If the mission was to create a fast, fun, fan’s dream of a Star Wars game it has been accomplished with the arrival of Battlefront.

Wonderfully wild action in wonderfully authentic settings – developer Dice’s work has put the glow in this particular fan’s lightsaber, as it looked likely to do after the impressive beta last month that gave me and 9.5m players a taste of what to expect.

You might never want to be told the odds but you probably do want to know about the full game so here goes …

News Shopper: Star Wars Battlefront

What’s it all about?

For the first product of a long-term partnership with Disney, Electronic Arts has revived the Battlefront series of shooters last seen on consoles 10 years ago.

Being created by Dice of BattleFIELD fame, along with how technology has advanced since 2005 and to a large extent tastes have changed, the new Battlefront was never likely to feature a strong single-player focus with a story-driven campaign.

And so it's proved, with the 2015 reboot being a mostly multiplayer, mostly online shooter.

Fierce battles for between eight and 40 players fighting as either rebels or the Empire take place on four planets - the sandy Tatooine, the forests of Endor, snowy Hoth and the volcanic Sullust.

There are nine modes that include variations on well-known formats such as team deathmatch, capture the flag, king of the hill and conquest.

The showcase mode is Walker Assault, an epic 20v20 rush-and-repel clash that utilises ground troops, land vehicles and air attacks.News Shopper: Star Wars Battlefront

When on foot, either in first or third-person, players are armed with one of 11 boasters, a melee attack and a loadout of up to three extra bits of gears such as explosives or a shield that are unlocked though ranking up and spending credits that have been awarded. During battles one-time power-ups become available providing teams with extra firepower such as bombs and turrets.

Even though it comes just weeks ahead of the new movie, this game isn’t a direct tie-in with The Force Awakens and shares little with JJ Abrams’ blockbuster other than timing.

Expect that to change in upcoming expansions and inevitable sequels, but for now Battlefront is firmly rooted in the original 70s and 80s film trilogy. This includes six iconic heroes and villains – Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Emperor Palpatine – being playable in the game, and there are a few modes that put them and their specific abilities at the forefront of the action. A few non-playable characters such as R2-D2 and C-3PO also pop up (there's no Chewbacca in the game – is this is a hint to what happens in the new movie or more a hint to what might be in DLC?) .

While there is no solo story or campaign, there are still ways to play Battlefront single-player.

There are five mainly vehicle-based tutorials that teach the basics and reduce the chances of you looking like an idiot when you jump into multiplayer modes. Most of these are only worth playing once, although the speeder bike chase across Endor is thrilling enough to be worth repeating.

Computer-controlled bots take all the non-human roles during team battles in which the objective is to shoot enemy fighters and grab tokens left behind. You can play these on your own or with a friend via online versus or local split-screen.

There is also a survival mode in which, either solo or co-operatively with a mate, the aim is to fight off waves of attackers including Stormtroopers, AT-STs and TIE fighters.

News Shopper: Star Wars Battlefront

What’s good about it?

The biggest achievement of Battlefront, the one selling point that overshadows everything else, is fantasy fulfilment.

It feels like genuine love for the source material has gone into creating the game, which has resulted in hugely impressive attention to detail and authenticity in the environments, vehicles and characters. This extends to the music and sound effects, save for some weak voice acting.

Such faithful work brings with it a great sense of immersion that makes players feel they are actually in the Star Wars universe. If you remember the classic movies fondly and have ever imagined taking a blaster to a horde of Stormtroopers or piloting the Millennium Falcon or wielding Darth Vader’s lightsabre, you’re in for a rush of nostalgia and excitement. The same applies if you had all the toys and used to pretend you were recreating the films – only Battlefront won’t scowl at you for taking its toys out of their packaging.

The look and feel are helped by easily the best graphics a Star Wars game has ever had and some of the best that any game on current-gen consoles has been blessed with.

News Shopper: Star Wars Battlefront

As well as providing an incredible audio and visual treat for anyone with even a little bit of affection for the Star Wars saga, Battlefront delivers great entertainment.

With up to 40 people involved at any time, holding a cohesive strategy together is rare, meaning many a battle descends into a free-for-all firefight as players charge around like excited children trying to take control of the plum vehicles and characters while racing to top the leaderboard. Team objectives often feel secondary to the core run-and-blast gameplay. It’s chaotic for sure, but also intense and a lot of fun given the spectacle of the Star Wars theme.

When you’re not embroiled in large-scale online battles, the game offers a surprisingly satisfying couchplay experience. Even though most of the fighters are AI, there are great moments that pop up unexpectedly during battles and also a feeling of high-five-worthy euphoria from completing one of the survival missions.

What's not to like?

Battlefront is aimed at Star Wars fans rather than shooter seasoned pros. It's got an almost casual, arcade vibe compared to the much more hardcore Call of Duty and Battlefield.

It's designed to be accessible and welcoming, not overwhelming like many multiplayer shooters can be to wookiees, sorry, I mean rookies, not accustomed to their demands and complexities.

Systems have been streamlined and simplified, such as the loadouts of three items that are chosen from a maximum pool of 24.

Battlefront is about getting people into the action as quickly and easily as possible, and then keeping things as uncomplicated as possible.

Many players will see all this as positive whereas others seeking something deep and tactical will find this game too shallow for their taste.

News Shopper: Star Wars Battlefront

While the game is less punishing than other shooters in some ways (everything runs really smoothly with intuitive and responsive controls, by the way), it still takes skill to succeed.

If you're not good in shooting games you're going to get killed a lot. If this is likely to frustrate you or you don't have the patience to try and get better, your enjoyment of this game is going to be limited.

One area where the game doesn’t help novices is in the matchmaking. As a bit of an a amateur myself, I consider five to 10 kills in a battle to be a great result but I regularly see people getting 25 to 30. The game could do a better job of separating people who are clearly on a higher level to avoid learners from becoming disheartened.

My main concern with Battlefront is with its longevity. At the moment there are enough modes and maps to keep players going for a while but eventually the novelty and thrill of being in the Star Wars universe will start to wear off, quicker for some players than others – when this happens the game may start to become quite samey and its barebones structure may start to grate. Motivation to keep returning could then become an issue.

EA is addressing this with extra content, including one free hit coming as soon as next month. After that future expansions will come in a £40 season pass.

This will add greatly to the long-term appeal but it will increase the total cost of having what will be a more complete product to a rather exorbitant £85.

The verdict

Battlefront is a great example of how very familiar source material, in this case a beloved film trilogy, can be turned into something fresh and exciting.

There’s a question mark over whether the game, in its current form at least, will still hold the same attraction in three or six months’ time but right now it’s an impressively accessible and immersive shooter that is incredibly good fun to play.

Battlefront isn’t about playing a video game, it’s about being in Star Wars. And if that awakens the Force in you, grab your blaster and prepare to be transported to a galaxy far, far away.

(I know, bit cringey at the end there, right?)

8.5 out of 10

Out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC – PS4 version played