It’s been 19 years since Star Wars Battlefront released on PS2, Xbox and PC, adapting the classic sci-fi series into a game of war grander than anything else on console at the time. Almost two decades later, Star Wars Battlefront is still played today, not only on private servers, but in single-player, too.
Developed by the now-dead Pandemic Studios (thanks, EA), Star Wars Battlefront was designed to bring massive online multiplayer matches to console players for the first time. Focusing on recreating the events of the movies, Battlefront recreated the luscious tundras of Hoth, the murky swamps of Dagobah and the sleek interiors of the Imperial Death Star with stunning realism the likes no fan had seen before.
19 years later, Star Wars: Battlefront doesn’t look anywhere near as impressive as it once did. In the shadow of its recent successor Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017), the original game looks almost archaic. But while new Battlefront can be fun now that its had its scummy microtransactions ripped out, original Battlefront is just still as fun, too.
Battlefront is a far deeper game than many give it credit for. While thousands of gamers likely only interacted with the game’s free play mode, Battlefront’s Galactic Conquest lets you explore the galaxy as either the heroic Republic/Rebels or the dastardly Trade Federation/Empire. Across the original trilogy and the Clone Wars prequel era, Battlefront’s single-player campaign is absolutely massive.
At its core, the original Battlefront is a lite-Battlefield, likely leading to DICE’s authorship over the series’ reboot in 2015. Huge maps filled with players capture points and complete contextual objective that result in points being either lost or gained depending on your performance. It may be simpler in its execution compared to classic, or even modern, Battlefield, but it’s accessible and enthralling.
In 2004, no Star Wars game came close to being as fun as Battlefront. Yes, Rogue Leader looked better and nicer vehicle controls, Jedi Academy had better gunplay, but Battlefront’s combination of everything was surprisingly competent. For once, throwing everything into one product wasn’t a huge disaster, it was a massive success.
For my money, Star Wars Battlefront II (2005) is still the better game overall. Nevertheless, that game doesn’t exist without the foundations constructed in the original. There would be no space battles in Battlefront II, no massively expanded Heroes and Villains. Star Wars Battlefront changed everything 19 years ago, and we still haven’t been able to fully recreate its charm.
Star Wars Battlefront was a celebration of George Lucas’ brilliant original trilogy, and its rough prequel follow-ups, in 2004. 19 years later, and we’re celebrating Battlefront with the same fervor and nostalgia-ridden love that original Star Wars fans were exuding almost two decades ago.
Nowadays, the original Star Wars Battlefront can still be played online on PC. Additionally, the game is available to play in single-player on Xbox One and Xbox Series via backward compatibility.