Star Wars Battlefront Review – Corporate Greedo

Electronic Arts shot first.

01

Developer: DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Format: PC, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One
Released: November 17, 2015
Copy supplied by publisher

I love Star Wars Battlefront.

It is, in fact, the most fun I’ve had with an online shooter for years, and I’m not saying that out of mawkish Star Wars nostalgia. I like the original Star Wars films, but I’m not what you’d call a huge fan. Oddly, I’m not a big fan of either Battlefront or Battlefield either, which may go some way toward explaining why I’ve so enjoyed myself with DICE’s galactic shooter.

The game is neither enough like the old Battlefront games nor recent Battlefield releases to please anybody looking for a direct continuation of either. Those who expected a traditional Star Wars Battlefront game will likely be the most disappointed, as this manic first-person shooter strips away a lot of what fans expected. No space battles, no campaign mode, no classes – just a load of fast-paced shooting.

I happen to enjoy a load of fast-paced shooting, and the Star Wars flavor is just an added bit of garnishing.

As far as garnish goes, however, DICE really nailed it. The visual design, sound effects, and overall atmosphere of Battlefront provides what may be the most authentic Star Wars experience a videogame has provided. As blaster fire zooms overhead, Ewoks scream from the trees, and TIE Fighters let loose their shriek across the skies, the sense of being part of a climactic fight in a galaxy far, far away is thoroughly evocative.

The whole thing is gorgeous, to boot. Environments are beautifully designed, richly detailed, and full of inspiring visual effects. Stepping out onto Endor for the first time, green trees slick with torrential rainfall, is simply breathtaking.

02

Combat is pretty damn satisfying – the various range of blasters to unlock look, sound, and punch like the real thing (not that blasters are real), while various toys like thermal detonators and jetpacks are a joy to use. Rather than give players specific classes, characters are customized via Star Cards, a hand of up to three abilities/weapons that can be used to bolster one’s loadout.

Most Star Cards operate on a cooldown timer and take the form of unique weapons like Pulse Cannons and explosives, or special equipment that temporarily stops your gun overheating or increases your accuracy. As players level up, passive cards can also be equipped to reduce blast damage, speed up health regeneration, and more.

In addition to equippable cards, there are item pickups dotted around each map with one-use gun turrets, attack droids, and other fun playthings.

Overall, it’s a great little system that lets you have flexibility without the need to lock into a specific role. I’ve gained a lot of enjoyment from unlocking and upgrading my favorite cards, and you can also have multiple “hands” to change your loadout mid-match.

There are cosmetic customizations including various preset heads and emotes, but I haven’t found this element quite so edifying. For a start, the Imperial customizations are weak as hell, and any visually distinctive appearances are withheld for the very highest levels. Until you reach level forty, you’re stuck with a variety of generic heads, though DICE has an impressively diverse amount for all races and sexes to enjoy.

03

Matches range from small skirmishes to large, 40-player rumbles across huge maps. The biggest and most intense match type is Skirmish, where two teams of twenty are joined by playable heroes – Luke, Leia and Han for the Rebels, Vader, Palpatine and Boba Fett for the Empire – in a massive fight to claim territory and push one side back. These battles can feature speeder bikes, AT-ST walkers, as well as dogfights in the sky between your obligatory X-Wings and TIE Fighters.

There’s also Walker Assault, in which the defending rebels must try and halt an incoming wave of Imperial AT-AT Walkers. It’s an interesting match, though it favors the Empire so much it’s a little one-sided.

Personally, I prefer the smaller, objective-oriented fights, such as Droid Run, a mode where you capture and hold Power Droids that walk around the map saying “Gonk.” Hero Hunt is another personal favorite, a six-a-side battle in which one side has to eliminate the other team’s heroes. A lot of the smaller map modes have engaging objectives that are much better suited to those who want to do more than just kill stuff.

On the subject of heroes, it’s as empowering as it should be to step into the alarmingly tight leggings of Palpatine or slash one’s way across the map as Luke Skywalker. Each hero, played from a third-person perspective, has a range of special abilities that operate on their own cooldown timers, and they can cut through regular players like butter. The downside is that their health doesn’t regenerate, so every hero is destined to suffer death by a thousand cuts eventually.

As a regular player, it can be downright terrifying to suddenly find yourself facing Darth Vader, knowing he can just Force choke you in an instant. Nothing quite beats the feeling of taking him down, however, being that one to put the final boot in and lay claim to his big helmeted head.

I have to say though – I’ve no idea what’s going on with Darth Vader’s voice. Every other main character sounds fine, but there’s something offputtingly dorky about the way DICE has Vader speaking.

04

Dogfights aren’t so thrilling, and are by far the weakest part of Battlefront‘s package. Taking to the skies is a surprisingly boring affair – vehicles are slow moving while combat is a simple case of locking on and holding down the fire button, hoping for victory. There’s an entire match type revolving around airborne fights, but it’s incredibly dull.

If I have the option to use air vehicles in Suppression mode, I more or less ignore it – it’s just not fun.

Everything else, however, I’m adoring. Absolutely adoring. The Star Card system, the regular drip-feed of unlocks, the decent matchtype variety, Battlefront ticks all my boxes, and it’s a game I can envision playing for quite some time, even after this review’s done n’ dusted.

All that said, however, there’s an elephant in the room that needs addressing – the business model.

05

I usually try and separate the business of games from the art of games when reviewing them, but when I feel that the former has impacted the latter, I’ve got to make it part of my critique. To that end, I can only express dismay at what I see as a potential fracturing of Battelfront‘s excellent foundation once the promised avalanche of downloadable content starts falling.

It’s hard to ignore Battlefront‘s tie-in $50 Season Pass – the game itself prominently displays an advertisement for it every time you view the main menu. More than that, though, this is being presented as a pass that’s almost obligatory for the long-term enjoyment of the game. As well as new weapons, heroes, and expansion packs, this pass promises a whole 16 new maps, something that will undeniably break up the userbase and strongarm players into buying.

It doesn’t help that, as good as Battlefront is, it feels like more of a starting point than a complete package. Only a few hours of playing will be enough to see every map in the game, and with no campaign to speak of – only a wave-based horde mode for solo or co-op play – there’s not a lot of meat on the bones, especially for those who get bored easily.

In many ways, Battlefront finds itself an unlikely comparison in Splatoon.

Like Splatoon, I’m finding the multiplayer compelling enough to keep going back, but unlike Nintendo’s squid-themed shooter, we’re going to have to pay for any increased longevity. It’s like Electronic Arts adopted Nintendo’s “game-as-service” model but made us pay for it where Nintendo didn’t. With these expansions being so potentially crucial, it’s not unfair to suggest that the real MSRP of Battlefront is $110, rather than $60.

Except we don’t even know if the other half of the game will even be worth that much money.

06

This close to launch, it’s hard to tell exactly what impact Battlefront‘s business model will have on the game and its audience, but it’s enough to lower my opinion of what should be a potential game-of-the-year candidate for me. I’m not being hyperbolic when I talk about how much damn fun I’m having with this – but I keep thinking about the future, and I cannot in good faith give this game super high scores and accolades when Electronic Arts’ plan is the exact opposite of what I want to see in videogames.

It makes for a frustrating review – trying to balance the amount of enjoyment I’ve had versus the overbearing money-grubbing that’s going on from a company that’s only pulling this shit because it can, not because it needs to – effectively exploiting the power of the Star Wars name and abusing the loyalty of its fandom in a way that’s not even vaguely subtle.

Electronic Arts has been shameless in its behavior, but again, I can’t stress enough how much of a delight the game itself has been – at least during its launch period. That I’m not just slapping a five or lower on the score should be taken as a sign of just how high the quality is. That I cannot give it higher than a seven, conversely, speaks volumes of how overwhelming a shadow has been cast by its DLC.

The best way to describe Star Wars Battlefront, I feel, is to call it what it is – a good game that was deliberately designed to not be a great one.

I wanted to rate it higher than this. Way higher.

At least the online connection is mostly stable, though. As far as EA launches go, that’s pretty amazing.

7/10
Good

jet jet
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jet jet

haha you gave it more than blops3. what a pathetic hypocrite excuse of a joke you are. time for the next mw3 style meme

Jim Sterling
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Ha.

Fuck off.

Even Luck
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Even Luck

Barring that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever:

PHHBTT…AHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

That was me laughing at them, btw, in case no one got it.

Michael Kennedy
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Michael Kennedy
For me the game is a 7.5/10. The game immerses you into the Star Wars universe with its breathtaking and perfect representations of Hoth, Endor and Tatooine and the sound and aesthetic is taken straight from the original movies and it is fucking beautiful, traversing through Endor on a speeder is so fun and is very much like how it was in the movies. The gameplay is fast paced and fucking fun as hell and it is a mix of Battlefield, Battlefront 2 and Call of duty (Some may consider that a bad thing. But fuck you). Playing as the… Read more »
Manen
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Manen

“The game immerses you into the Star Wars universe with its breathtaking and perfect representations of Hoth”

Objectively wrong.

Steven Johnson
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Steven Johnson

LOL!! I really enjoyed reading that 😆

MJC
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MJC
Michael Kennedy
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Michael Kennedy

Thank you for the constructive criticism. I will take it into account the next time I write a review.

Even Luck
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Even Luck

Yeah, the whole downloadable content model is so off-putting. I don’t get EA at all.

Bibbly
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space battles, CTF, and possibly even expanded maps – may be in that $50 tag along.

SilentPony
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SilentPony

Aww, not as good as Shower With Your Dad Simulator?
That’s a shame!

goodbyejojo
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goodbyejojo

the game is definitely worth checking out not at this price, perhaps sometime down the line in a year or two, when they offer the premium package(game+season pass) for 60$

KaiUno
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KaiUno

Thing is, by that time you’ll either be all alone because the community has moved on or you’ll be so far down the ladder it won’t be fun to play.

Craig the War Boy
Guest

I can only hope the Battlefront fans get enough out of this to make it worth it. Remember, you asked for it.

Bibbly
Guest

The idea is everyone is calling in for a pizza, but some folks don’t know whether or not its hot, cold, warm, or to their liking. The temperature might be based on proximity, which says what about quality? Some folks are still hungry after the pizza and kind of wish they had a ‘pizza and wings deal’ but they don’t. At least they throw in the 2L of choice soda, just to wet your whistle for the next time. That’s for next time. Not this time.

09philj
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09philj

And the pizza company charges a lot for extra toppings.

Bibbly
Guest

Well of course.

hardy83
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hardy83
In Canada it’s crazy. Games are now $80. Which is insane as it is, but the season pass for this game is $70!!! SEVENTY FREAKIN’ DOLLARS! So adding those together and adding tax (Ontario, Canada 13%). This game end up being $170. $170 for one game. Almost half the price of the system. And that’s not even a special physical CE of it or anything. $170 for just the game. At this point I have to say I’m done with “mainstream” gaming. I’ll time bubble old game through emulators, get indie games and probably play F2P MMOs, but at those… Read more »
Kyolux
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Kyolux
Pre-order during E3. Those 30% off games are really paying off. Paid $45 with tax CAD for MGS V, will as well for Xenoblade Chronicles X. Got Star wars for about 50 with tax, sold that one back to a colleague for 60. Pre-order (Amazon.ca, bestbuy.ca) (during E3 week only!) everything you might think about getting, and cancel a bit before release if you change your mind, or just return it/sell it for profit if you forget. Yeah, I know, pre-orders are bad, etc… but not when that means making games affordable.. it’s that or wait 6-12 months for a… Read more »
MyBodyIsReady
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MyBodyIsReady

I find myself playing more PSP and PSone games on my Vita these days. AAA gaming is just so fucking depressing. They’ve worn me down to the point where I barely buy any of the latest games anymore, and when I do I have to google how much BS comes with it.

XrosBlader821
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XrosBlader821

I have a rule:
If a game costs more than 50€ I ain’t buying it. The only exceptions being GOTY editions of games.
Also, Vita brofist!

Mom's Basement Dweller
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Mom's Basement Dweller

The vita doesn’t get and has never got the amount of love it deserves. Nothing can top the sheer ecstasy of playing The Binding of Isaac on the shitter.

Za_Docta
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Za_Docta

Nothing can top the sheer excrement, more like.

Za_Docta
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Za_Docta

#vitamasterrace

ghettojack
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ghettojack

I gotta agree. Besides a select few (dishonoured, dark souls, the 2013 tomb raider to name some of my favourites) i pretty much skip anything else. Haven’t touched any tripple A ubisoft, EA or activision games for a little while just because there’s so much fucking bullshit. Online sign up shit, microtransactions, dlc overload, season passes, lack of decent and substantial content in the actual base game. Im just sick of it all.

Codename Codeman
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Codename Codeman

I know! It’s insane. I’ve had to hunker down and buy used games for a while now because of steep new game and console prices. I don’t wanna have to wait for our dollar to get stronger to enjoy my favorite hobby. Maybe that makes me entitled or whatever, but damn, I wanna play the new games with everyone else. Fuck it. Guess I’ll just continue The Binding of Isaac and Ni No Kuni.

nicethugbert
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nicethugbert
Did you say you’re done with “mainstream” games but will move onto F2P MMO’s?? IT’S A TRAP RUN AWAY……….. Have you played MGSV: The Wait Wall Extortionist? That’s how F2P MMOs work. Nickle and diming you every step of the way, and, worse. They use “balance” as an excuse to trash inventories, then power creep the game even more, never achieving “balance”, never even trying. It’s how the treadmill runs. Where do you think that “mainstream” games are getting all their new stupid ideas from? They’re watching MMOs get away with Money For Nothing and copying them. The Wait Wall… Read more »
VoiceOfSeason
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VoiceOfSeason

Yep, the best move these days is to lag behind by a year or so. That way you can focus on proven titles with $20 game-of-the-year editions that include all the DLC.

George
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George

I hear ya. I live in Manitoba we have the same tax rate. We should go to Alberta where there’s no PST. lol

But seriously, that’s one of the reasons I jumped on the Nintendo train despite not having as many games. They are less shitty about the whole DLC thing. Bayonetta 2’s content is HUGE with the costumes, alternative modes, alternative characters, ect… it shows us how much of the experience is being carved out and sold for a much higher price.

I hope that didn’t sound fanboy. I’m really not.

Mom's Basement Dweller
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Mom's Basement Dweller

Being from Canada myself, as soon as I saw how much the Season Pass was from within my copy of Battlefront I was so taken aback by how ridiculously expensive it was I just sat back and let out a big chuckle. 70 freakin’ dollars for the promise of new maps which we have virtually no information on, in a game already has a dangerously low amount of content? Get the fuck outta here.

Made in Canada
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Made in Canada

but the season pass is $70 CAN on psn. So (80*1.13) = 90.4 + 70 = $160

Terriosaurus Hex
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Terriosaurus Hex

I’d say you have a slightly better understanding of what it’s like to be a heroin/synthetic cannabinoid addict after this. And EA are cutting their shit up real good.

PowerSerg
Guest

These companies are smart in that they can make multiplayer fun, for a while long enough to make you want to throw money at their microtransactions or DLC. Like I am sure a large portion of the testing went to players saying when they would be willing to pay for things. How much could they put in before they could start charging.

Goat Stealer
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Goat Stealer
To me this is a lot like Evolve happened all over again, in which a game with a heck of a lot of potential is hobbled by a bunch of executive fuck-nuggets exploiting said potential for a quick and dirty buck. What makes this so much worse though is that it’s Battlefront that they’re taking advantage of. Even if it isn’t the same Battlefront I’ve come to love in years past and it’s a little dry on content, the game itself looked fun enough to make me want to give it a try but greedy business practices have once again… Read more »
Kevin Wilson
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Kevin Wilson

You have to ask yourself, from what you have seen, is the game worth the initial price? if it’s yes then you have to ask yourself, If I enjoy it I will have to spend another $50 to get the next bunch of content that will split the online player base, Do I mind that? If it’s no, and you don’t mind supporting EA and this business practice, then You know what you are……

LexTheDonteKilla
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LexTheDonteKilla

Play a different game. There are plenty of great games made by developers/publishers who respect their audience (you may have to go outside of the AAA industry if you’ve already played Witcher 3). Plus, I imagine you are cursed with a large backlog like myself, just play those games.

nicethugbert
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nicethugbert

gog.com

Cimerians
Guest

I didn’t like it as much got bored after a while on the beta. For 60 bucks, I wanted space battles and at least a story/solo campaign. Really great immersion into Star Wars battles though. Will look forward to the next game.

Dave Dogge
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Dave Dogge

The only problems I see are price and amount of content then it would have been a 9 or 10/10 with all the DLC at $60. EA is like the triple A of Digital Homicide.

Michael_C
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Michael_C

I have some friends encouraging me to get the PS4/Battlefront bundle, and for $350 I’m tempted, though competitive shooters aren’t normally my cup of tea. Feels like it’s finally time to get in on this generation. What say you, folks of Sterling Nation? Be this folly or as good a time as any to take the plunge?

Nick
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Nick

Probably, I mean it’s been a while, about 2 years, yeah?

person
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person

Maybe wait for Black Friday. Then you might get that bundle for $300.

James Robert Thompson
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James Robert Thompson

Man, this review rally reminds me how much I love Splatoon, haven’t played that in a week or two, should go back to it.

Tom Page
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Tom Page

The season pass nonsense definitely has this on my back burner for now. Not to mention the monumental task I have ahead of me in the form of Fallout 4, until I see everything that is eventually in this $110 package, I can wait.

Artemiy
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Artemiy

Not really surprised about the mark, though the gameplay videos I’ve seen (mostly Jim’s) give me impression that the game didn’t really bring anything new to the table. I have Battlefront 2 and UT2004, and SWB doesn’t seem to be an improvement over either in anything except presentation.

Kevin Wilson
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Kevin Wilson

I just watched Jeremy Jahn’s video on why he won’t buy this game and I am in 100% agreement with him. I’m boycotting this regardless if it is a good game.

It’s just a shame that out of all the big gaming youtubers I follow it’s a FILM CRITIC that gets the ball rolling on this.

Well done Jermemy Jahns, star wars super fan boycotting a game out of PRINCIPLE!

Notsowisesage
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Notsowisesage

Thanks for the heads up on the video. I watched it and instantly felt like he was reading my mind putting into word. Although like he mentioned with Destiny, I’ll probably pick it up sometime later when it’s on super sale.

Kevin Wilson
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Kevin Wilson

Same here. I was into both Battlefront games in the past and, I’m almost ashamed to say, I bought Destiny as well after a work-mate recommended it. I actually got a PS4/TLOU bundle to play it after sticking with the PS3/PC for a year. After that game I promised I would never waste my money again or support these business models. There’s many more games out there deserving of my hard earned money

Sperium3000
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Sperium3000

Know what I miss? Rogue Squadron. You know what I don’t want? A new Rogue Squadron, because I know it’ll come with strings attached, like a season pass by the same price of the base game, 200+ pieces of DLC, and/or micro transaction whathefuckery.

Nick
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Nick

Mmmm, Rogue Squadron…yeah plus nothing would ever beat those original games, not to mention they’d be watered down, linear, and easy for the casual market.

Scirocco
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Scirocco

Rogue Squadron itself was a watered down star wars space-sim compared to X-Wing and Tie-Fighter. Having played Tie-Fighter than going to a game like Rogue Squadron, I really can’t imagine that game being more simple.

Xanco
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Xanco

I feel sad when games are bad :'(

David Sills
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David Sills

How is 7/10 bad? Thats a good score.

Raaaaawr
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Raaaaawr
It might not be “bad” in terms of the score, but it’s more “really great” in a small slice. So when you play the game, some people are going to love it. They will have a blast. But after 10-20 hours, they will lose all interest because the lack of content (and how quick it is to unlock it). So it’s really good in the content that is there, but really bad in the overall lack of content that makes it an anemic experience. 7/10 might not be a “bad” score, but I could see why someone would consider it… Read more »
acw215079
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acw215079

The thing is, if I’m dropping 60 bucks on a new game, I want it to be better than just “good”. I want it to be great. Gaming is expensive, and I can maybe pick up 3-4 games a year when they come out. I don’t just want good. If it’s not great, it might as well be terrible as far as I’m concerned.

hlarge4
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hlarge4

Not for nothing, but $60 isn’t alot of money.
But I totally respect only wanting to play “the best”. Although that’s entirely subjective

Erin von Vengerberg
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Erin von Vengerberg

$60 is a lot when you can buy games like Undertale for $10.

hlarge4
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hlarge4

Not when that $60 is buying you Fallout, Bloodborne, Witcher, Until Dawn.
Besides, I try to judge the price on the value of the game, not what other game might be cheaper.
To bring it back to the review, I don’t purchase DLC unless it’s substantial and I’ve already had a full experience with a thing. Can’t wait for the Bloodborne dlc!

Manen
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Manen

Yes it fucking is.

acw215079
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acw215079
I disagree, it’s a lot for me, just coming out of High School and saving for everything I need for school. $60 is a lot to spend on one thing for a lot of people, especially if that thing isn’t going to last you as long as you want it to (take The Order for example). I mean, I can totally understand going “yeah I can settle for this good game” if you have the money to play around with, but like I said, I’m only really able to get 3-4 a year, and I want those games to last.… Read more »
hlarge4
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hlarge4

I think the price makes sense relative to the development time, marketing cost, etc. $60 for most games Isn’t gouging.
Now that 60 being outside of a budget I totally get. I’m there, too, in fact. College student, a home, 2 jobs. I also get like 3-4 big releases a year.
But I don’t believe that makes the games expensive, I just see them outside my budget.
But that’s what I’m in school for, so there you go.

09philj
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09philj

I think he meant morally bad…

Zippydsmlee
Guest

Pretty much what I thought from everything I have seen and heard, it might be a dumb fun MP shooter but thats about it hardly worth 20$ much less 50+……

Zanda
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Zanda

Seem’ed like a bare-bones hack of the original series.

matt_h
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matt_h

Hate it when a game that would’ve been awesome isn’t when there’s money-grubbing involved…

thegodemperor
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thegodemperor

EA sucks dick and people shouldn’t buy their games. Boycott them to extinction. Free their IP to other buyers. As for the Devs/workers at EA, the good ones will find other jobs and we should support them. But shun the corporate execs.

Joshua Chap
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Joshua Chap

It’s Star Wars, it could be a box with Star Wars written with pen and no game and people would go nuts for it.

whiskytangofoxtrot
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whiskytangofoxtrot

Like they did for Star Wars Kinect?

Sexy T-Rex
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Sexy T-Rex

No romance options? No thanks.

HaveSomeOatmeal
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HaveSomeOatmeal

Wait, does jumping into the sarlacc not count?

Manen
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Manen

For some, it’ll probably count.

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