Game Junk Podcast Episode #27: Star Wars Battlefront


0:00 – Intro
7:40 – Review: Star Wars Battlefront
1:31:10 – Hot Button: Judging Value in Game Reviews
2:06:00 – Other Games We Played: Rise of the Tomb Raider, Halo 5: Guardians, Rock Band 4, Guitar Hero Live, Fallout 4, The Jackbox Party Pack 2, Forza Motorsport 6, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Westerado: Double Barrelled, Space Age, Undertale, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Mega Man 2, Transformers Devastation, Guild Wars 2, Ori and the Blind Forest, The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, Super Mario Maker, Destiny, Google Cardboard, Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger and the Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist
3:39:05 – Junk Mail: Xbox One Game Cases, Eternal Darkness, Getting Sick of Open World Games, Holiday-Themed Games, Getting Stuck Due to Unexpected Things in Games + Jay’s Thoughts on Horror Games, FFVII Remake, Working on Games That Don’t Turn Out Well, Metal Gear Solid V, Favourite iOS Game + Dream Sequel, Star Wars Battlefront Most Wanted Levels
4:13:50 – Upcoming Releases / Outro

Game Junk Podcast Episode #27: Star Wars Battlefront by Filmjunk on Mixcloud

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  • Lori Cerny

    Over four hours of GJ? I was planning on Xmas shopping and cleaning house today, but those projects will have to go on the back burner.

    Too much Junk? Never!

  • Bandit Manatee

    I can only assume that Battlefront lacked a campaign because they were pushing this thing out the door for holiday 2015 to capitalize on Star Wars hype. Battlefield 3 and 4 were both DICE games that had single player campaigns so why not Battlefront? How cool would it have been to have a campaign that filled in some of the events in the 30 years leading up to The Force Awakens?

    I tend to agree that when measured against Halo and Black Ops the Battlefront package is lacking.

  • Bandit Manatee

    Wait isn’t a Game junk podcast the perfect thing to listen to while cleaning and shopping?

  • Jay Cheel

    I forgot to mention the HORRENDOUS voice over work for the “heroes and villains” in Battlefront. Darth Vader sounds absolutely ridiculous.

    Also, I was playing multiplayer spaceship dogfighting and was expecting the Hoth level to include Snow Speeders and AT-AT’s. Was shocked to find that it was simply another dogfight battle with the same four vehicles set above snow. Lame.

  • Captain Morgan

    Cheel on Game Junk? Good times.

    And yeah, voices are brutal.

  • I played the Battlefront Beta and found it incredibly underwhelming, and the more I hear about it the worse it sounds. No campaign, and pure PvP with little to no level calibrating is just the fucking worst.

  • Tomoo

    First of all, thanks for reading my email about games you don’t really want to work on or games that go bad. I was thinking about it from my experience working on projects (not games) that involved far fewer people than your typical video game and hadn’t considered the perspective of your voice not necessarily being heard (also, Sean, bringing it down with some talk of joyless work).

    In regards to the talk of value affecting review scores I think there are a few things to consider. I think a lot of game reviews are more of a day one evaluation of a product, not only the game but the package as a whole which makes value a much larger factor. Value is especially important because, at least in a PC market, you can get new games that are far cheaper than $60 on Steam that have very long post launch support that can, and often is, free. This is especially true for a game like Battlefront where you essentially have to pay $120 (US) for the game because at a certain point you are going to get left behind if you don’t have all the latest maps. It’s different than a game like Batman because not buying the season pass in Batman doesn’t impact your ability to play the game like it will in Battlefront and I think it is a valid criticism to have, much like reviews of the new Rainbow Six game complaining that not only do you have to pay $60 for the game but it has a very free to play esque grind in it that can be circumvented by paying more money. Value is frequently a point on Film Junk with certain films not being worth a full price Blu-Ray purchase, I’m not sure I see why a game is any different and why that shouldn’t be reflected in the score. Why can you say “Jurassic World was good but not $30 good” but you can’t say “Battlefront is good but it’s not $60 good?”

  • iammattz

    So glad that star ratings caliber arguments have made their way over to game junk. Great episode y’all!

  • Colin

    Great episode, boys… I’d love for Jay and Dax to be on more regularly. Jay in particular brings up many interesting points from his unique perspective that I think make for compelling conversation.

    The three FJ boys should do a special feature on an upcoming episode where you review Until Dawn, which was suggested by a reader to Jay. It’s essentially the digital film that Frank intended Jay to experience with Heavy Rain, except it’s actually fun and controls like a normal human being designed it. Something like this could be a good way to bring more listeners into the GJ fold.

  • Lior

    It’s great to have Jay on the show because he brings the perspective of the casual gamer. I often have a hard time getting into GJ because all the talk about the newest consoles and the latest E3 announcement just go fly over my head (I play on PC mostly). And when I say “casual” I don’t mean playing bejeweled. I mean I don’t spend five hours a day gaming and own all console that ever was. Just like Jay, I have very little interest in multiplayer games (unless I play with someone I know, and that almost never happens), so that begs the question: Jay, why did you bother buying an 80$ game that is strictly multiplayer if that’s not something you’re into?

    Also, in response to a comment made by Sean, isn’t Knights of the Old Republic considered the best Star Wars game ever made even though it had a new story and new characters?

  • Sean

    I did mention KOTOR as probably the current reigning Star Wars game prior to Battlefront and the only one that comes close for me. But I’m talking more about recreating the feel of the original movies and immersing you in that universe, which has always been a goal of previous Star Wars games but never quite got there.

  • Horrendous? Really? Han Solo sounds so close to Ford it’s uncanny. Same for Leia and Luke. Boba Fett is actually the guy.

    Vader sounds fine. I’ve heard a million fake Vader and you can tell when they don’t get it quite right. It’s almost impossible. This one is no different,its not perfect, but it’s close enough.

    Horrendous? I think you’re overstating it a bit.

  • I agree with Jay that it’s valid to criticize a game for lack of content. But criticizing this particular game for no campaign mode is not fair. The game never advertised a campaign. Ostensibly you knew there was no campaign when you purchased it. It’s like criticizing an X-Men movie because Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett aren’t in it.

    But I also agree with Jay that praising a game for working the way it is supposed to is just dumb. Sire you can mention it in passing, but to up your star rating because it works is doing the industry a disservice. Oh my $900 television turns on and I can see colors. Huge bonus points for that. No.

  • Lior

    Yeah, I posted my comment before I finished listening to the review and all my questions were basically answered in the last few minutes of the review… so, I jumped the gun there.

  • Sean

    I agree that “bonus points” should not be awarded because the game works. I was just trying to point out the potential trade off that resulted from there being less maps and no single player campaign. I realize people probably just expect even more money to be thrown at a project so that the online gameplay works smoothly *and* there is more content, but that’s not always realistic.

  • The worst part of Battlefront is the imbalance in the levels. Any comment on this? For example: Walker Assault on Endor is stupid. The rebels win every. Single. Time. Same with fighter squadron. So far, Turning Point mode seems pretty good.

    As for the weapons. It seems that most people really like Han’s blaster. But I think the guns in this game are awesome. Each one is different and caters to a certain player.

  • Never get a chance to practice with heroes and villains? Listen to Frank. There are not only training missions (which are pretty fun to go for 3 stars), but there are “real” modes (both single player and online) that you play almost exclusively as a hero or in a vehicle.

  • Sam

    I think Frank got too hung up on reviewers criticizing the value of game based on the price of it rather than the point that reviews tend to do that to compare it to other similar games. Which, in film reviews, it’s natural to compare a film to something that has come before it.

    If there are two shooters, and both are very fun to play, but one has a campaign and more game modes, I think it would be reasonable to criticize one or praise the other accordingly for those reasons.

    And in the film side of things, you guys go as far as to not even deeming a short film worthy enough of logging regardless of quality, SOLELY based on an arbitrary length of 60 minutes.

  • Sean

    I think if I was on the Rebel side they’d probably lose. :)

    The level imbalance is definitely something I’d need to play a little more to comment on but that is something that could easily be tweaked over time… again, yet another reason why it’s tough to review these kinds of games since they are always in flux.

  • devolutionary

    I would put the older Rogue Squadron and TIE Fighter games (flight-simulators) into the realm of great movie immersion. Well at least those particular parts.

  • Lou

    I imagine Frank’s concern is that the value based review score critiques the EA executives’ pricing structure alongside the creative efforts of the people working on the game. For most of the team working on the game they had no involvement in the price and just worked to make the best game possible. They deserve to be lauded if their work was impressive.

    If started using a blended review score that averaged picture quality and bang for your buck and offered only one x out of 5 summation, I’m sure Jay would be pissed. These are all operating as consumer purchasing guides. Warnings about value are certainly valid but should be separate from discussions about quality. I only play a couple video games a year because I have little time for them. I want to play the great ones, not just the best value.

    Finally, the idea that Sean shouldn’t praise the game for playing so smoothly is kinda weird. I get that it’s a technical achievement as opposed to pure creativity, but it’s still an important part of creating an immersive experience. I’m sure they invested a lot of energy in coding and tuning it. Pacific Rim is filled with technical achievements. They deserve to be heralded as opposed to only being mentioned if they didn’t work. I always enjoy the arguments here but Jay’s gotta give a little more ground here and accept that he’s the least informed of the group.

  • pcch7

    Battlefront is so easy to get into. The A280C which is one of the first guns you get is probably the best one overall.

  • Regarding value, I think Andrew and Frank are totally correct. A reviewer should never say, “this game isn’t worth eighty dollars.” Or, “if this game was twenty dollars less, I would buy it.”

    As a fan or group of friends discussing it, then sure, it’s fine. But a “professional” critic like IGN or whatever has no business telling me what the value of a game is because they have no idea what my financial situation is. If I’m a millionaire, just about everything is worth it because it doesn’t matter. If I’m wellfare, then an $80 game is not going to be worth it, no matter what it is. And then everyone in between.

    A reviewer should just say, “this is game is developed by Bungie, is releasing on January 9th and will cost $60 on day of release.” And then go on to talk about what is in the game, graphics, approximate length, story, mechanics, whatever. At no point should they tell me that it isn’t worth it or is totally worth it. That’s not their call.

    It’s not subjective or objective. It’s simply an X factor that they (a critic) cannot possibly understand or extrapolate.

  • Regarding Halo 5 – did any of you play the Warzone game modes (which is half of the multi-player)? I love the idea of it and really wished it worked because it could be awesome. But it’s the most broken shit ever. I’ve played about 30 or 40 matches so far and basically whichever team gets the middle base first, will win. About 95% of the time. It’s so unbalanced it’s just not fun.

    Warzone Assault is equally as frustrating because it is so difficult to take over the base it’s ridiculous. I don’t mind a challenge, but it should be at least somewhat fair.

  • Sam

    But you don’t think it’s their job to consider a game against another similar game and judge it on that?

    Let’s say…AAA FPS vs. AAA FPS (just so happened to cost $60 each). One has more way more options and game modes than the other, both fun to play. Never mentions the price of the game in the review. Are they not allowed to give the one with less content a lower score simply because the very little it did have was fun?

    This happened to Destiny last year as well. Everything said the gameplay was amazing but just not enough game there. I agree, they shouldn’t come out and say whether the price is justified, but I see nothing wrong with comparing one game to others in its same class and judging on that.

  • Sure, comparing two games is fine. But their price point is irrelevant in terms of what is “worth it” to me. Both of these games might be worth it for me, but only one of them for you and neither for someone else. That determination is not for a reviewer to decide.

  • Sam

    Yeah, I get that. I think that was also Frank’s big thing in calling out the mentioning of the price of the game in the review and whether is worth it.

    Only checked Giant Bomb, which was one of the sites Frank called out for giving it a “6/10″, but in the review, it never mentions the price of the game, the word “price”, “cost” or “value” (outside of “slick production values”). But instead calls out “lack of content”.

    In my opinion, that would be a fair review, but still essentially getting at the heart of what someone would say as it being “worth it” but coming at it a far better way. They gave it a 3/5, and seeing as they have a no-half star system, it would either be a 3/5 or a 4/5, so I’d say that score is understandable. Giant Bomb is somewhat known for having a system that could skew meta-critic scores.

  • BTW, movie prices aren’t standard. I can see Star Wars in its opening
    week for $5 here in Minneapolis, I can’t find one for less than $10 in
    New York. But Battlefront will cost me $60 in either market.

    So a video game has a different perceived value when it comes to places with lower costs of living, because it is a fixed price point that doesn’t not fluctuate depending on the market, whereas movie tickets do (as do Blu-rays and a host of other commodities).

    So no, that analogy doesn’t work. Try again.

  • Maik

    Should we trust you or a former professional cinema employee expert on that?

  • Jr

    Frank…Fallout gives you all the info you need on quests. It tells you what to do, you select it and it puts it on your map. Boom. I’ve never been confused as to what to do. That being said, most people either love or hate Bethesda games…they are what they are and it’s personal taste but at least give them credit for the scope and complexity of their games.

  • Uh, Matt Gamble is manager of one of the largest and most luxorious movie theaters in Minneapolis. And has been in theaters for 10+ years.

    Try again.

  • 2 things regarding that final reader email on Battlefront…

    – How the hell did you guys not know Jabba’s Sail Barge is in this? Perhaps we don’t really need more maps if people haven’t even explored the maps we do have?

    – I love fighter squadron mode in this game, but what map it’s on makes almost no difference. They look a little different but it’s basically ground and sky. There should absolutely be a (Return of the Jedi) Death Star space battle that includes a trip into the core of the Death Star. Imperials must defend and Rebels are the attackers. You have to fight for a while until Han brings down the shield generator. Then you have 5 minutes to blow it up. I would lose my mind.

  • Technical achievements and just be proud of yourself because something works are two different things. Being the first game to have 40 players battling at once is a technical achievement all on its own. To give it extra kudos for working as advertised is stupid.

  • I only read it as a rip on Frank, as all statements about Frank should be read.