Am I satisfied by the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass?
I knew full well that I would dive headlong into Star Wars: Battlefront before it launched in November 2015. There was no doubt in my mind that it would provide me with the experience of a truly tangible and familiar Star Wars universe on current game platforms. I had already accepted that a single player campaign was unlikely. Perhaps it would have been distractingly unnecessary given the imminent release of The Force Awakens. Fans clambered for a full campaign, even John Boyega tweeted out about his interest in it, but it would only have been half-baked and unsatisfying. Unlike me, others found the multiplayer-centric shooter to be just that itself. It didn’t matter to me. I wanted Star Wars and I got that in Battlefront. I purchased the Season Pass prior to the full game’s release and knew I would receive at least a full calendar year’s support from EA and DICE. Nevertheless, it was a blind purchase without any details on what the guaranteed four expansion packs would hold.
Seven months later and two expansion packs down in Outer Rim and Bespin, I find myself wondering if I made the right decision. I was very disappointed to learn that Star Wars: Battlefront in its current form would not include any downloadable content from the new sequel trilogy. I wouldn’t get to play as Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren or Captain Phasma. I wouldn’t be able to explore Starkiller Base or Takodana. There was some content on Jakku, but it did not take place during the battles between the First Order and the Resistance. Canonically, Battle for Jakku takes place 29 years prior to the events of The Force Awakens. Right out of the gate I was feeling cheated, even though EA and DICE never promised content from that era. It was my and many others’ assumption that this dream would come to fruition, and therefore it was our fault for getting our hopes up. But could you blame me?
On a whole, the Outer Rim expansion pack delivered more of the same. The maps felt like an extension of the initial release. Jabba’s Palace was an amazing feature to explore and to do battle in. The maps remained well designed for the various game modes available. Greedo and Nien Nunb were awesome characters to include as the new villain and hero for the DLC. I may have a bias toward Nien Nunb, so take my enthusiasm for the Sullustan with a grain of salt. I love to hear him laugh. But the new characters worked well. They were different enough to feel like a worthy selection but did not stray far from the conventions of the other playable characters like them in Battlefront. However, the Outer Rim pack felt too similar to the initial release. It left me with the feeling that it could have been included in the full game and I wouldn’t have thought any different. As far as DLC packs go, it felt like a placeholder for more to come in the future.
Now we have Bespin. Finally, Battlefront has a new planet with a different environment to explore. The urban setting for the map design of Cloud City resembles that of Star Wars: Battlefront II, but far more sophisticated. The design is intuitive for good gameplay movement, and it still delivers an authentic experience. I’m not so sure how the AT-AT could be a practical implementation in the Empire’s tactics, but it works as well as any other map. Similar to the experience in Jabba’s Palace, playing in the low-lit room with the carbonite-freezing chamber on Cloud City is a thrill. Bespin includes new customization options for playable soldier skins like the Bespin Wing Guard and the Shock Trooper, available at the new level cap of 70. Additionally, the rebels have new outfits on Bespin, Leia is accompanied by her white-helmeted Honor Guard spawns and the Emperor by his red Royal Guards. Rebel General Lando Calrissian and the bounty hunter Dengar make great new playable heroes/villains. It seems like they are improved versions of Nien Nunb and Greedo with diversified abilities. I think Dengar is a great choice, but I wouldn’t mind seeing new Imperial characters that are not bounty hunters, like General Veers. New cards, weapons and the game mode Sabotage continue to beef up the playable content.
So, am I satisfied with my purchase of the Star Wars: Battlefront Season Pass? The $50 USD price point was daunting, and maybe a few dollars too high, but I am still having fun with the game. Like Overwatch, Battlefront is a game I can jump in and out of for a few matches without being tied down by lengthy commitments. Unlike Overwatch, I care deeply for the Star Wars universe, making it my multiplayer shooter of choice at the moment. I’m still disappointed about the lack of sequel content, but there is hope for the future. A new Battlefront game from EA Motive will take players into the world of the First Order and the Resistance, but not before the Death Star expansion pack and an unnamed fourth DLC release. The Death Star will most likely take players through the familiar passageways seen in Return of the Jedi, but not A New Hope given that Battlefront has drawn mostly from the third film’s aesthetic time period. Maybe it will include the elusive space battle option fans have called for. I believe the fourth pack will be linked directly to the December release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story because it takes place in a similar time to the original trilogy. New planets, new maps, same factions with a few different character skins could be included in that DLC release. Clearly, there is great potential to include Rogue One and its heroes and villains in Battlefront.
My expectations were tempered well enough to prepare myself for what Star Wars: Battlefront would bring. Aside from the misstep with The Force Awakens, the DLC packs have given me more of what Battlefront was promised to be. Exploring more worlds and corners of the narrative will still be fun for me, and I’m glad to jump back in regularly. The Season Pass may not suffice for others, but it has given me more Star Wars to enjoy, and that’s good enough for now.