Star Wars: Battlefront, developed by DICE and published by Electronic Arts, is one of the most highly anticipated games for this upcoming holiday season. This past week, EA hosted a public beta which allowed everyone to preview the game for themselves and we here at Gamer Professionals had the chance to try the game out for ourselves as well.
Star Wars: Battlefront has a gritty look to it that stays true to the films
Star Wars: Battlefront is a re-boot of the series developed by Pandemic Studios and published by LucasArts in the early-to-mid 2000s. The first thing that instantly jumps out at you when you start a match in the beta is how good the game looks. Graphically, it is superb, and the terrain of each map looks gorgeous. The game has a very gritty look to it and is incredibly realistic, which is a theme that is consistent throughout the entire beta. The physics of the game, from jumping to shooting, and even certain tactics that can be used to your advantage, such as flanking the enemy, have a level of realism that just aren’t present in current games. You can play the game from two perspectives: first person or third person. While the game’s default is first person, we found that the game was much more enjoyable when playing it in third person, which was the default for the original games. While you can aim while firing at enemies, one thing we found interesting is that this does not improve your accuracy, which gives the game a very old-school vibe.
On the multiplayer front, there are two game modes that were playable in the beta: Drop Zone and Walker Assault. In Drop Zone, the Rebels and Imperials must fight on the planet of Sullust to secure escape pods which are falling to the planet’s surface. The first team to capture five escape pods wins the match. The Sullust map has a very intricate design, as there are a lot of cliffs and ledges and the terrain is very gritty. There are even Star Destroyers and X-Wings alike in the sky, fighting an epic battle which you aren’t even apart of. Capturing the escape pods requires each team to first secure the pod and then protect it for a designated period of time to finally capture it and earn a point. As soon as a pod is captured, another pod comes down from the sky and each team must hurry towards it in order to secure it once again. Because of the hills and cliffs, it can be very hard to spot enemies and it is very easy to be taken out by the opposing team. One of the complaints that we had about this game mode is that if you die, you usually spawn aways away from the escape pod, so you must hurry in order to protect it or take it back for your team, which keeps you at a huge disadvantage. While it may be a bit repetitive, the game mode is a lot of fun and a great way to level up your character in order to earn Star Cards, which which you can use to equip gear such as thermal detonators, jet packs, or different weapons.
Walker Assault is the second multiplayer game mode playable in the Battlefront beta, and is massive with 40 players either trying to protect the Rebel Base or destroy it. The Rebel Alliance must activate uplinks in order for Y-Wings to bomb Imperial AT-ATs so that they can be damaged, while the Imperials must deactivate these uplinks until their walkers reach the Rebel Base, which will in turn be swiftly destroyed. While the game mode is a lot of fun, 40 players in one mode is a bit overwhelming. There are 20 players per team, and it would be incredibly difficult to gather 20 players for one team in order to have a team full of friends. The downside to this mode, which was a bug many had reported, was that there would be times where we would spawn killed, or simply walk out after spawning and be killed in a matter of seconds. The entire game mode, while fun, is very chaotic. Another problem is that the mode is not balanced. There was maybe one or two matches where the Rebels won, and it seems like Walker Assault is made for the Empire to be victorious, like in the films. You can pick up rewards that are scattered around the map, but these rewards aren’t based on merit at all, including playing as Heroes. While in previous Battlefront games playing as Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader was a reward, now all you have to do is pick up the right reward on the battlefield, which doesn’t make it much of a reward. You can also pilot vehicles, such as X-Wings and Tie Fighters, but the controls are somewhat clumsy and it was much more enjoyable to simply play as a soldier. Walker Assault is a lot of fun, but needs some tweaking before the final game is released.
The final game mode that was available in the Star Wars beta was Survival Mode on Tatooine. It was only single player mode available in the beta and it consisted of fending off five waves of enemies, including securing escape pods and single handedly taking out Imperial AT-STs. While fun, the mode was not the highlight of the beta and showed that the game simply isn’t built around a single player experience. It felt like a re-hash of the multiplayer mode Drop Zone, only with waves of enemies to fight off, and while enjoyable, didn’t have the “wow” factor the other modes did.
The Star Wars: Battlefront beta was a lot of fun and the game has a great deal of promise. It has the old-school feel of the original games yet is modernized for a current audience, which blends the best of both worlds. There was a lot which wasn’t playable in the beta and while Walker Assault may need some tweaking before the game’s final release, this is shaping up to be one of our most anticipated titles for the 2015 holiday season. If you pre-order the game, you will even have access to the Battle of Jakku one week early, which sets the stage for the upcoming film The Force Awakens which releases this December.