Star Wars: Battlefront (DICE) Digital Foundry

Face-Off: Star Wars Battlefront vs Return of the Jedi

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Star Wars Battlefront vs Return of the Jedi

Capture mashed up with movie footage shows us how far graphics have come.

There's something about the speeder bike chase segment in Return of the Jedi that proves utterly irresistible to game developers. It's got to be the sheer speed and exhilaration of the sequence, plus its heavy reliance on first-person viewpoints to frame the action. Along with the Death Star trench segment, it's one of the few movie experiences that should translate almost seamlessly into gameplay. The only problem is - as countless titles over the last 32 years have demonstrated - gaming technology just doesn't have the raw power available to bring that iconic battle into playable life. Until now, perhaps.

Star Wars Battlefront brings the forest moon of Endor to life beautifully - a combination of beautifully rich detail backed with one of the most accomplished real-time lighting models in the business. Then there's the motion blur - a key component in replicating the speeder bike experience - and here, once again, DICE's technology does an uncanny job in replicating the source material. Which led us to wonder: just how close does Battlefront get to immersing you into a completely authentic Star Wars experience? Could we shift seamlessly between gameplay and movie footage?

We began our tests by splicing some Return of the Jedi footage with PlayStation 4 capture, and came away fairly impressed by the end result - but we knew that the Frostbite 3 engine had more to offer when paired with more formidable hardware. From there, we brought out the big guns to ensure the maximum possible visual quality from the game while reducing aliasing to an absolute minimum - we overclocked Nvidia's Titan X (the most powerful single-chip GPU on the market) and combined it with Intel's Core i7 6700K.

Read more

Face-Off: Star Wars: Battlefront

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Star Wars: Battlefront

Fully armed and operational - on all platforms.

When you look back at the launch of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, one of the key titles holding the most promise was DICE's Battlefield 4. While resolutions fell under 1080p, the fact that we had a high-end PC game targeting 60fps on both platforms at launch showed real promise. Unfortunately, between connectivity issues and an unstable frame-rate in the game's larger multiplayer modes, the game's reputation took a hit when the dust settled. Now the task of rebuilding confidence in its products begins proper.

Over the past couple of years, its internal teams have been busy preparing two new titles, set for release within the next six months: Mirror's Edge Catalyst and of course, Star Wars: Battlefront. It's the year of Star Wars so it should be no surprise that hype around this title has been immense - but many reviewers have found the game lacking in content and depth next to Battlefield. While it's true that the game feels somewhat 'barebones', this focused design comes with some benefits. Primarily, reigning in ambitions has allowed DICE to create a beautifully polished experience from top to bottom.

Star Wars: Battlefront is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the PC and manages to push each platform to new heights in many technological disciplines, with some truly remarkable visuals. Using the latest iteration of Frostbite, we see a perfect mix of performance and visual quality throughout the experience. It's a game customised to run as smoothly as possible on consoles while delivering beautiful results.

Read more