Review:Star Wars Battlefront(PS4, XBO, PC)

★★★½

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Ever since its announcement, there’s been a hell of a lot of pressure onStar Wars Battlefront. After all, it is the resurrection of a multiplayer favourite, handled by DICE – the crack first-person shooter team behind theBattlefieldseries. But with unstable launches for some of DICE’s more recent efforts, fans were sceptical as to whether or not the force was actually going to be strong with this one. The good news, however, is that you can breathe easy.

If you’re hoping for some deep and engaging single-player content though, you’ll be left sorely disappointed, because there’s virtually none of that withBattlefront. Instead, you’ll have to be content with a handful of training missions and four Survival missions (one on each planet) that can be played either solo or with a friend – featuring wave-based levels that pit Rebel players against a horde of increasingly agitated Imperials.

The further you progress, the greater the challenge, so expect enemies to possess the dastardly powers of invisibility, jetpacks, extra armour and shields. Each presents your foes in a new light, forcing you to adapt and change strategies on the fly. They’re certainly enjoyable romps, especially with a compatriot by your side in the heat of battle, but once you’ve worked your way through, there’s not a whole lot bringing you back for seconds or thirds.

That’s because the real meat and potatoes ofBattlefrontis with its competitive multiplayer, and thankfully it’s here where DICE is truly able to strut its stuff. Having access to such hallowed content has allowed the developer to be lovingly authentic with its recreation and make the most of George Lucas’ beloved world.

If you’re a long-time Warsie, jumping into an X-Wing fighter or going toe-to-toe against an AT-AT with your squad is an exhilarating feeling. Some modes work better than others (Drop Zone and Supremacy are highlights), though most are varied enough to keep you chugging along. Still, delve deeper and you may start to realise that both weapons and the game’s progression system are slightly lacking. Neither are deal-breakers, especially considering they can be addressed via future updates, but they’re current sticking points nonetheless.

TheStar Warsfaithful won’t mind, because at its coreBattlefrontis a polished, authentic and enjoyable multiplayer experience that’ll make you feel like you’re in a galaxy far, far away like never before.

Gift Guide:Christmas Gaming

With Christmas rapidly approaching, it’s time to decide what goodies you want your stockings stuffed with. But fear not, because we’ve done the hard part for you, and made a few premium selections…

PlayStation Wireless Stereo Headset 2.0RRP $129

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Grabbed yourself a PS4 but lack the proper headset to use it with? There’s a bevy of options on the market, but for an affordable yet effective set, check out PlayStation’s own creation. It replicates a wonderful 7.1 surround sound, features a noise-cancelling microphone and manages to remain comfy after long sessions.

Xbox One Elite Wireless ControllerRRP $199

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

You might think $200 is fairly pricey for a controller, but you certainly get what you pay for with the Xbox One’s Elite unit. From afar, the amount of customisation on offer is daunting, but hardcore gamers are sure to appreciate each and every choice. The D-pad (a constant sore point with fighting game fans), for example, can be effortlessly swapped out to allow for greater control or ergonomics, as can the analogue sticks. Pedals can also be added to allow for even more button flexibility.

Star Wars Sphero BB-8 DroidRRP $249

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It wouldn’t be Christmas without desiring a gift that makes you feel like a child inside, and no item this year will replicate that feeling more than the BB-8 App-Enabled Droid by Sphero. Using your smartphone or tablet, you can navigate the ball of joy around all sorts of mazes… or record and view virtual holographic videos. Make no doubt about it, this is the droid you’re looking for.

NEWS:

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Ever been told your Xbox is a pointless bit of gear that isn’t good for anything? Well, now you have the ammunition you need to fire back, because using proprietary software developed for the Microsoft Kinect system (i.e. the camera you’ve probably ignored), researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have successfully adapted hands-free technology used for radiographers when taking X-rays. Combined with Kinect, the software can measure the thickness of body parts and check for motion, positioning and the X-ray field of view immediately before imaging. This in turn will help avoid compromised images and exposed radiation.

HITTING THE BIG LEAGUES

Though still foreign to many gamers, eSports certainly look to be on the rise in Australia. Case in point: thousands of devout League Of Legends fans (the MOBA taking the world by storm) packed out Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena last month to watch the best in their field take part in the League of Legends International Wildcard Allstars tournament. The event’s organisers claim it to be the biggest event of its kind in the country thus far, playing host to pro eSports teams from the likes of Turkey, Russia, Brazil and Japan – all vying for a spot at the 2015 Allstar event in Los Angeles. The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) team was the one to eventually come out on top.