Thursday, March 21, 2024

Game Review: 'Star Wars Battlefront Classic Collection'

As with so many "Star Wars" products, the lens of nostalgia casts an adoring light on formative entries that don't necessary retain their punch and pizzazz in the years that follow. 

"Star Wars Battlefront Classic Collection," a port anthology perhaps too lovingly dedicated to the originals, epitomizes the Star Wars fade. Originally released in 2004 and 2005 and showing every bit of their age in the clunky revitalization, the collection serves mainly to remind you of all the aggravations you put up with but overlooked in the PlayStation 2/Xbox era.

Stodgy, stiff and brittle, the game briefly allows you to experience the same wonder you once did when you first got to simulate large-scale battles in the "Star Wars" universe. There is a certain innocence and sense of wonder at play, because the games were released when the last of the prequels was still fresh, and the grim barrage of sequels, superfluous spinoffs and TV series managed to dull the franchise's sheen.

It's still a thrill to gain power-ups that allow you to jump out of the skin of a drone and take control of one of the heavy-hitting, sea-changing heroes and villains who adorn posters and T-shirts. 

To re-experience all that good stuff, you'll have to put up with long periods of loading and aimless wandering. The too-vast maps tend to let the action get away from them, and an archaic interface makes it a chore to set things up. On the whole, the revamped games have more to offer in the single-player modes than they do in their awkard, underpopulated multiplayer spaces.

Still, I admit that I was charmed by the game's overbearing attempts at fan service. My sons grew up playing the originals, and it's a thrill to be able to revisit their old play grounds with them once more. But what this game accomplishes best is not in proving how great the originals were, but showing, the hard way, how badly a reimagined, modernized "Star Wars Battlefront III" is needed.

For now, those hopes are far, far away.

Publisher provided review code.

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