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Can Star Wars: Battlefront win over a campaign-only gamer?


Battlefront Chris Fail

OPINION: Chris Smith wonders whether multiplayer game Star Wars: Battlefront can win over a single-player-only gamer with its charm and strong IP.

For the longest time, I’ve hated playing online multiplayer games with the furious passion of a Sith Lord.

I’m not good enough to survive in that world, I don’t have the time or desire to get good enough to be competitive and I’m somewhat averse to spotty teenagers recounting the gruesome things they allegedly did to my mother, while they blast me into oblivion.

For me, there’s zero fun to be had in dying instead of playing. It makes me angry. Anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering… usually for my poor gamepad.

So, multiplayer modes go completely untouched in my house, meaning titles like Destiny, which doesn’t offer a traditional single-player campaign mode, are dismissed.

The way I look at it, why pay full price (plus the PSN/XBL subscription) for only half of the game experience? Especially when it’s the half I never partake in!

This recent shift is unwelcome, exclusionary and a massive racket to boot. It feels like developers are only doing half a job. Many of my friends feel the same way. Granted, we’re all in our 30s, but it feels like gaming is leaving us behind.

Star Wars Battlefront beta

When I heard Star Wars: Battlefront would be hugely slanted towards multiplayer, I was naturally bummed out. After all, I’d bought a PS4 with this game in mind.

But this is Star Wars, right? I had to be willing to give it a chance. If anything could win me over to the Dark Side it’d be bringing down AT-ATs, piloting TIE Fighters or swooping through the Forest Moon of Endor on Speeder Bikes.

“Do or do not, there is no try,” a friend encouraged, when I lamented being “too old to begin the training.”

Sure, there was a huge likelihood of being so utterly demoralised within the first few hours that I’d never play the game again, but if this couldn’t give me an appreciation for multiplayer, at least I’d know… nothing could.

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Help me, Star Wars: Battlefront! You’re my only hope.

So I turned off my guidance computer and reached out with my feelings. Han Solo-gamer of the planet Tatt-n00b-ine had taken his first steps into a larger world.

Four seconds into my first Blast mission, that world came crashing down. A Stormtrooper in an elevated position shot my Rebel soldier in the head.

And so commenced the most miserable three hours of gaming of my entire life.

I respawned probably a dozen times during that 10-minute encounter, achieving precisely zero kills. It was a pattern repeated during a session where I finished dead last in every single mission I attempted.

For context, my kill/death ratio after more than two hours of gameplay was 0.09.

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I’d have had more fun watching Star Wars Episode II, while being punched in the knackers every time Anakin whined (which is a lot, for those who’ve blocked it out).

Most of the Missions felt too similar, with a slightly different concept and purpose arranged for my demise. Whether it was the simplest Blast shootout, or the likes of Droid Run, Cargo or Supremacy where you capture and defend stuff, most of it just felt like Call of Duty in a really fancy Star Wars costume.

I enjoyed the Fighter Squadron Missions, where you have brilliantly crafted all-out dogfights in X-Wings and TIE Fighters, but mainly because they were a break from the shooter-centric action and it was significantly harder to be killed as often.

I suppose I gained some perverse pleasure from being slayed mercilessly by Luke too, but I’m not sure that’s what DICE was going for.

Look, I’m the kinda guy who games for the enjoyment of playing out the stories, not to be really good at it. I’m not too proud to switch on Easy mode and enable Lock-On Aiming when a section gets too hard.

Naturally, I can’t do that here because it’s multiplayer. I’m in a world where everyone I’m up against is already ranked higher, has better weapons and refined skillsets that back up usernames like SnipedYourMom69.

God, I hate multiplayer.

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Another thing that irked me was fighting for the Rebels one minute and switching to the Empire the next. What the hell’s that all about? Let me just pick a side and invest in it. Otherwise, what’s the point? What am I striving for? What’s my purpose, dammit?!

Exactly why should I care if my team wins? It’s not like I give the slightest shit about any of my teammates and it’s not like any of the missions advance any sort of narrative.

When the clock runs out and the kills are tallied, you just repeat the mission on a different planet, or choose another way to be killed dozens of times all over again.

Where’s the blinking story?

I went to bed fuming, but still awoke with a desire to give it another crack. “He will learn patience,” I heard Master Kenobi utter from a land far beyond sight.

Except I couldn’t because my broadband was down. Another score for the multiplayer experience! I guess that patience is going to come in handy after all.

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Don’t get me wrong, DICE has built an incredibly beautiful and detailed Star Wars universe within Battlefront. I only wish I could have enjoyed my time there. If anything it gave me an appreciation for the people who while away the hours watching games rather than playing them.

I know what some of you are thinking: “It’s your own fault for sucking so much. Go and play Sonic, n00b.”

However, I’m a Star Wars fan before I’m a gamer, and I know countless people with consoles who feel the same way.

To me, Star Wars should always be accessible and enjoyable – something everyone can take part in, regardless of their skill level. When you release a Star Wars game with this kind of hype and expectation there’s a responsibility not to be so damn exclusionary.

Sure, build your dynamite multiplayer mode for the hardcore gamers and let them have a blast, but are single-player campaign gamers really going to be treated like we’re extinct, like our fire has gone out of the universe? Are developers going to leave us to suffer the same fate as Alderan?

Unfortunately, it seems that’s the way the console gaming industry is going. If anything there are going to be more and more multiplayer-focused games.

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For me, this whole experience was akin to Luke returning home to find his aunt and uncle’s charred corpses in front of a smouldering family farm on Tattooine. He knows there’s no going back to how things used to be, when he and his friends joyfully bullseyed womp rats in their T-16s. And I know it too.

Right now I can also empathise with young Skywalker when he's clinging to that weather vane in Cloud City.

My internet is back up and the Dark Side of the force is reaching out a hand to me, offering one last chance to join the new gaming Empire before I’m forever vanquished.

I look down, before facing my foe, and scream “I’LL NEVER JOIN YOU!

I close my eyes, release my grip and fall… seemingly into the gaming abyss.


November 20, 2015, 4:19 pm

Wonderful, amusing review.

I share many of your concerns, in fact if I was going to review SW:BF it'd sound very much like this.

Star Wars has been a big part of my life for so long and there's great warmth for it. I agree especially with these points:

1. Pick a side - there seems to be little point in switching each time, even Battlefield and CoD kept you on the same side unless balancing was required.

2. The weapon and equipment choices seem pretty arbitrary, with no choice aligning to the factions you have chosen.

3. I'm in the same boat, with kids and a family I can't spend the time to become "l33t"

4. There's no balancing of this in game, kids who can sit endlessly playing the game are powerful and imbalanced

5. The missions seem perfunctory and have no real impact on the SW universe


November 20, 2015, 9:39 pm

So you wrote an entire article on here about your whining and whinging about this being a multiplayer game that you do not care about full of cheesy star wars lines and then you call the teenagers for their childish behaviour. This site truly has gone to the dogs.


November 20, 2015, 10:03 pm

I agree 100%. I bought this game, and the Darth Vader edition PS4 to boot, to play this game with my son. To enjoy it with my kids. Now all I do is login in to play against a whole bunch of people who don't care for Star Wars. I am ok with the multiplayer, usually finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack, but that is not my goal. I even bought the book Battlefront: Twilight Company, the companion novel. Del Rey went and wrote the story for the campaign mode for DICE. It is a great story. Make a campaign mode using it. Very disappointed I spent so much for such a little return. Great graphics, easy-enough game play that is still slightly challenging, but no story.


November 21, 2015, 12:57 am

Agreed. I've never cared much for multiplayer (especially online multiplayer), so it's disappointing to see so many games going this way. I prefer to engage with a story and with a game's systems in isolation, with no pesky people around to ruin my fun. Thank goodness we still have games like Fallout and The Witcher.


November 21, 2015, 1:46 am

Many years ago I used to spend a lot of time on multiplayer gaming on random servers with people I didn't know. I was pretty good too, generally first or second in most matches.

Now I only game online with my mates, currently on Borderlands 1.5.

If I can't do that then I'm not interested.

I played the SWB beta on PS4 and it looked great but I can't say I enjoyed the experience.

Niko Ziegler

November 21, 2015, 6:19 am

It is why world of warcraft will never die. noobs can play and learn and not feel like shit. A great story and ability to meet nice people to give you hints and tricks to help you do well.


November 21, 2015, 8:38 am

No I didn't close it not sure what happened or why maybe Melissa did for some reason? Hmm strange ah well...


November 21, 2015, 9:12 am

Completely agree!


November 21, 2015, 1:03 pm

Great article that echoes my views/experiences.
There is one thing that I would say however. In your piece you mentioned Destiny.
If you've not already I would certainly suggest that you give that a go, especially with friends.
It probably is the most open and enjoyable online multiplayer game that you can play, specifically if you stay away from the PvP modes.
The challenges in it can be as easy or as hard as you want them to be and with a bunch of mates is a great social gaming experience.

Stix Robinson

November 21, 2015, 10:34 pm

Good review but like somone already suggested i think you should give destiny a go. Its not my favorite game but i have put over 1200 hours into that game and less than 20 of those hours into pvp.


November 22, 2015, 8:19 am

Thanks so much for writing the review. I have been waiting years for this to come out and was going to buy a PS4 just for it, but I have never played and never wanted to play multiplayer. What a shame, it looks great.


November 22, 2015, 8:38 pm

I'm guessing/hoping this shift to multiplayer focus will burn itself out someday soon, when game developers realise where the real valueand future of gaming lies. Gaming will one day replace the movies, but not with this boringly repetitive spawn and die action. Stories have been around since Homer...enough said.

Thanks for entertaining review, and saving me an expensive disappointment!


November 23, 2015, 9:37 am

Agree. No single player mode on probably the biggest SW game ever is utterly ridiculous. I played the beta and it was awful. Looks amazing, but there literally isn't a "game".

Alex Walsh

November 23, 2015, 10:14 am

It's trolling distilled into game form- great graphics, brilliant sound effects, in short everything that would make for a brilliant third person (even 1st person if I'm being generous) Star Wars game, stripped of the story mode that would make it brilliant. Complete and utter waste :(

Bob Monkhouse

November 23, 2015, 12:06 pm

I can only echo the views of those below regarding Destiny, especially with the Taken King update. Multiplayer in Destiny can be PvP or PvE, some of the greatest game experiences I have had have been PvE raiding in a 6 man team. If you don't have friends to raid with, there are LFG sites or join the100.io.


November 23, 2015, 1:38 pm

I'm nearly 50 and stopped playing MP with COD4, its pointless when the games are now set that those who play online for 50 hours a week get ever perk going yet those of us with lives are just cannon fodder if we considered to look playing MP.

Hend Farid

November 24, 2015, 9:59 am

I loved the article and I share your views... Online gaming is not as much fun as story and me vs the machine!
Gaming industry is pushing hard towards the MP cause it is a cow they can milk over and over and over again, release new updates, weapons and patches with new locations etc and players can repay small fees each time. And also for the idea that social and on-line multi player gaming is fun and lasts longer than a story mode.
To me the best games, the best stories and the ultimate fun is always in the single player, story driven experience.
Look at games like Uncharted, Assassins Creed, God of War and others, the one that really makes the difference are the single player, even if the game has a multiplayer side (like AC and even Uncharted).
Even in Bloodborne i play alone :)


November 24, 2015, 12:05 pm

i much prefer multiplayer

computer AI is still dog &*(^


November 24, 2015, 1:00 pm

I could not agree more. Multiplayer holds no interest for me whatsoever. I have tried and failed so many times that as soon as I know that a game has no solo campaign (and a good one at that) it is another experience I refuse to suffer.I have many games on the PS3 that I have yet to finish and have no intention of shelling out any bucks for the pleasure of respawning twenty times in ten minutes.


November 25, 2015, 9:44 am

Totally agree (sorry, I'm a bit late on this one) and, had I the talent, it's an article I would have written myself. I am giving Battlefront a go, have had a few exhilarating moments and even seem to be improving. This is only the second online game I've ever tried (and I've been gaming since Elite on the BBC micro) and would suggest that a good way to start the online gaming experience is to try Titanfall. After a tentative start I ended up loving it and played it fairly regularly for a year. It seens to work as a good intro to the online multiplayer world because the mix of AI and real world participants, as well as the "Titan" element, mean that you don't end up getting killed every ten seconds.

Domain Rider

November 26, 2015, 1:00 pm

Yep, you nailed it; introverts like me hate these multiplayer modes. There really should be solo modes in these games. These game producers just don't seem to want my cash...


November 26, 2015, 3:18 pm

I'm so bad at this game (and I hate MP in general, anyway) it's quite beyond parody - yet somehow I've clawed my way up to Rank 18 (don't get excited - 'madskillz gamerz' have already topped-out at Rank 50 and are busy running around Hoth showing off their Shadow Trooper armour to prove it, whilst slaughtering n00bs).

I die in this game again and again and again... I seem to have forgotten how to use a gun and everyone (but me) seems to know how to 'one-shot' someone else from across the other side of the map.

I've tried using a gamepad, a keyboard and mouse, all the different weapons (just two left to unlock), 1st and 3rd person, various skill cards... none of it works. I'm just pathetically bad at this game and it depresses me to be always at or very near the bottom score.

In short: gorgeous looking game, but a miserable, enraging, depressing experience.

Chris Smith

November 26, 2015, 6:19 pm


"I seem to have forgotten how to use a gun and everyone (but me) seems to
know how to 'one-shot' someone else from across the other side of the


November 27, 2015, 11:10 am

Agreed, not at all interested in MP, but frankly these companies couldn't care less any more and only care about crappy consoles. The gameplay in Battlefront frankly sucks .Also sick of seeing games developed for console and then ported to PC.


November 27, 2015, 8:13 pm

"It's trolling distilled into game form"

... going to steal that.

I am 49, and have found that all I can do is go back to FEAR and Serious Sam (Yey), Crisis, Doom 1, 2, 3; Rome 1 & 2 Medieval, I have lots of old games that still work and I get to run them at Full everything, like I never could. I have never managed to port to consoles although my lad has.

MP is awful, but seems fun for 5 mins. The ONLY MP exception I have ever managed is TF2 and that is because the chat is with other guys and girls looking for actual fun, with silly graphics and ridiculous outfits - Go BNS.

Glad to find another bunch of miserable sods who couldn't hit an onager with a BFG.

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