The Star Wars: Battlefront Beta has come to a close and there is a lot to talk about. I have been waiting for this game for ten years, so I was very excited going into it. Without wasting more of your time, let’s jump right in and break down every aspect of what I saw.
Right off the bat, this game looks absolutely gorgeous. The environments and textures are terrific and the visuals overall may be some of the most realistic I’ve seen in this generation. You can tell that the game was modeled after the original movie trilogy and it helps you feel immersed in the world of Star Wars. The character models, vehicles and weapons all look great and the animations are top-notch as well. There’s something about the blast of a laser and seeing it hit its target, with resulting sparks flying in all directions, that looks so authentically Star Wars. The particle effects in those specific instances, and in explosions and destruction, are a marvel to look at. One weapon in particular, the thermal imploder, has one of the coolest explosions I’ve ever seen in a video game. Darth Vader looks completely bad ass, as he should. There’s a perfect glimmer off of his iconic helmet – he looks sleek in his gear and cape, with precise movements that give off his evil power. That being said, and I don’t know if this is just me, Luke looked a little bit off. For some reason, his character model looked like it was a bit graphically less impressive as compared to everything else around him. Maybe I just didn’t get a good enough look, though, since I never got to play as him.
Back to the thermal imploder. Not only does it have an awesome explosion, but also it’s got one bad ass sound effect to pair with it. The sound design in this game is phenomenal. There is such authenticity to everything that is coming through the speakers while you play this game. If you’ve ever been a fan of Star Wars in any capacity, you will recognize the stomping of the AT-ATs, the buzz of a lightsaber, the roaring of an overhead Tie Fighter and the many other familiar sounds that have no doubt been ripped right from the source material (that’s a good thing). When combining all of these elements, audio and visual together, you get a mixture of lasers flying across the screen, Star fighter aerial combat, satisfying explosions and more, immersing you into what really feels like a Star Wars battle. So, nice job Dice and EA, it looks and sounds beautiful.
Going into this game, I was worried about how the game would feel and handle. Something about the first two Battlefront games just felt so right and I wasn’t getting the same vibe from watching the first released footage of this Battlefront. I can say that the gunplay and overall gameplay are admittedly much smoother than I had anticipated. It’s polished and clean, giving any experienced gamer exactly what they would want out of a shooter game. While the game looks good in first person, I spent the majority of my time pulled back in third person mode, because I much prefer to see my character and the surroundings, adding some extra awareness during battle. I’m glad they included the option to choose between perspectives, though. Many newcomers, or anyone more accustomed to FPS shooters, will most likely stay in first person mode and have a great time playing the game. I, however, and many who have played the previous Battlefront games, will employ our superior gaming knowledge and choose third person, destroying all noobs who choose otherwise. Thankfully, no matter your choice, the game plays well in both perspectives.
The available vehicles all handled differently. At first, I felt like I was on acid trying to control the Tie Fighters and other Star fighters, because the default controls are a bit wonky, but luckily I hopped into the options and changed my vehicle flight controls so that the sticks were swapped. Afterward, controlling them was a breeze for me and I got used to it quickly. The AT-ST was really fun to march around in and blast people with. The AT-AT was also fun to be in, but you can only control the head along with its multiple weapon options (the walking is on a set path, which makes sense for the game modes).
I only gained power of Darth Vader and not Luke Skywalker, but my time with the Sith Lord was very pleasing. I threw my lightsaber at oncoming Rebels and force choked any fool who came too close to me. Also, I glided around like a flying evil ballerina, so how could I have been disappointed?
The four available blasters all have slightly different feels and perks, so you need to switch between them and find which is the best fit for your playstyle. Also, they all sound really, really cool. I hope that there’s more than four in the final game. I’m assuming there will be, along with more things to unlock, but we won’t know until November 17th. The unlocks for each hand and trait card are welcome additions to the gameplay – I think it’s a nice dynamic that allows you to further customize how you fight in battle. I can have a grenade and a jetpack, with a sharpshooter trait, or I can have the cycler rifle (I fucking love the cycler rifle) and a jetpack, with an ion blast card. It’s all pretty cool and helps balance the playing field so that there’s a counter for every aspect that may seem extra powerful.
Speaking of balance, let’s get to the game modes.
Survival, Drop Zone and Walker assault are the only available game modes in the beta. In the full game, there will be several other game modes spanning across all available maps on the four starting planets. Given that I spent about eight hours mostly playing Walker Assault over and over again on Hoth, I’d say that I had a pretty good time somehow with the small amount given to me. Survival on Tattooine was the first thing I did and I did it splitscreen with my buddy. It was short and sweet and helped usher us into the game’s mechanics and whatnot. Really, it will be a much better mode in the full game with multiple maps and twenty waves of enemies, rather than just six like there were in the beta. Drop Zone on Sullust was fun, but I am much more keen to the larger than life battles, so I played the absolute shit out of Walker Assault on Hoth, like I said before. At times it seemed like the Imperials were drastically overpowered in Walker Assault, as they won most of the time and demolished the enemy with their walkers. But, there were actually several occurences when I was playing for a stretch of time wherein the Rebels had won multiple times in a row. Really, I think if you have a handful of players who know what they’re doing and head after the objectives, you can win as the Rebels. Also, I don’t remember the Rebels ever having it easy in the movies, so maybe it’s not a horrible thing that it sometimes feels unbalanced. I actually like switching back and forth. It’s fun to be the underdog and do everything you can to win in the face of incredible odds – it’s also fun to be the overpowered Imperials and wreck shit on Rebel scum. Anyways, I’m looking forward to seeing all of the game’s modes and more on different maps.
One thing that I’m really looking forward to is the Battles in the Missions section of the game. They weren’t available in the beta, but I’m pretty sure it’s just jumping into battles either solo, splitscreen or co-op online with a buddy. That’s all I really wanted from a new Battlefront, because it’s all I did in the old ones. Now that I approve of the gameplay and everything else, I’ll become a kid again as I battle alongside or against my friends either in the online multiplayer or in the Battles mode. Honestly, sometimes it’s more fun to just play with one friend along with a bunch of AI players, rather than going online all the time. At least, that’s how I feel, so it’s good they’re giving us the option.
In regards to the multiplayer, I liked the easy add-in for parties or partnering up with someone. It made it simple to play with friends. The partnering tool was nice too, giving you the ability to spawn on your partner during battle. I’m eager to see what’s in store for collectibles, unlocks and anything else that relates to progression in the game, because that was one of the elements that kept me going (apart from how fun it was). Let’s hope the game feels like it’s full of content and not too empty at launch.
I had very few issues with this beta. After playing for multiple hours, it did sort of feel like an empty plate, but it’s hard to expect a ton more from a short beta. I’ll be crossing my fingers for the full game to actually feel like a full game, rather than leaning on the future content that will be heading our way with the fifty dollar season pass (yes, fifty).
I noticed a few bugs, that’s it. Soldiers would die and either float or glitch out in a weird way momentarily, but I only saw this a small number of times. In another instance, saw an X-Wing crash into a snowy hillside beside me, which severely choked up the game’s framerate. There were other moments when explosions left behind floating debris or the debris would appear stuck to a certain part of the environment. Also, the ending screen after Walker Assault would often be a bit glitchy, still showing the HUD or one of the menus when it shouldn’t be.
Other than those minimal issues, I didn’t notice anything else, and none of it was jarring enough or frequent enough to take away from my enjoyment of the game.
I had a great time playing the Star Wars Battlefront Beta. I’m so glad I can say that, because my purchase of the game was dependent on my experience with the beta. Really, it’s just a relief to be able to enjoy a fun Star Wars game again where I can be part of a battle and fight alongside my friends. I’ve been an immensely huge Star Wars fan for my whole life, so maybe I’m a bit biased, but I will already be happy with what the game offers, even on a minimal level. I just wanted a polished, fun, authentic Star Wars experience that gives me the ability to jump into a battle and enjoy it with a buddy. That’s all I wanted and I think it’s what I’m getting. You can truly tell that the team behind this game wanted to deliver something that was true to the Star Wars universe and gave fans a really, really fun time living out their Star Wars fantasies. So yeah, I’m pretty happy. People will complain and find ways to bash on this game, and sure, maybe it will need some more content when it releases, but I’ll be having the time of my life flying around as Boba Fett or soaring the the skies in the Millenium Falcon as my best friend speaks into his mic wondering how I keep killing him.
Really, it’s simple: I just can’t wait to play Star Wars Battlefront again.
So, what did you guys think of the Beta? Do you think Star Wars Battlefront is as good as it should be, or is it missing something? Let’s start a discussion in the comments!
Author: Austin Adams @IamAustinAdams
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