Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
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.