Star Wars Battlefront is a multiplayer only game from a developer who specializes in multiplayer affairs.
Recently, however, DICE has attempted to branch out with the Battlefield franchise. Its last two outings have featured a single player campaign to compliment the traditional core multiplayer experience. For those that haven’t been paying attention, it hasn’t gone well at all. Yet people are upset that Star Wars Battlefront doesn’t feature a legitimate single player affair. To these people, I have one question:
Battlefield’s recent attempts at a narrative campaign have been met with mixed results at best. While I understand that things are different with the Star Wars universe, it’s clear that DICE hasn’t fully gotten the single player aspect of game development down. This isn’t any knock on them; they clearly know what they’re doing with multiplayer design. Therefore, they should probably focus on it since, you know, that’s what they’re good at.
Considering the following criticisms concerning Battlefield’s campaigns:
DICE seemed to forget everything that made the Battlefield games successful as it crafted the single-player campaign. The missions are linear, and the action is often broken up with lame quick-time events in order to show you something cinematic. Serious men say serious things in serious voices during the cutscenes, and there is none of the goofy humor and personality from the Bad Company 2 campaign. This is a deadly serious look at war—if war is a roller coaster that gave you no control over anything.
Battlefield 3’s singleplayer is not a movie. It’s a waterslide with pictures scrawled on the insides. It’s a ten-hour long exercise in contractual obligation: here are the multiple protagonists; here are the vehicle sections; here is the terrorist intrigue and appropriate level of moral grittiness. It’s an undercooked potboiler. It’s the world’s most expensive audition tape for the job of developing a Call of Duty rival.
Sadly, despite the increased likeability of the characters, Battlefield 4’s overarching story blunders from one set-piece to another, ignoring the gaping holes torn in its plot and taking little care to explain what the hell is actually going on (that’s war, I guess?). At one point, right near the end of the game, I leaned over to a fellow reviewer to ask about the identity of a character in a cut-scene. Turned out he was the entire reason I’d been shooting the teeth out of Chinese and Russian soldiers for the last six hours (the length of the solo campaign).
If Battlefield 4 was only a single-player game, it might end up on my Worst of 2013 list with Aliens: Colonial Marines. The campaign is mercifully short if you really need the Gamerscore.
Do you seriously want the people whose efforts resulted in these opinions making the single player story for a Star Wars title? I’d rather listen to Jar Jar Binks talk for half an hour. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but the Battlefield campaigns are, in a word, forgettable.
Their multiplayer, however, is not. And the same is true with Star Wars Battlefront. The issue isn’t the gameplay (it’s solid and enjoyable) or the experience (truly remarkable and one of a kind), but instead its shallowness. A single player campaign wouldn’t have made up for that.