Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection Review – The Circle Is Now Complete

star wars battlefront classic collection review

Echoing the original movie trilogy, Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection provides a revamp for audiences twenty years after the series first debuted.

Those 1997 re-releases of the movies that changed the world retained what made them great (apart from the whole Han shooting first controversy) while George Lucas introduced visual overhauls and special effects to clean up his depiction of a Galaxy far, far away.

Developers Aspyr have seemingly applied the same logic with the Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection, a compendium of the first two Star Wars: Battlefront games that released in 2004 and 2005 respectively.

These games, originally developed by Pandemic for the sixth generation of consoles, hold a special place in my heart as the best way to experience the large-scale conflicts that give the entire franchise its namesake.

For me, these games were the first real competitive shooters that I played to death. I’ve clocked hundreds of hours trudging around Hoth, Tatooine, Naboo, and more, capturing Control Points and zapping Stormtroopers.

Those blissful college days of endless matches of Galactic Conquest are but a faded memory now, however, and we’ve had twenty years of progress in the competitive shooter space.

With live service titans such as Fortnite and Call Of Duty: Warzone tightening their grip on the gaming community, will Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection endure, or will this retro shooter slip through your fingers?

A refreshingly nostalgic galactic shooter

Mode Mothma

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection gameplay

If you’re unfamiliar with what I’ve been speaking about so far, then perhaps you missed these games when they first released or you’re lucky enough to be a ‘youngling’. The Star Wars: Battlefront games consist of territorial skirmishes, played from the first or third-person perspective, where players compete for control of areas against wave after wave of enemy reinforcements.

The main gameplay mode, Conquest, sees two teams fighting for control points and exhausting their opponents’ reinforcements to win. Matches of Conquest quickly and predictably become wars of attrition, with a high kill/death ratio often valued above playing the objective.

Galactic Conquest, the mode that threatened to derail my college education, frames multiple bouts of Conquest together as a tug-of-war over multiple maps and planets, with victory achieved via complete galactic domination.

While the first Star Wars: Battlefront only offered Conquest as a gameplay option, its sequel expanded the list of available modes to include genre staple Capture The Flag, Hunt – a deathmatch style brawl and the brilliantly implausible Hero Assault.

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection Hero Assault

The expanded Hero Assault mode adds two new fighters here with the Sith Asajj Ventress and Jedi Kit Fisto joining the fray. While sticking to the live-die-repeat blueprint, Hero Assault does mix things up a little with soldiers and rebels replaced with teams of heroes and villains from throughout the first six episodes of the Skywalker Saga.

There’s massive potential for comedy in this mode as Jedi Knights and Sith Lords execute enormous double jumps, lightsabers flail and clash, and Han Solo throws out quips like they’re destined for the Death Star’s trash compactor.

The sheer amount of permutations across every ground map means no two battles play out in the same way and each character’s unique abilities provide much-needed spice to proceedings.

Fly Me To The (Small) Moon

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection review space battle

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection doesn’t just feature ground warfare. That would betray the name of the series entirely.

While AT-ST walkers and Tauntauns have their place, one of the greatest thrills of Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection is piloting X-Wings, Tie Fighters, and more in exhilarating space battles.

The visual glow-up of this collection is perhaps most effective in the depths of space with enemy ships easily identifiable and much clearer to see than ever before. It’s a transformative experience in what was once a novelty game mode that can now be enjoyed as a frantic dogfight amongst the stars.

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection Tie Fighter

Space battles also provide a stark reminder of how technologically advanced these titles were at the time of their release.

Starting aboard a Star Destroyer, you can run to the hanger, climb into a Tie Fighter, zoom through space, and blow up an X-Wing or two before landing inside the Rebel cruiser, disembarking, and sabotaging their ship from the inside.

It’s simply mind-boggling that the PS2 could handle this action back in 2005 and it’s still, thankfully, a joyous experience all these years later.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection review Darth Vader takes the field

It’s not all multiplayer mayhem within Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection. The focus is obviously on the multiplayer modes but each title does provide some dedicated single-player action.

Star Wars: Battlefront’s solo offerings are admittedly barebones, however, with a series of Conquest maps organised to mimic the timeline of the movie franchise.

There’s only limited appeal to dredging through the historical campaigns of the Clone Wars or the Galactic Civil War and while progress does unlock bonus items, the repetitive nature of each ‘mission’ quickly becomes tedious.

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection single player gameplay

Thankfully, Star Wars: Battlefront II fares much better, with the Rise Of The Empire storyline. Narrated by Jango and Boba Fett actor, Temuera Morrison, this campaign follows the Empire’s rise to power and sees players undertaking varied missions as one of many clone troopers.

There’s added depth with mission objectives requiring you to defend key locations, destroy heavy artillery, and infiltrate enemy strongholds across a plethora of visually distinct and interesting maps.

It’s still rudimentary by the modern mission design standards but it’s good fun, and the authentic sound effects and Star Wars score delivers a captivating experience.

When 900 Years Old You Reach, Look As Good You Will Not

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection graphical updates

Seeing these wars waged is better than ever thanks to the generous lick of paint that Aspyr has applied here.

Contrary to the insightful words of Master Yoda, Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection looks very good indeed. The graphics are crisp and vibrant, with the muddy textures and Vaseline-smeared looks of the original games nowhere to be seen.

It’s still quintessentially a retro title though. The sixth-generation animations still hilariously cause soldiers to ragdoll away from thermal detonator blasts and everyone looks a little stiff like each Stormtrooper is really a droid in disguise.

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection jetpack trooper gameplay

In action these issues don’t matter though, with the framerate locked to a smooth-as-Vader’s-helmet 60fps making the repetitive runs back into battle following a respawn much better than their original outings.

That new coat of paint has only been applied to gameplay and menus, however, with the various tutorial videos still running in their lower resolutions and featuring prompts to connect a controller to controller ports that haven’t been a thing since the PS3-era.

For returning players with copious muscle memory, these will be nostalgic throwbacks punctuated by cries of ‘bless the maker, I can’t believe it looked like that’, but for new players, these outdated tutorials may hinder their introduction to the action.

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection features outdated tutorial videos.

The Birth Of The Rebel Alliance

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection review fight on Naboo

All the content from the original releases is present and correct within Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection, and that’s both good and bad.

There are plenty of maps here that will never provide a compelling argument for you to opt into them. Star Wars: Battlefront II improved on many aspects of its predecessor that even during the PS2 era made the first Star Wars: Battlefront feel a little redundant.

If you’re keen to seek out the most bang for your buck from Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection, then definitely start with the original game. First complete everything it has to offer and then fire up Star Wars: Battlefront II and never look back.

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection Droideka gameplay

Even a cursory probe of the sequel before experiencing the first title will reveal the shortcomings of the series’ debut, with modes, maps, and playable characters all being far superior (and more fun to play) in the revamped follow-up.

These games are so fundamentally similar to each other that I feel a single launcher with the best of both titles would have been a smarter way to present this revisit in 2024.

A New Hope

Battle of Endor online

Undoubtedly, the biggest addition though is the larger player count during online multiplayer. While the original games allowed for up to sixteen players to duke it out across the galaxy, Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection bumps that number up to a might sixty four.

It’s this new player cap that makes Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection truly shine. Taking part in battles from the Clone Wars to the Galactic Civil War and fighting alongside dozens of human-controlled players has the potential to be fantastic, chaotic, and compelling.

Fighting an AT-AT on Hoth

At the time of writing this review the Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection servers are live but unpopulated, so each game I’ve played featured AI-controlled teammates and bots. While it doesn’t give a true impression of how manic these fire fights will be when each Stormtrooper, Rebel Soldier, Battle Droid, or Clone Trooper is controlled by a human, the sense of scale has me very excited for what’s to come.

Facing down an AT-AT on Hoth with friends at your side will never feel old and will always elicit a huge grin response from yours truly.

A More Civilised Age

The Rancor appears beneath Jabba's throne

Unburdened by complexity and free of season passes and the microtransactions that plagued EA’s hugely successful yet controversial series reboot, Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection is the perfect pick-up-and-play shooter for 2024.

Firing up one of the games from the front-end launcher is swift and simple and drops you into a familiar, albeit spruced-up, main menu.

With a couple of clicks or button presses, you’ll be running around Bespin, blasting away Imperials like there’s no tomorrow, falling into the Rancor pit in Jabba’s Palace, or climbing aboard a X-Wing for an explosive space battle.

Fantasy fulfillment takes priority above all else and provides spectacles you could only dream of experiencing after seeing the movies.

Final Thoughts

Much like the tinkering of George Lucas when the first three Star Wars films returned to cinemas in 1997, Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection takes what worked from the original release and polishes it to near-perfection.

Visually, this remaster looks great in 2024 and provides the easiest way for nostalgic fans to hop back into these brilliant shooters, despite only the slightest of upgrades to the bones of these two decades-old shooters and some redundant content.

Time will tell whether Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection has the chops to draw big enough crowds to its 64-player online modes, but for me and this review, it’s still a force to be reckoned with.

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