How could a powerful military force like the Empire lose to a scruffy band of rebel scum and a handful of teddy bears? I’m thinking it has something to do with the Imperial dress code.

While I’ve only been playing the release version of Star Wars: Battlefront since yesterday, I’ve played enough to dread the forest moon of Endor. Any round played on the planet of Ewoks reverberates with the sound of exploding grenades and flashes with seemingly random gunfire, that’s the Empire’s shiny white Stormtroopers, tromping through the forest, deperately trying to fight an enemy they can’t see.

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Grenades arc vaguely in the direction the mini-map paints red, indicating the presence of the enemy. Troopers aim volleys of laser fire at the origin of the red blasts coming towards them, hoping to score a hit.

“Here comes the Empire!” the Rebels shout. “Don’t shoot until you see the white of...okay, shoot. Shoot a lot.”

Meanwhile, hiding in the trees and killing all of us, we’ve got people dressed like this:

Coupled with the lighting choices for the level, that equates to this:

Those bolts, coming out of seemingly nowhere with unerring accuracy, took my poor Stormtrooper’s life. Somewhere back there is a Rebel. Probably. I don’t know.

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These trees are filled with Rebels.

Players on the good side of the good vs. evil battle here have gotten pretty good at using the forest moon’s flora to their advantage. In the short clip below I was reveling in a fresh kill (I got a headshot while aiming at the source of some blaster fire) when my quarry’s vindicator pops out of the woods like a Predator.

There are bastions of hope on Endor for the Imperial forces. Actual bastions, bases where the forest gives way to cold metal corridors and piles of random supplies.

Filled with Stormtroopers huddling together for safety, these are excellent places for Rebels to toss grenades. The Rebels are very aware of this.

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This was never a problem in older games that took place on the forest moon, which is a testament to the graphical prowess of today’s high-end computers and video game consoles. Virtual Endor was once just brown and green polygons with a smattering of trees. Now it’s a lush place, filled with foliage, falling trees and an endless swarm of Rebels.

So when I roll up on Endor and wind up on the Imperial side of the conflict, I can’t help but feel anxious. It’s like the very forest is rising up against us, attempting to drive us from these sacred lands. And we don’t even have to deal with tiny bear people. What a nightmare this place must have been for the Empire in Return of the Jedi. You can’t kill what you can’t see.

Hoth, on the other hand, is just dandy.

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