … and I’m wondering if it might need it.
I definitely need more practice flying.
Should you spend the money?
- Did you win the lottery?
- Do you already have a PS4?
Even if the answer to #2 is “yes”, the next thing is that you’re still looking at $90 at this point. I would suggest you wait until you can find the game *and* the season pass a little cheaper … or until there’s more maps out. Yes, you might find yourself jealous of that guy with the jetpack, but you’ll get it eventually.
Or so I keep saying to myself every time I’m shot in the back by a guy that obviously just used his to sneak behind me.