Also On: Xbox One, PC
I have a complicated relationship with Star Wars Battlefront. It’s the first title in years that I can consistently play with friends and that’s even more impressive since the majority of friends I play with have kids. I haven’t played a video game with friends this much since Madden, maybe five or six years ago. The appeal of the Star Wars license draws many people in and that’s what pulled most of these friends back into the video game world. Battlefront’s easy play style and straight forward upgrade system have kept them interested in playing. For me, these positives greatly outweigh the negatives of the title and I also find myself still going back to play. Mostly that involves friends, but on some occasions I will play some online solo. You see, I don’t have much interest in online FPS titles. I’ve never been a fan of the Call of Duty franchise and probably never will, but give me an authentic Star Wars game that looks and sound beautiful and I’m in. I feel like some background information is necessary, because I am not a typical FPS online player, so bare that in mind while reading (also our review for the main game by Dustin can be read here).
Since I mentioned why I happen to really enjoy Battlefront, I feel I should also give my opinion on what I dislike about the title before we continue into the DLC. Battlefront is a beautiful game but it just doesn’t feel like a complete game. Being that this Battlefront is a rebooting of the franchise in many ways, I tend to give it a little slack. However, when EA decided to charge $50 for a season pass, I got a little offended. The amount of included maps, weapons and hero characters is a joke. . . especially when you consider that Battlefront titles from previous generation systems had more maps and heroes available. So Battlefront can feel like an unfinished game in my opinion and in order to get the complete game you will have to wait a year and a half and spend over $100. That’s a little of what I think is wrong with the game and I’m going to leave it at that. I don’t think it’s necessary to go through everything else because the game was already reviewed and this is a review for it’s DLC, but at the same time I think it’s relevant to this review.
So the Outer Rim DLC is the first expansion available for Battlefront, more than four months after the game was released. This is problem numero uno for me. Clearly people weren’t happy with the amount of maps in the original release (EA did release a couple free maps to try and help with backlash), yet it still took EA over four months to release the first batch of DLC. In my opinion, this could be a deathblow to the title. If the fan base has already moved on, it won’t matter what their release strategy is for the rest of these expansions. That is my biggest concern with buying a $50 season pass that won’t be completed until early 2017! By that time who knows how many average users will be online at a given time and how many of those users will even own the expansion packs.
At the time of this review, the Outer Rim DLC is exclusive to season pass holders. If non season pass holders would like to purchase it they have to wait until April 5th. While it sounds like a great idea in theory for the season pass holders to have the exclusive for a limited time, it is not an effective strategy. So that fan base and active user base I mentioned before, that wasn’t just for a jab, it shows already with this new pack. Currently if you would like to play any of the Outer Rim you must select it separately from the rest of the game. EA has the Outer Rim set as a playlist right now. So if you would like to check out Greedo, you would jump into Heroes & Villains mode. After that matchup concludes, rather than continue with Heroes & Villains on a different map (like the main game would) the Outer Rim playlist jumps you into another mode. I understand the purpose of the playlist, since the user base is small at the moment, but I feel like there has to be a better way. If my friends and I want to play Blast mode, we like to stay in Blast mode for a while and play through a bunch of maps. With this set up, we would have to quit after each matchup and search for another game every time, that is just too tedious, and won’t keep my friends or I coming back.
Let’s talk a bit about the content that is included. So the same day the DLC became available there was also a game update that added some important game balancing and a cool new system for earning weapons and cards, called Hutt Contracts (HO HO HO). That update is available to everyone and is totally free. But as you can see that didn’t include and maps or new playable characters; that needs to be purchased. The Outer Rim DLC includes: 4 new maps (Jabba’s Palace, is very similar to a map in a previous Battlefront title), a brand new mode (Extraction), and two “new” hero/villain characters (Greedo and Nien Nunb). I used quotations with the word new because I thought these added characters were a bit on the lazy side. These aren’t anyones most requested additions and not to mention the skins utilized for there heads were already in the game as unlockable options for your character. Where is Chewbacca, Obi Wan, Yoda, IG-88, or even one of the Emperor’s Royal Guards? I really expected a big name to attempt to grab people back to save the galaxy. However, I must admit that both characters are fun to play with and have interesting abilities to utilize (I was worried they would have the ability to run really fast like Han is handcuffed with).
After playing some matches with a friend, who also had the season pass, we did have a lot of fun. It was annoying to constantly switch modes and not have the ability to play consistently what we wanted to play, but I can give it a pass at the moment because the DLC Is not available to everyone yet. The new mode, Extraction (which has you push a shipment as the Rebels through a given map while the Imperial troops are trying to stop you) is fun, but it’s something I don't care to go back to play. The Heroes & Villains additions (which also goes from 6-on-6 to 8-on-8 since they added a hero/villain to each side) and new maps are the real meat and potatoes for me. Once these maps are somehow integrated into the rest of the game’s content and I can play a mode for multiple matches without have to quit out, I will be much happier. I still don’t see a reason to drop $50 on a season pass for Battlefront, but I do feel that when the Outer Rim is made available for everyone on April 5th, it is a pretty good buy at $15 (if you are still playing Battlefront or looking to pick up Battlefront). The 4 new maps all feel very different from each other and I really ended up liking how the new Heroes & Villains play. The DLC has an odd set up at the moment, with these forced playlists, so It’s kind of difficult if I should include that in my overall score. Still, I totally understand why they did it, but that doesn’t mean it’s effective. I still expect much more from Battlefront based on what EA has promised, but judging this DLC independently from all the shenanigans and based on the content that you get, I recommend it as an essential piece to keep you in a galaxy far far away (AKA fanboys only).