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The Star Wars universe has proven how compelling it is over the years, but now it’s showing that it can even make a stale game genre feel fresh.

After a few hours with Star Wars: Battlefront, all I want to spend several more hours playing it. And that’s for one clear reason: It’s so very Star Wars. By that, I don’t just mean that developer DICE has nailed the look and feel of that cinematic world. It definitely has with its film-perfect  re-creations of Stormtroopers, blaster rifles, and AT-STs. But Battlefront also works wonderfully as a game because of the elements of Star Wars that DICE has decided to focus on. The shooter game underneath the space-opera skin benefits from blaster fire and the mythology George Lucas put in place more than 35 years ago in a way that makes it feel distinct and even better than recent Call of Duty and Battlefield releases.

Here’s a video of me playing Battlefront’s Drop Zone mode, which takes place on the planet of Sullust. As you watch, focus on the bright blaster fire and how small skirmishes pop up around the objectives:


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In Drop Zone, teams of imperials and rebels are fighting over escape pods that contain important information. It’s a classic first-person shooter mode reminiscent of hardpoint from Call of Duty. But while playing, I noticed major things that helped set this mode apart for me.

First, the blaster fire was so bright and flashy that it really enabled me to lay down suppressive fire. In a typical military shooter, weapon rounds are not exactly easy to see. You can hear them and maybe you can see a trail that they leave behind, but you have to train your eye to notice them. In Star Wars: Battlefront, weapon fire is impossible to ignore.

Those bright red and green flashes streaking across your field of view instantly alert you to someone is firing at you. And you will almost always have to deal with that enemy before continuing to the objective point. But this also means that you can use fire to do more than put down opponents. If you see where the opposition forces are coming from, you can potentially pin them down by shooting down a corridor. The other team may have to take cover until it can figure out how to kill you. All the while, even though you aren’t killing anyone, you are helping because your team can continue capturing the objective.

The second thing I noticed is that Rebels and Stormtroopers are very easy to tell apart. In Call of Duty or Battlefield, fights are often between a military force and a similarly equipped paramilitary force. Players eventually learn to easily tell the two teams apart, but Battlefront doesn’t suffer from any learning curve. The distinct white suits of the Empire clash with the earth-toned garb of the Rebel Alliance.

And it doesn’t hurt that, when the two teams get into a fight over the same objective, Battlefront feels like it is putting you in the middle of an important battle that could have far-reaching implications in the Star Wars universe. It’s awesome to aim your rifle only to watch an instantly recognizable stormtrooper come into your sights. That’s a feeling I wasn’t really expecting, and it’s one that I’m now expecting the final Star Wars: Battlefront game to deliver repeatedly.

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