I’ve just been Force choked to death by Darth Vader. And you know what? I enjoyed it. Not in a perverse, dress up as a Jedi and strangle yourself while beating off way, but in an absorbed, nostalgic sense. I’m quite happy to be finished off by the Dark Lord of the Sith (again, nothing weird) when it’s all part of the authentic and immersive Star Wars Battlefront experience. In fact, I often find myself dying in this game because I’m too busy staring at the utterly breathtaking scenery. ‘Look at that Star Destroyer reflecting on the moonlit lake’ I’ll think to myself, and boom; I’m dropped by a blaster shot to the head. I once let Boba Fett torch me with his flamethrower without even returning fire, because I was more interested in the sand cascading down the side of a nearby rock. It’s frighteningly beautiful; probably the best graphics I’ve ever seen. But just like a Stormtrooper’s helmet, there’s not much going on beneath the glistening exterior of this widely anticipated title.
After about a week of playing, I’ve seen it all. I’ve witnessed AT-AT Walkers collapse to the ground, like a simpleton tripping over their shoelaces. I’ve nonchalantly electrocuted scores of Rebels as the Emperor, as if it were like taking out the bins. I’ve piloted the Millennium Falcon and momentarily pretended I was actually Harrison Ford. I’ve even spent time chasing Ewoks into their huts in the treetops of the luscious forest moon of Endor. And it was all thoroughly satisfying. This is the first time I’ve ever felt fully immersed in the Star Wars universe. But what else is there to do once you become bored of repeatedly shooting people the exact same way? The answer is nothing.
The decision to not include a campaign mode in Battlefront is rather like packing a rucksack without the rucksack. What you’re subsequently left with is a sandwich, a change of t-shirt and anything else you might put in a bag, scattered all over the floor. That’s what the game modes feel like: lost components of a failed attempt to make a proper backpack. Admittedly, there are plenty of multiplayer variants to choose from, plus a number of training, battle and survival missions, but regardless of your objective, it always plays like a simple deathmatch. If you’ve got a slow trigger finger, you’re better off watching The Empire Strikes Back in the dark and having your mates make TIE Fighter noises as they whoosh past you. Or just buy surround sound like a normal twat.
It’s a matter of how long the magic of Star Wars can keep you enthralled. For me, using the jetpack to jump over the snowy trenches of Hoth, bumbling over the uneven landscape of a Jawa refuge, and simply gawping at the rain-soaked vegetation on Endor – all the while, being backed by John Williams’ original score – will never get old. Why? Because I love Star Wars, unlike you, you bloody Gungan.