The Star Wars Battlefront reboot might not have the proper singleplayer campaign everyone wants. And it definitely doesn't have the superb Galactic Conquest mode. But as of this week, it does have one thing that makes it better: bots.
A patch released in the last 24 hours has added the one thing that could encourage people, particularly friends and couples, to pick up the game: bots. It's called Skirmish, and two modes are available from the main menu: Walker Assault and the air-based Fighter Squadron.
Fun part for those on console: you can play bots with, or against, each other in split-screen. That's probably the audience who will get the most out of the new mode. It gives friends and partners a reason to fire up Battlefront for, say, an hour or two every now and again.
I can imagine it being especially handy over a night of drinks when the Death Star expansion finally launches. I know my old mate from high school would be keen for some beers and nights reliving the Death Star battle. It's certainly more efficient than going through the nightmare that is trying to get networked X-Wing vs TIE Fighter games on Windows 10 over the internet.
There's online co-op vs bots for all platforms too. You might need it if you're on PC in Australia; the game only has a few thousand fans playing on PC around the world, with a peak of just over 5,000 in the last 24 hours.
But most people understood Battlefront was going to shake out that way after the beta. As for the bots themselves, while they don't move around with the profiency of real humans they — at least on the highest difficulty — give the objectives a good crack. You can't run off to one side of the map and pretend everything will stay defended, although anyone that's halfway competent shouldn't have any issue turning the AI into mincemeat.
Godlike bots, these Stormtroopers are not.
If you're just mucking about with a friend, however, it can be good mindless fun. The update is live now for users on all platforms, and it comes with a string of fixes and balance tweaks (like the part where players now die automatically from Lando's Shocking Trap, which is fun).
Update: While it could be argued that Battlefront technically had bots before, it was limited to the wave-based missions mode and the restricted levels with which those took place on. That's not the same as being able to play vs AI in the same modes and maps as you could in multiplayer, which is an important difference. Just thought I'd add that clarification in.