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Review: Star Wars Battlefront: Outer Rim

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A surprisingly good starting point

Outer Rim is a better beginning to the Star Wars Battlefront season pass than I thought it'd be.

The DLC adds Nien Nunb and Greedo as hero and villain characters, respectively; four smaller-scale maps spread across Tattooine and Sullust; a few weapons and Star Cards; and an escort-the-cart mode called Extraction. While the content might not sound great as bullet points, especially when you consider the vast lore DICE could theoretically pull from, I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.

I'm not sure how long it'll last, but I'm back into Battlefront.

Star Wars Battlefront: Outer Rim review

Star Wars Battlefront: Outer Rim (PC, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Xbox One)
Developer: DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released: March 22, 2016 (season pass) / April 5, 2016 (standalone purchase)
MSRP: $14.99 ($49.99 for four expansion packs)

Whether or not you dig Outer Rim will depend largely on your preference for map size. As exciting as the large-scale skirmishes can be when you're in the middle of the action and making noticeable progress with the objectives, I find them frustrating more often than satisfying. We're all so very killable out there on the sprawling battlefields. Especially me! Comparatively, in the modes with lower player-counts, I feel like I'm always on the cusp of changing the tide. That's part of why I'm so into the new maps.

There's Jabba's Palace and Palace Garage on Tattooine, and SoroSuub Refinery and SoroSuub Piplelines on the volcanic Sullust. It's somewhat disappointing that we're still stuck on the same planets found in the base game, but in terms of identity and layout, these four maps feel relatively distinct.

The palace is a small maze of tight corridors with pockets of open space, while the garage (complete with the iconic, albeit inactive, sail barge) allows a bit more breathing room and stretches outside into rocky terrain. Similarly, one of the Sullust maps takes place inside in a vast, fiery room housing monstrous machinery, while the other is set outdoors around wandering pipelines.

These 16-player maps are accessible in existing modes like Heroes vs. Villains, Blast, Cargo, and Droid Run, as well as Outer Rim's Extraction mode, which has become a new favorite of mine. One team activates a hovering shipment cart and tries to escort it along its predetermined path toward three checkpoints, as the other team attempts to shut it down and hold ground until the timer hits zero. The offensive team can occasionally enable a bubble shield around the shipment, and there are also sparsely-paced hero/villain spawns. Playing on either side, almost all of my matches were real nail-bitters that went until the last minute and, in some cases, the final few seconds. That's exactly the way I want it to go.

You probably know the bounty hunter Greedo because of the enduring "Han shot first" stuff, and you might recognize Nien Nunb by face but not necessarily by name. Either way, these two aren't top-of-mind as characters I'd like to see in Battlefront. That said, in practice, they're cool -- particularly Nien. He's a real tactical jerk who seems custom-built to shut down teams near objectives and is often hard to pin down. He has proximity mines (or the ability to call in air strikes on certain maps), can snipe from the shadows, and his already-strong turret grows stronger as he takes down enemy troops.

Although I didn't have as much sustained success with Greedo on account of everyone wanting to immediately shoot him in the face, he's super dangerous up close -- even more so once you find your groove. Scoring kills and hurting heroes builds up his "confidence" meter, which makes his grenades and multi-target lock-on increasingly potent. And he can scan to see enemies through walls.

I found Nien and Greedo compelling enough to revisit Heroes vs. Villains, a mode I liked initially but grew tired of shortly after Battlefront's launch. In the Outer Rim playlist, the mode supports eight characters, rather than the old standard of six, and it feels fresh again as a result. Matches play out in more interesting, varied ways, which has me eager to see the cast grow even larger. As part of a free update for all players, DICE has also reworked Hero Hunt to feel even-handed (no more last-shotting your way to an easy victory) and, among other additions, introduced Hutt Contracts.

It might sound silly, but these contracts played a big role in getting me reinvested in Battlefront, whether I was playing new or old content. You pay Jabba the Hutt a fee (usually a few thousand credits) to take on objectives that, upon completion, unlock weapons and Star Cards. A couple of them, the Dl-18 (fast pistol) and DLT-19X (sniper), are available to everyone, with more on the way.

Star Wars Battlefront: Outer Rim review

For DLC owners, there's the Relby-V10 (targeting rifle), the DT-12 (Greedo's pistol), the Adrenaline Stim (fast health regeneration), the Dioxis Grenade (poisonous gas), and the Scatter Gun (double-tap shotgun that breaks through shields). I still prefer my existing favorites like the DL-44 pistol and the T-21B rifle because I'm comfortable with their handling and am resistant to change, but there's a good assortment here and most players should be able to latch onto something new. The Scatter Gun, for instance, worked its way into my default loadout and is unlikely to ever leave. I adore that wicked thing.

The contracts have you doing things like scoring 10 kills with a certain weapon class in a round, or using a specific grenade or card 20 times. It's similar to the existing challenge system, but you can't outright pay to bypass them. For me, this was a terrific incentive to try out gear that I had ignored, but it also meant a lot of credit grinding up front to afford the Star Cards needed to complete some of the contracts. That'll be less of a hassle for dedicated players or folks who have spent their credits wisely.

As much as I'd prefer multiplayer communities to not be split up by paid DLC releases, I haven't had any issues getting into near-full matches on PlayStation 4. Granted, Outer Rim has only been out for a couple of weeks for season pass holders, so we'll see. It does give me hope that, by the time the other expansions are all out, Battlefront will finally feel like a great, well-rounded game.

Even though I generally dig Outer Rim, I think it's a fairly tough sell as a standalone add-on given the current pricing. If you're way into the game, specifically the smaller modes, it has some of the better content in all of Battlefront. But otherwise, I'd stick with the free updates for now and wait to see how the three other packs in the season pass play out before committing to the full bundle.

[This review is based on the final build of the DLC provided by the developer.]

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Star Wars Battlefront: Outer Rim reviewed by Jordan Devore

7

GOOD

Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
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Jordan Devore
Jordan DevoreCo-EIC   gamer profile

Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random. Disclosure: I backed Double Fine Adventure and Awesomenauts: Starstorm on Kickst... more + disclosures


 


 


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