I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Connor Bynum // Contributing Writer
To say that this year is the best year for STAR WARS fans in quite some time would be the biggest understatement in the galaxy. There is no question with the upcoming release of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, followers of the mega franchise have much to be excited about.
One of the largest reasons for this excitement among fans is the heavily advertised focus on practical effects and reverence to the original trilogy. This passion for holding true to what made STAR WARS so popular to begin with could not be more apparent in the new video game, STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT.
The most obvious selling point found in the game is how much it focuses on the universe contained in the original STAR WARS trilogy, as well as how it quite unsubtly avoids treading into the territory of the heavily panned prequels.
One of the reasons the game is so successful is that this dedication to pleasing these fans rarely crosses the line between fan service and pandering. To put it simply, BATTLEFRONT is an absolute joy to play.
Let’s get this out of the way right now: this game is beautiful. Developer Dice along with EA have created a stunningly photorealistic world spanning across 12 maps that include the sandy canyons of Tatooine to the lush, dense forest moon of Endor. There were numerous occasions where I was simply compelled to stop mid-battle and admire the immense attention to detail found in each of these maps that would often result in my death. Character models for Imperial Storm Troopers, Rebel Soldiers, and the six playable heroes are as convincing as ever. Aside from the occasionally distracting absence of the original actors to provide voices for heroes such as Han Solo and Darth Vader, the characters appear to have jumped directly out of the films. BATTLEFRONT is quite possibly one of the best-looking games of this console generation.
One of the most common criticisms of the game is the unfortunate lack of a single-player campaign. While previous installments in the BATTLEFRONT series featured the option to take on a computer-controlled galaxy one planet at a time, this game focuses almost entirely on online multiplayer. While the variety of multiplayer modes may appear overwhelming at first, half of them are easily forgettable. Where the game truly shines is in Supremacy, Walker Assault, and Drop Zone, with each objective-based battle feeling unique while also helping the game stand apart in a market so heavily saturated with multiplayer shooters.
There are a handful of single-player modes where the player can fight the same battles found in multiplayer with computer-controlled enemies and allies, but this option hardly feels as satisfying as besting an actual person. However, the single player survival mode stands out as one of the best modes in the game. Players fight up to 15 waves of enemy soldiers and vehicles in four main maps. Options for split-screen multiplayer as well as online co-op also exists for this mode and each of them plays wonderfully in their own right.
BATTLEFRONT is a love letter to fans of the original trilogy and is arguably one of the best video games set in the STAR WARS universe. In a time where other multiplayer shooters have begun to feel stale and derivative, BATTLEFRONT breathes new life into the gaming genre as well the hearts of fans around the world as they eagerly anticipate the future of the STAR WARS franchise.
STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT is available today on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.