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Checking In: Star Wars Battlefront’s Death Star DLC

"Space battles finally in the Battlefront"

EA and DICE have been taking us the Outer Rim and the Cloud City at Bespin the past few months. But the most anticipated locale Star Wars Battlefront hasn’t visited yet is the Death Star. The Death Star DLC came out last week for season pass owners while others have to wait till next week. We finally have space battles in the game now, but does the new content live up to the Empire’s expectations. Well not exactly.

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The big new mode in the Death Star is called Battle Station. It is a three part mode where two thirds take place in the air and the second phase on-foot. The first part in space for the Rebels is to take down the weak points of the Star Destroyer while the Empire defends. This phase is mostly a slog that lasts a few minutes because it’s basically Fighter Squadron with a big target to destroy or protect. Y-Wings go on bombing runs on the Star Destroyer’s weak points if the Rebels take out enough Imperial starships. While X-Wings and A-Wings are selectable in this part, I prefer the A-Wings for the speed to complete the objective. If the Rebels were able to take out the Star Destroyer, the match then moves on inside the Death Star itself.

Inside the space station, R2-D2 has to be rescued for the Rebels while the Empire attempts to prevent that. The on-foot battles are chaotic to the point it becomes a spam fest with thermal grenades and bacta bombs. I was a little frustrated at first with all the chaos, but I forgot that Star Wars Battlefront was never supposed to be a serious shooter. I realized again how this game was never supposed to be a competitor to the Call of Dutys or Battlefields. Once a Rebel player activates R2, they control the droid while teammates escort it to the extraction point. R2-D2 can deploy smoke as a diversion, disrupt enemy weapons and stun foes. Imperials have to shoot it down first in order to stop it’s progress. Up to three heroes and villains on each side can help out as well in this phase.

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Once the Rebels were able to extract R2-D2, the infamous trench run from A New Hope is the last phase. Three ships get randomly chosen for the run as they have to fly through a series of checkpoints to win the match. The Empire meanwhile has to stop them as their last defense. Once those ships are defeated, a new three gets chosen and the process repeats till a victor is decided. Just like the movie, pulling off the trench run is challenging with all the tight spaces you have to fly through. That plus Imperial ships on your tail because you’re marked adds along to the difficulty. In this phase, Luke’s X-Wing and Vader’s Tie Advanced are the hero pickups if you find them. Being the one that successfully executes the run is pretty satisfying and the Death Star blows up in movie fashion.

Just like past DLC packs, the Death Star also includes new heroes/villains to play as. We finally get Chewbacca playable for the Rebels while bounty hunter Bossk is the Empire’s newest addition. Chewie is surprisingly pretty good in Battlefront with his bowcaster being buffed up the better he does, being able to motivate soldiers with his scream and a ground pound attack that can one hit kill AT-STs. Bossk on the other hand is also good with his targeting rifle, micro grenades and his toxic escape attack. New weapons and star cards are unlockable by new Hutt contracts. The new blasters have secondary fire options, which is a first for this game, replacing the L2 aiming. For instance, the new pistol has a charge shot while the heavy blaster has a grenade launcher attachment. Laser trip mines and medical droids are the new star cards in this DLC.

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Currently, the only other modes playable besides the new Battle Station are Blast and Fighter Squardon. I find myself playing Blast more here in case Battle Station games for me don’t go past the first phase for consecutive matches. Hopefully DICE adds more of the existing modes into this DLC soon despite the map selection being limited. Battle Station matches start slow because of the first phase being not so fun, but picks up at the on-foot and trench run phases. There’s still some fun to be found in Star Wars Battlefront’s Death Star DLC, but for such an iconic locale, DICE’s efforts were a bit disappointing. After going back to big scale battles in Bespin, players wanted more of that here, but that didn’t happen. Fortunately, we’ll be going back to those I think in the Rogue One DLC later this holiday season.

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