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What it's like to play Star Wars Battlefront solo

Right now, I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself.

Star Wars Battlefront is a multiplayer game, of course - it's always been billed that way, and it's been very much designed to be played that way. There is solo content, though - and I'm not talking about the wise-cracking mercenary who makes a cameo appearance here as one of Battlefront's Heroes, complete with his infamous shoulder barge that we know and love from the movies - and it's where you'll likely spend your first moments with Battlefront. The problem is, it's not all that much fun.

Upon booting up Battlefront you're free to jump straight into multiplayer, but there are also five training missions that introduce you to the basics. There's a run on Beggar's Canyon in an X-Wing, a stampede through Sullust in an AT-ST and a rampage through Hoth with Darth Vader. They're shallow diversions only marginally improved by score targets for players to hit.

More impressive are Endor Chase, a speeder bike run through the forest planet, and Invasion, a chance to bring an AT-AT tumbling down in a T-47 snowspeeder. They're moments that have been captured in countless games before, of course, but they've never been delivered as beautifully as this - Battlefront's developer DICE's obsession with getting those all-important Star Wars assets right really pays off in the spectacle that's on offer.

It's still supremely shallow stuff, though, and you can't help but idly wonder what would be possible if DICE wrangled them into a more fully featured single-player game. Previous Battlefront games have managed that feat - going back to Battlefront 2 recently, whose servers were only relatively recently switched off, I was surprised how well its battlefields swarming with AI bots hold up without an internet connection.

So, EA's Battlefront does have some single-player diversions, but they're just not all that. You can take on the Survival missions - a horde mode, effectively - on your own too, but it's painfully dull if you do so. Thankfully, when you're playing with someone by your side - there's a decent split-screen offering here - this fares much better, especially if that someone's equally Star Wars obsessed and peppers the gunfights with dumb quotes - 'They're coming out the goddamn walls!' There's something delightfully old school about what DICE has gone for here, a feeling that's only bolstered when playing a little couch co-op.

And who knows - maybe bypassing a decent single-player mode's the thing to do. Given DICE's form with campaign modes, especially the risible Battlefield efforts, maybe we've all been spared.

We're currently playing through Star Wars Battlefront and will have full impressions on Monday, and we'll be publishing our full review towards the end of next week once we've played it on live, fully-stressed servers. Battlefront is out in the UK Thursday, 19th November on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

These impressions are based upon playing the game at an event in Stockholm. EA paid for travel and accommodation.

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