Star Wars Battlefront is some of the most fun you can have playing a game this year. This massive shooter drops you in gorgeously authentic recreations of famous Star Wars locations and lets you blow up Stormtroopers until your hands go numb. However, I've already experienced just about all the game has to offer during my 10-hour trial period on EA Access, and I'm not convinced that you should immediately spend your $60 on it when it launches Nov. 17.
Let's start with the good: Star Wars Battlefront is a virtual toybox that succeeds at making you feel like you're in the middle of the film series' most iconic battles. The game is likely going to get plenty of well-deserved praise for its large-scale, 40-player multiplayer modes that mix soldiers, starships and lightsabers, but Battlefront didn't truly click for me until I tried out its Heroes vs. Villains mode.
This fairly ridiculous gametype has the original trilogy's most iconic characters duke it out in an open battlefield, resulting in the Star Wars equivalent of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. In the movies, you'd never see Han Solo shoulder-charge Darth Vader or witness Emperor Palpatine hop around the forests of Endor, but it's all possible here. Sure, it makes no sense, but it drives home what Battlefront excels at: capturing the imaginative joy of playing with action figures.
However, once that thrilling new-toy smell wore off, I found myself somewhat bored and frustrated with EA's beautiful Star Wars game. It plays just fine, but feels stiff and shallow compared to recent shooters such as Halo 5, Black Ops 3 and Destiny: The Taken King, each of which empower the player with exciting movement and combat abilities. To be fair, those games essentially cast you as super-soldiers compared to Battlefront's everyday troopers, but those looking for the next great multiplayer shooter will be underwhelmed.
There's also the general lack of content, particularly for those who prefer to play solo. I'm totally okay with Battlefront not having a true story mode -- after all, this is a game about experiencing huge battles above all else -- but the handful of offline missions that are there offer little replay value. I had a blast mowing down Stormtroopers with my girlfriend in the game's Survival mode, but since playing Battlefront's non-competitive modes doesn't raise your overall player rank (which is necessary for unlocking cool weapons and items), I had little motivation to come back to it frequently.
Multiplayer is Battlefront's biggest selling point, but while it offers decent variety, there's plenty of room for improvement. There are a total of nine modes that run the gamut from all-out, 40-player warfare to smaller, more intimate encounters. However, while gametypes such as the epic Walker Assault and the aforementioned Heroes vs. Villains are absolute standouts, you'll quickly notice that many modes are just slight variations of the classic capture-the-base idea found in almost every shooter.
The game technically offers only four maps (Tatooine, Endor, Hoth and Sullust), though they change significantly based on the gametype you're playing. Still, I can't help but worry that EA is holding back its best stuff for those willing to pay for the waves of premium expansion packs slated to arrive after launch.
If you have an Xbox One and want to try Battlefront before buying, you can get a month of EA Access (the company's Netflix-like subscription service) for $5 and experience a 10-hour trial of the full game. If you're on PS4, I recommend rental services such as GameFly or Redbox. You can't quite rent PC games, but if you buy Battlefront via EA's Origin marketplace, you can request a refund within 24 hours once you first launch the game.
Don't get me wrong -- Battlefront is a fun, gorgeous game loaded with fan service, from its painstaking recreations of famous ships and planets to the charming, randomized animations that play every time you boot up the game. Anyone remotely interested in Star Wars should try it out. I'm just not sure it's worth $60 in its current state.
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Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.