As for most people of my generation, the original Star Wars trilogy played a significant role in my childhood, therefore when I discovered that Star Wars: Battlefront was set to receive an open beta I had to play it.
First, let me say that while I grew up watching and loving the original Star Wars trilogy, I haven’t kept up with the fandom around the iconic franchise, so this review is without a ton of fangirl bias. However, while I was honestly sceptical of Star Wars: Battlefront, I was equally surprised at how much fun I actually had whilst playing the game.
Initially, my expectations around Star Wars: Battlefront were low, as I maintained the opinion that DICE’s Battlefront would simply be a reskinned version of Battlefield. I was wrong. While the movements of the characters bore some similarity to Battlefield, the resemblances ended here. Star Wars: Battlefront feels like DICE have created something fresh, fun, and completely separate from their Battlefield franchise.
The Battlefront Beta limited players to two maps for multiplayer and one for survival, but all three were visually stunning and consisted of well thought out worlds. As recently discussed in their blog posts, DICE went through great effort to create realistic maps of the iconic Star Wars planets and their work really shows in Battlefront.
- Hoth is a beautiful planet which gives us a taste of large scale battles with the Walker Assault mode. In Walker Assault players must attack or defend the massive AT-ATs in 20 versus 20 matches, complete with ground vehicles and air support.
- Drop Zone on Sullest provides a simple 8 vs 8 match to capture and hold pods without all the chaos of ground or air support.
- Survival mode on Tatooine could be played solo or with a co-op buddy, as players fight off waves of Imperial troops. This was pretty straight forward and simple, but we only got a tease of one map.
However, Battlefront is not just a pretty face, the beta played extremely well, with little issues. You could pick first or third person views, allowing users to customise how they viewed their character. Further character customisation was visible in game, however the option was unavailable to access during the beta.
The weapons were fun to use and the “Star Cards” presented users with additional perks that could be unlocked and purchased with in-game points. Personally, the Star Card I had the most enjoyment with was that of the jet pack – unlocked at the beta’s max level of 5. The added equipment offered one helpful boost per use, but required a cooldown after. So don’t worry, Star Wars: Battlefront won’t become a game of constant Exo Suit abilities or Destiny-esque boosting.
However, the really fun toys could be found as in-game power-ups scattered across the map, so it wasn’t too difficult to get a turn inside an AT-AT or piloting a TIE Fighter. The chances of obtaining a “hero pickup” to play as either Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader were also fairly distributed.
All of this sounds great, right? Well, I only had two complaints while playing the Star Wars: Battlefront beta, but they are pretty big factors in the game.
The first issue was the spawning on Hoth’s Walker Assault. It quickly became apparent that you would frequently spawn into chaos or an even more frustrating spawn trap, resulting in instant death.
The second issue and my biggest complaint also focuses upon the Walker Assault game mode, as the Rebel and Imperial sides felt incredibly unbalanced. Players on the Empire’s side would march onto the opposition’s base with the support of AT-ATs and AT-STs, while the Rebel forces frantically tried to postpone the attack by activating Uplinks to deploy Y-Wing Bombers to disable enemy vehicles.
As a Rebel, the only way to ensure victory is by disabling the oncoming Walker Assault, a task that seemed so daunting even with the Luke Skywalker pickups and air assistance. During the entirety of my time on the beta I believe I only witnessed the Rebels obtain a single Walker Assault victory.
Despite my issues with the Walker Assault game mode, Hoth was still my favourite choice of the three options. The large map presented the full Star Wars experience in the beta, even if the Rebels failed to stop the Empire troops.
The amount of time and care that has been invested into Star Wars: Battlefront is clear for all to see. The game does not simply feel like a game, it feels like an extension of the Star Wars movies, allowing players to drop themselves into the galaxy far, far away.
The iconic music, well-crafted worlds, and extreme attention to detail will appease fans of the iconic franchise. In addition to this, it also seems that DICE have already acknowledged the unbalanced nature of certain maps and modes in Star Wars: Battlefront and are set to “make changes on the feedback and data” provided by the beta.
Regardless if DICE are able to rectify these issues before the launch of the full game, it’s hard to contain your excitement when you witness Luke Skywalker and Darth Vade battle it out with their lightsabres.
Star Wars: Battlefront is still a must have for Star Wars fans and enjoyable for those who aren’t familiar with the franchise, but who appreciate a solid shooter.
What were your first impressions of the Star Wars: Battlefront Beta? Let us know in the comments below!
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