The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

The Force Awakens picks up 30 years after the Return of the Jedi and without giving away too much, it’s about an awakening in the force. Probably the most hyped and anticipated movie in movie history, does it live up to fans’ expectations?

The film is a real treat, in terms of entertainment value for fans and new viewers alike. With non-stop action, suspenseful confrontations and stunning sound and visual effects, the star wars universe has never looked more real.

There are 4 new main Characters introduced and they are awesome, portrayed by John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver. They all did a great job as actors but the awesomeness of their characters shouldn’t be underestimated. Moreover the first glance that we get of the old gang and especially Han Solo, is perfect, for a moment it feels like the force is flowing through you. Nonetheless the focal point is not on the old characters any more, the focus is on the newcomers and rightly so.

The only major downside of the film, is the plot and considering Lawrence Kasdan (co-wrote Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi) was involved, I had far greater expectations. It doesn’t develop as fast as we are used to and at times it felt like we were going around in circles. The only real development that is achieved story wise, happens through the evolution of the characters, which is also the movie’s strongest suit.

John Williams’s music is always on point, including some of the classic tunes but also merging old and new to create that captivating aura that he always does. However one thing that his music score doesn’t provide, is that standout tune that Duel of the Fates was to the Phantom Menace or Imperial March was to The Empire Strikes Back.

J.J. Abrams who did such a great job with the Star Trek reboot, took an even greater challenge with this long awaited Star Wars sequel. The Force Awakens doesn’t re-imagine the Star Wars universe like Star Trek (2009) did; it tries to stay close to the original trilogy and it definitely achieves the same feeling.  However the story doesn’t offer something we haven’t seen before and is played a bit too safe.

Amazing to watch a new Star Wars movie but is it a masterpiece? Not by any stretch, nevertheless it’s a good solid film and a good way to start a new exciting trilogy set in our favourite universe.

Overall: 7.5/10

Entertainment Value: 9.0/10

P.S. It seemed that with a 7.5/10 I was selling the movie short, so I added the Entertainment Value to give a clearer picture.

Star Wars Battlefront Alpha Review

Anyone that has played either Battlefront 1 or 2, has been anticipating this game for a long time. Considered to be amongst the best Star Wars game ever released anything below great for this new reboot will be a disappointment.

As soon as I got accepted for the closed alpha testing I was pumped and ready to go.  The only available modes to play in the alpha build, were for multiplayer, the Walker Assault on Hoth and for the missions, a survival one on Tatooine.  For the multiplayer, the lobby was very responsive and quick to get you in a new or an already ongoing game, in a 20v20 battle.  Very good connection was established at all times and there were minimal bugs, if any.  In this mode, the empire, which is in control of the Walkers is supposed to protect their AT-ATs until they reach and crush the rebel base.  On the other hand the rebels are trying to stop the assault by destroying the AT-ATs.  The main focus of the game are 3 sets of uplinks which the Rebels try to activate and the Imperials try to deactivate, the more they remain activated, the more time is granted to the Rebels in order to bombard the two AT-ATs until they are destroyed, if that is not achieved by the third and final set of uplinks the Empire comes out victorious.

The survival mission on Tatooine is very simple, and probably just a small taste of what the missions are really about.  There are 6 waves (at present, they have said there will be 15) of Stormtroopers and on occasions some AT-STs and as a Rebel awaiting rescue, you need to battle your way through them, either on your own or with a friend (there is no split screen).

All these are subject to changes though, including the weaponry choices which are quite limited as well as the primary attributes.  The only thing that is more concrete and will probably remain the same or similar to what is already in place is the gameplay.  Reminiscent of Battlefront 2 in many ways, using your blaster to shoot the enemy down seems to be more fun than ever, either playing in first or third person, zooming in or out, there is no real benefit by doing one or the other.  Zooming in doesn’t help your accuracy, just the field of view.  It is also possible to jump in the AT-AT or even an AT-ST (although easy to break) and they are a real boost in the attempt to hustle the Rebels, and probably required if their base is to be reached and destroyed-also easier to get more kills for your Imperial CV in your quest to top the leaderboard charts.

The spaceship dogfights, were the one thing I heard wasn’t enjoyable.  However after a few hours of doing everything else, I found myself jumping in an X-Wing with every chance I got.  It’s so much fun to shoot down other spaceships or even inflicting more damage to the AT-ATs in order to stop the empire from reaching their goal.  The map size restrictions were quite limiting but weren’t that big of a deal, especially when the enemy was on my 6 and I was trying to avoid their missiles that were coming my way.

Having played for the best part of 3 days, I am now confident to say that the team at DICE understand what they need to do to please the fans and at least as far as gameplay is concerned they have achieved what was expected of them and more.  All that remains to be seen is whether the depth in customizations, maps and modes that are available at launch will be of the same success as the way the game is played.

Is there anyone not excited about this game? Doubtful.

Gameplay: 9/10                                                                                                                                     Graphics: 9/10