For all the canonical events of the Star Wars universe, whether it is those moments of the utmost scale or the tiniest shifts of power between the Light Side and the Dark, all are easy to take in, be it through the movies, the TV series’ or the recent Marvel comics. With the seventh iteration of the movie series now out, all eyes are on Jakku, a corner of canon yet to be explored in any depth. The Battle of Jakku, an all important clash between Imperials and Rebels following the destruction of the second Death Star, is an extremely illusive historical event to find anything on (as of writing), and it’s first excursion into popular media comes in the form of DLC for the multiplayer Star Wars endeavour, Battlefront.
The Battle of Jakku is clearly a hugely important piece of the galactic puzzle and has had permutations for generations after it’s conclusion. With that in mind, the DLC update brings with it two new maps, one expansive and open warzone littered with Starfighters and Imperial Star Destroyers, the other a narrow canyon surrounded by caves and abandoned AT-ATs.
The cream of the crop is the all new high-intensity 40-man game mode, the third of the same scale in Battlefront, that pitches 20 Imperials against 20 Rebels across a vast and beautiful sun-scorched Jakku landscape. Turning Point, as the name suggests, is the turning point in the epic battle and involves the team controlling the Rebels to reclaim control points across the map while the Imperials must defend them. If a capture point is claimed, the map then expands, revealing more capture points as the Rebels are given more time, resulting in a climatic showdown in the final capture point. Failing to capture any points during the first phase will result in victory for the Empire, while securing all three points will spell victory for the Rebel Alliance and the turning point of the Battle - hence Turning Point.
It’s not too dissimilar to the 40-man carnage that is Supremacy, Battlefront’s other control point based game mode, but it is more enjoyable and brings with it a sense of purpose - you really are fighting for something, not mindlessly killing your opponent with no motive. Turning Point is epic from start to finish, with action not just in the hands of the players. From the moment you take control, you are plunged into a warzone; AI orbital strikes pulverize the sand, Star Destroyers plummet to terra firma below and starfighters fill the sky with blaster fire and shrapnel. Out of all the modes and maps available on Battlefront’s launch, it is Jakku that somehow feels the most authentic and part of a galactic struggle then any of the others combined. Endor has it’s jungle charm, Hoth has it’s frozen beauty and Tatooine is coated in the light of two suns; but it is Jakku - and turning point in particular - that really puts the war into Star Wars.
Like both Walker Assault and Supremacy, unless you are some form of supreme Jedi commander, you’ll find yourself dying a lot. At times you’ll find yourself experience the groundhog day repetition of dying, running into battle, dying, and running into battle again. Experience on these larger, more open maps is key to your success, as well as being able to locate the best power-ups and take to the skies for an aerial advantage, helping the troops on the ground. As Jakku is a graveyard of warfare, every nook and cranny is available to be exploited, do you snipe from distance, set traps or hide and wait for it all to pass? (hopefully not the latter).
The Jakku DLC offers a mixed bag for Battlefront. The planet itself is a hugely impressive chunk of the war torn galaxy, an atmospheric glimpse at a clearly important canonical event and a map that is the most vibrant and living of the maps available. The new game mode, despite it’s drama and aesthetic doesn't feel like anything entirely new, repeating the age old objectives of “run over there, claim that and kill that guy”. There’s not room for much to complain about though, as Jakku is free DLC available to all Battlefront players right now, and it will be interesting to see which direction DICE take as they start shipping out expansion packs.