With a trailer at Nintendo’s February Direct, Star Wars fans got an unexpected announcement that the Classic Battlefront games were making a return. Nearly two decades out, The original Battlefront (2004) and Battlefront II (2005) are some of the most fondly remembered Star Wars games of all time. The thought of re-experiencing them on modern platforms got fans hyped. Before launch, The Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection was advertised as the definitive way to experience these games. The bundle packages all previous platform exclusive maps, heroes, and modes regardless of what platform you play on today.

The main selling point of the Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection is the ability to recreate iconic Star Wars battles by playing online 64-player matches again. After controversy and a rough launch, did Aspyr deliver on their promises to create the definitive way to play these games? If they didn’t, is there still enough here to make this worth a buy?

A Robust Suite of Offline Modes

Battlefront 2 Singpleplayer Menu

Battlefront II offers an impressive variety of Singeplayer modes.

One of the things that made the original Battlefront games so iconic is the staying power they had due to their suite of offline modes. Since both games are bundled together here, there is a lot of this content. Both have campaigns, an Instant Action mode which allows you to simulate online matches with bots. Rounding out the modes is Galactic Conquest, which adds an element of turn-based strategy. As an added bonus, almost all of these modes can be played with a friend in Split Screen.

Campaign and Story

The Clone Wars and Galactic Civil War Campaigns in Battlefront are fairly standard. They let you play through the battles of the Prequels and Original Trilogy in chronological order with clips from the movies as bookends, but the gameplay is unoriginal. The best story content in the game by far is in Battlefront II’s Rise of the Empire Campaign. This follows the 501st Legion from the battle of Mygeeto all the way through Hoth. These are excellently narrated by Temura Morrison, who played the Clones and Boba Fett in various live-action Star Wars projects.. The various missions house some really unique gameplay scenarios that fans are going to love.

Some highlights from the movies are present—most notably Order 66—but the bulk of content fills in the gaps between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Playing as Stormtroopers crushing a Clone Rebellion on Kamino, or clearing out a Battle Droid Factory long after the Clone Wars has ended is so exciting and can provide some really memorable moments for Star Wars fans who love the lore. While this campaign is no longer canon, it is still a must play to see a vision of the Rise of the Empire before we got more concrete answers about the timeline from the various spinoffs on Disney+.

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Instant Action is Better than Ever

Star Wars Battlefront Classic Collection Space Battles

Epic Space Battles can be played against bots in Instant Action in Battlefront II.

Instant Action has always been a blast. It’s a great way to casually relive some classic Star Wars Battles, or swap eras to create new ones. This mode is better than ever in the Star Wars Battlefront Classic Collection. For the original Battlefront, there is the addition of the Jabba’s Palace Map, and in Battlefront II you get 4 Maps from its predecessor brought forward. Cloud City, Rhen Var Citadel, Rhen Var Harbor, and Yavin IV Arena are all welcome additions to the sequel.

There are also new heroes to play as; Kit Fisto and Asajj Ventress. There is plenty of opportunity to use them in the Hero Assault mode. Previously only available on Mos Eisley, you can now face-off every Hero and Villain in the game on every ground map in Battlefront II in a TDM style mode. The XL mode is my favorite new addition. While it was previously available on PC, every platform now has the option to dial up the bot spawns to 11 on Geonosis, Kashyyyk, and Hoth for a massive sense of scale on these iconic planets. There’s also some really fun novelty modes like Hunt, where you either play as or against the native species on various Star Wars planets.

Galactic Conquest

An Overhead view of the Star Wars Galaxy in Battlefront II‘s Galatic Conquest.

For most, Galactic Conquest in Battlefront II will probably be the standout mode. It allows you to fight to take over the galaxy as any of the games 4 Available Factions. Here, you move your capital ship around a board game-like screen, and then go into a ground or space battle when you encounter an enemy planet or capital ship respectively. 

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The Ground Battles play out like a standard instant action match, but space battles are an incredible experience. You start by choosing a Starfighter to take off from out of your ship’s hangar, and then you fly out in open space. You can get in thrilling dogfights, but the ultimate goal is to take out the main systems of an enemy’s Capitol Ship. This can be done by attacking them from the cockpit of a Starfighter, or landing in the enemy’s hangar and going deeper into their ship to attack critical systems from inside. Galactic Assault really great in Single Player against a CPU, but if you bring in a friend to control the opposing faction in Split Screen, this mode is still some of the best head-to-head local gaming out there.

Online Multiplayer

Star Wars Battlefront Classic Collection Hoth

Online Multiplayer lets you simulate the scale of the Battle of Hoth.

The return of Online Multiplayer was by far the most anticipated feature of this re-release. With the Star Wars Battlefront Classic Collection, fans can re-experience the classic Online Multiplayer of these games, but with varying results.  On launch night and the subsequent days, it was really difficult to get the game to work at all. On PC, there were not enough servers to accommodate everyone who was trying to play. It was certainly a hassle to join an online game for the first few days. If you did get lucky enough to find matches, they’d often be incredibly laggy or disband all together. Then, when you finally get in a good game, sometimes the option to continue into the next match would just be missing, so you’d have to go back to the menu and try to rejoin. The experience is thankfully far smoother now, and it is much easier to find and stay in good lobbies. However, I fear the damage may have already been done. There are significantly less players on now than there were on launch. This problem might only get worse in the future, especially since Aspyr did not include cross play, which separates the community. 

When I can get into a match, there is genuine fun to be had. Having 64 players in one map which portrays an iconic location from the Star Wars movies is such a blast, no pun intended. Even still, there are some issues with hit detection. A lot of this seems to be down to the fact that the game is just a port, so it still contains some really dated Netcode. At times, blaster bolts connect like you’d expect, especially with Shotguns or ARC Weapons. With standard blasters, it can feel frustrating when it looks like your shots are hitting their target but no damage is being dealt. To circumvent this, a lot of players have resorted to a really annoying Rocket and Grenade Spam META, which is funny at first but gets frustrating fast That being said, if the Netcode does get fixed and hit detection does get better, I think Star Wars fans will eventually find a lot to enjoy here. I can definitely see a small but loyal community developing, especially since Players are able to host their own lobbies. 

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Verdict

Star Wars Battlefront Classic Collection Main Menu

The Main Menu of the Star Wars Battlefront Classic Collection.

Seeing as how the original Star Wars Battlefront titles are considered masterpieces in their original forms, the Classic Collection should have been a slam dunk. In some places, it is. Visuals are definitely improved, most notably on maps like Coruscant – which actually feels like it takes place in a city now – and the Death Star, which gets a very shiny new coat of paint. The offline modes are all here, with more content than ever, and provide dozens of hours of gameplay. The lackluster launch of online multiplayer is really what drags this release down.

That being said, there is still a lot of fun to be had here and a potential for a great online community to be built with future patches. If you are an invested Star Wars fan, especially one with nostalgia for the Prequel Era, this game will make a fine addition to your collection. If you fall into that camp, I would strongly recommend you pick it up, especially if the price drops even lower than the already reasonable $35. 

Star Wars Batllefront Classic Collection is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

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