The first DLC for Star Wars: Battlefront is finally here and I think it’s the first time I feel really happy about the release of a DLC. I don’t get excited about DLC in general (even the free ones), but as I pointed out in my previous review, the game desperately needs new content. Not that you won’t enjoy the great planets and the various modes that were available since day one, but you get my point.
Battle of Jakku DLC features one brand new planet with two (and a half) maps and the new “Turning Point” mode. Most players will obviously want to try out the new planet and the new mode, so choosing to play this new mode immediately after downloading the DLC is pretty straightforward.
Turning Point is a 20vs20 control point mode and it’s the first in-game look into the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s worth mentioning that it’s not completely clear how “The Battle of Jakku” connects with the actual movie, since this map is set one year and four days after the Battle of Endor, the final battle in the movie Return of the Jedi. It’s not an exact representation of the battle that takes place 29 years later in the same place in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so we’ll have to wait until the original release of the film and eventually all dots will connect. Nevertheless, it’s really cool to be able to see what happened between Star Wars VI and Star Wars VII in an impressive game like this.
Returning back to the actual game, the visuals are stunning. The Graveyard of Giants is gigantic, chaotic and it gives you the impression that you are fighting in the middle of a great war. It’s a lot better than the second map, Goazan Badlands, which is used for more compact modes like Blast, Droid Run, Cargo, Drop Zone, Hero Hunt and Heroes vs. Villains. It’s nice to walk around a bit, but the openness of its big brother will be definitely missed by everyone who played the Graveyard of Giants first. The huge capital ship that lies in flames throughout maps background with starships unleashing waves of fire at each other and on the ground, makes everything a little messy – in a good way.
Players have to coordinate across an open desert that provides minimal cover. If you’re used to hide behind snowy rocks or climb up the trees in Endor to shoot people down, you can forget it. In Supremacy, Walker Assault and Turning Point you’ll have to get used to this open field and learn to take cover behind some fallen TIE Fighters. If you can find one of course…
In regards to the Turning Point, the new game mode wants to reverse and change things a bit. In this mode, the Rebels have to capture one of three checkpoints in order to break the Empire’s lines. The Imperials have to stop them from getting the control points, but they are not able to win back any progress the Rebels have made. If the Empire loses one checkpoint, the next set of checkpoints opens for the next wave. Another two checkpoints to conquer, same concept as before and the Rebels have to repeat this until the final stand and it’s single checkpoint.
The final checkpoint gave me always the most fun. Enemies came from everywhere, while the Imperials try to defend it like 300 Spartans. If you add AT-ST’s and Airspeeders who shoot from above, you’ll have one intense showdown that impressed me more than I thought. You’ll start in a massive, open battle and you’ll end up in a skirmish fight that takes place in a very small location. Excellent game design, even if this mode does not top Walker Assault.
After playing your first 4-5 rounds, you’ll get an idea of where you have to run, what direction to take and how to survive in the desert of Jakku. The whole thing feels like a counter mode to Walker Assault, because this time the Rebels are chasing the Imperials down.
You can also play in Jakku in Fighter Squadron which takes you up to the sky and you can appreciate even more the massive air-battles and graphics. You could count it as a “third” map of this DLC, but it’s really just the sky from Graveyard of Giants. “On foot, it’s pretty hard to look up and enjoy every single background-effect, but in Fighter Squadron you’ll appreciate every single explosion. I can’t say though that it differentiates the experience of playing this mode, except for providing a more beautiful and impressive environment. It’s just another map for flying around with your X-Wing and the core mechanic of this particular mode does not change at all.
But adding new maps to Star Wars: Battlefront was one of my biggest wishes after spending tons of hours on it, so everyone who pre-ordered the game will obviously enjoy this free DLC. Graveyard of Giants shines on the new Turning Point mode and to me it’s obvious that this map was clearly created to support this new game style. I am not saying that you won’t have a good time playing Walker Assault in Jakku, but the chaotic and fast gameplay of Turning Point fits better into this vast desert. Here is the catch though: you can play Turning Point only in Jakku.
That’s a big fallback regarding this mode, because you’ll have to play again and again the same map. I can understand though why they did not made Turning Point available for other maps too, because it needs the level design of Graveyard of Giants to stay playable and balanced. It would be great though to see updated variations of Endor or Hoth that could support Turning Point, because otherwise you’ll get tired of playing the same map again and again.
The Battle Of Jakku DLC was exactly what Star Wars: Battlefront needed, even if it’s not some massive overhaul that will change completely the game. It features one epic map, a smaller one that cannot really outshine the already available maps and a very interesting mode that features probably one the most intense moments in Star Wars: Battlefront. If this is the first glimpse of EA’s future plans regarding DLC and Season Pass, then I must say that they are doing a pretty good job. If Jakku’s extra content will be the last, (not entirely) “free” DLC for Battlefront, than I probably might feel a little bit disappointed after 3-4 weeks from now. Let’s hope that the developers will hear the players out and enrich the content with even more stuff.