Thursday, October 15, 2015

Insignificance in 'Star Wars Battlefront'

Keep absolutely still. Its vision is based on movement.
That's no moon; it's a column about Star Wars!

Last week I spent some time with the Battlefront beta and got a small taste of what it would be like to live in the Star Wars universe.  However, it wasn't the life of an infamous smuggler, heroic Jedi, or terrifying Sith: I was a grunt.  A fairly expendable feeling one at that.

As is the case in Dice's other large scale combat game, Battlefront gives you control of a fragile, largely-anonymous soldier.  You can try to go all Rambo, but a couple shots will take you down.  You're more likely to succeed if you keep your head down and try to stick close to your squad.  You're only a small part of a bigger team effort.

The size and duration of the battles add to this feeling of being insignificant.  The mechanics reinforce the scale by juxtaposing you against the Vader and Luke hero units who might as well be gods walking amongst mortals.  If you die you can almost instantly respawn, so there's no time to process your mistake or do any real character building; you just throw another pawn into play and try again.

It's a pretty harsh learning curve and the people playing are already ridiculously good, so I'm not sure I'll spend too much more time with Battlefront.  Still, it was fun (and more than a bit humbling) to get a taste of what it must be like to be a normal dude among Jedi.  I've never felt less important.

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