Star Wars’ Classic Battlefront Relaunch Is Off to a Rocky Start

Star Wars’ Classic Battlefront Relaunch Is Off to a Rocky Start

The original Star Wars: Battlefront games are some of the most iconic games set in the galaxy far, far away. There’s a reason developers have tried to go back to the well of the large-scale shooter series in years since, and a reason fans were incredibly excited when it was announced a newly updated and tweaked re-release of both games was on the way. But unfortunately, its launch is a surprise to be sure: a most unwelcome one.

The Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection dropped last night across PC and console platforms and fans almost immediately discovered that the $35 bundle of the two games left them running as erratically a destroyer droid on grease. On PC alone, thousands of players tried to hop into online multiplayer across both games—one of the selling points of the new collection, providing dedicated servers instead of funneling players back to the erratic online availability of original 2004/2005 releases, for which official server support ended a decade ago—only to find it nearly impossible, between just a handful of available servers from Classic Collection developer Aspyr and repeated disconnect errors. More servers came online as the night continued to account for the demand, but that also didn’t change a litany of other errors online players have found, like Battlefront II having consistent frame rate issues—running at roughly half the frame rate of its predecessor—and server lag, among other general crash issues. As of writing, the Steam release of Battlefront Classic Collection is at just shy of 2,000 user reviews, just 20% of them are positive.

Image for article titled Star Wars' Classic Battlefront Relaunch Is Off to a Rocky Start

Image: Aspyr

Thankfully, things are much smoother on the offline side of things—perhaps the way the majority of people who fell in love with the Battlefront games 20 years ago were experiencing the game as when they first played, especially on consoles. Battlefront II’s campaign, following the 501st from the final days of the Clone War throughout the rise and fall of the Galactic Empire, is still as fun as it was all those years ago, and doesn’t suffer from the random performance issues found in the sequel’s online play. While some players online have commented on bugs where cutscenes were missing—something I didn’t experience in the handful of hours I spent playing Battlefront II’s story campaign while waiting for multiplayer servers to stabilize—on the whole offline content seems to be largely fine as it is, outside of a few peculiar quibbles like missing options for vehicle controls in Battlefront that are available in its successor. Between that, the expansion to include elements like Battlefront II’s extra maps and DLC characters—officially available outside of Xbox consoles for the first time, alongside the superized “XL” game mode allowing for matches with twice the AI bots, originally exclusive to PC—as well as fun tweaks to play the Heroes vs. Villains mode across every map in the sequel, means if you want to re-experience the nostalgia of these games, doing so without other people is currently the best way to do so.

And that nostalgia really is worth it in the moment. The Battlefront games captured the on-the-ground carnage of Star Wars conflicts unlike almost any other game set in the franchise, and that still hits roaming the halls of the Jedi Temple dodging sniper fire on the stairs up to the council rooms as much as it does being shoved into the meat grinder of Bespin’s bridgeways. Classic Collection captures your memory of the original games as you imagined them, cleaning up the graphics while not fully overhauling them so they simply just feel like you imagined the originals feeling on their much-less-technologically-advanced predecessor platforms. But that’s something you could’ve done, on PC at least, by buying the original Battlefront ports for a fraction of the $35 asking price for Classic Collection (and they’re frequently on sale for even less!).

Image for article titled Star Wars' Classic Battlefront Relaunch Is Off to a Rocky Start

Image: Aspyr

It’s great that two icons of Star Wars gaming history are now more accessible than ever on consoles, and hopefully in time Aspyr will be able to fix errors and stabilize demand for the game’s online content so that fans can experience the chaotic joy that made Battlefront a legend in the first place with each other instead of just AI bots. But for now, this is a bittersweet revisit to a legendary set of games—feeling a little more like a wrist-rocket to the face than they should.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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