“Get off me, you bummer!” is officially the correct thing to shout during what is known as the ‘on-line shooter dance o’ death’ – the situation where you and an enemy are one-on-one, at close quarters, and trying to shoot each other’s face off. It’s a totally comic but utterly desperate thing – you need the kill, he needs the kill. I’d never really done that dance before playing Star Wars Battlefront, I was always a bit shit at Unreal Tournament see and so I’d usually get shot right up the arse while I was still squinting at the screen trying to recognise just exactly where it was that I’d spawned into.
"Ruuuuuun, he'll kill us all."
UT? Counterstrike? Quake? All a bit hardcore really aren’t they? The whole idea of clans, tournaments and LAN-parties leaves most normal people a bit cold and that seriousness kept me out of on-line gaming. Then Battlefield 1942 came along and made horrific-conflict fucking hilarious. Lets all storm a beach while biggles over there crashes his Spitfire into a hill, hahahahah. Lets go shoot that bloke camping while he waits for a tank to re-appear aaaahhhhhhaaa. War! Good God! Huh! What is it good for? For giving the world more opportunities to shout ‘they don’t like it up ‘em’ while lobbing a grenade into a German machinegun nest, that’s what.
"Stay on target. Stay on target" (pic and joke by PVB)
Star Wars Battlefront is the Star Wars ‘skin’ for Battlefield 1942. So it’s a bunch of maps (this is full of good ones - open running spaces, tight enclosed infantry-only, snow, desert, rain, vehicle-dependent, aircraft-dependent, city, ruins, tech, terrain, mixed use, forest, air-platforms), a selection of character classes, and a ‘Control-Point capture’ play dynamic.
A rebel killed by the blast from a doomed Empire vehicle. How ironic. Also hilarious.
You enter a map as either a swaggering Empire baddie, a filthy Rebel, a Kiwi Clone or a separatist Droid (the two timelines are sensibly kept apart – Empire v Rebels or Clones v Droids only), and then you charge about the place either capturing, or defending control points. And that is pretty much it. Except of course this simplicity fathers extraordinary emergent behaviours – sometimes you can play a whole battle utterly doing your own thing but then, telepathically a group of you will identify both an objective and a target together. The simplest illustration of this is when, on Hoth, you choose to pilot a snowspeeder and a stranger just hops into the back and together you go take down a giant walker – you guiding the craft and he aiming the tow-cable. Simultaneously a couple of Rebel infantrymen take to Tauntans and attempt to slaughter the Empire stragglers bleeding out of the stricken AT-AT. The rush from executing this kind of action is extraordinary.
Then other times you might find yourself making these exhilarating crazy single-handed death-runs in which you charge-down a nest of rocket-wielding badass Stormtroopers and end up making them dance like ladies.
Edge offered an excellent summary of Battlefront: it’s just like playing with your collection of Star Wars action figures when you were a kid. But it’s actually something more than that: the game plays like one huge back-garden romp with your mates, complete with toy guns, exaggerated death rolls, and potentially leg-breaking jumps, runs and dives. I bloody love it
(What the fuck! Yeah - we've gone starry, four stars and it's fucking ace, five and we are talking legendary)
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