GAMES PAVAN SHAMDASANI
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Star Wars

Game reviews: Star Wars Battlefront and Anno 2205

Star Wars game will appeal to all styles of gamer, while Anno 2205 will be an entertaining diversion for most players

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 December, 2015, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 December, 2015, 5:52pm

Star Wars Battlefront

EA Games

4 stars

With The Force Awakens just weeks away from release and pimply geeks everywhere caught up in space opera fever, the world is awash with all things dork: toys, books, advent calendars, even gold bars (seriously). Arguably the best? The video game, the chance to virtually live out all your fantasies.

Star Wars Battlefront is EA Games’ one true hope, the sole gaming release to capitalise on the collective Star Wars hype. Available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows, it’s a simple concept: battles across different planets, nothing more, and the developers have made sure to deliver a release that appeals to all types of player.

There’s simple, satisfying action to appeal to the casual gamer; there’s obsessive scene-specific details to satisfy long-time movie geeks; there are precise FPS capacities; sturdy team-building qualities; and massive multiplayer battles to ensure the obsessively competitive are on board.

This is everything you’d ever want out of a Star Wars game, and more. Much more – because at times, the ability to have absolute free rein in George Lucas’ playground goes far past the plausible, and into the absolutely absurd.

Like, remember that time that Han Solo killed Darth Vader with a blast to the face? Or when Luke Skywalker was just about to slaughter a whole battalion of Stormtroopers, but slipped off a cliff’s edge and hilariously fell to his death? Or how about the time Princess Leia straight-up punched one of those gargantuan AT-ATs to death? No, we don’t either.

Almost any feat is possible in Battlefront’s world, and for those seeking serious recreations of Star Wars’ biggest battles, this ain’t that kind of game (sorry to break it to you dweebs).

Battlefront takes all that’s best about the Star Wars universe – the larger than life characters, the endless imagination, the limitless possibilities – and distils it into an action-heavy game where you’ll (almost) never get bored. It’s not the kind of obsessive RPG you’ll play for years to come, but as a taster for the next part in arguably the greatest franchise of all time, it sends us far, far away.

Anno 2205

Ubisoft

3 stars

What I particularly love about video games is how there’s almost no concept too ambitious or high-minded to translate into the virtual world. Expansive fantasy planets, games set across all historical eras, life-creating adventures that span time and space.

PC game Anno 2205 fits the bill perfectly, taking the classic Sim City builder style of play, and transporting it to a futuristic world where the ice caps have melted and only a few peak islands remain. It’s a strong idea, and one that seemingly has endless possibilities considering the genre, and it’s only a little sad to realise that beyond the clever model, there’s nothing really within the game further than its capitalistic goals.

Make money, keep the whiny populace happy – that’s the standard protocol for this type of game, and Anno 2205 is no different. Build houses, build factories, lure workers, upgrade factories, upgrade workers; it’s a tried-and-tested formula here, and one that isn’t even that challenging against the modern grain.

In contrast to the standard dynamics are the military missions. Every so often, a terrorist organisation threatens to destroy your civilisation, and in classic Command & Conquer style, you momentarily leave your engineering post to engage in combat. Unfortunately, once you’ve beaten the bad guys a couple of times, it becomes all too easy to obliterate adversaries with your superior weapons, and boredom quickly sets in.

The true saving grace for the game is, as you’d expect, its impressive scale. Lofty skyscrapers in the existing lands clash beautifully against such eventual settlements as the barren Arctic outposts and the colonies on the moon. At first, it’ll almost seem like you get three world-builders for the price of one, and while that initial thrill eventually dies down once you zoom in to the same-same constructions, there’s still something to be said for Anno 2205’s ambitions.

As I said, what I love about games is how no idea is too big or bold to take centre stage – the only problem is when the grand concepts disappoint. Anno 2205 is far from a bad game, and it can be a somewhat fascinating sci-fi diversion for those who loved to get lost in Sim City. But for everyone else, chalk it up to another failed follow through.