Star Wars: Battlefront EA’s resurrection of a series thought dead since 2008 has recently had an open beta on Xbox One, PC and PS4. The beta was due to end on Monday but has since been extended until the end of Tuesday October 13th.
I’ve been checking out the beta on PS4 and hit the beta cap of Rank 5 yesterday. My memories of the Battlefront series are are pretty distant. I remember playing both the first and second game on PS2 and playing a ton of the galactic conquest mode. EA’s resurrection doesn’t take all of the best features of its previous entries but what I did experience in the beta still seems to have the core of what I expect from a Battlefront game.
Visually, the game IS Star Wars, everything looks authentic and detailed as you’d expect from the Star Wars franchise and I found myself immersed in the Battle of Hoth when I played the Walker Assault Mode. Though previous entries of the series had up to 64 players, hardware limitations have resulted in the new entry being capped at 40 on all platforms; this didn’t really seem to be an issue in the Walker Assault Mode and this didn’t leave me any shortage of people to shoot though. The respawn system in the beta and the lack of protected spawn zones meant there was always a healthy supply of rebels in the storm trooper spawn area. On a number of games I was killed on respawn repeatedly and there has been some complaint of that in the feedback EA has received.
Respawn issues aside the game didn’t to seem have too much depth but keeping in mind that this is just a beta there is potential for some interesting application of the mechanics they presented.
Progress in Battlefront is tracked by your Rank, the amount of credits you earn and the weapons and carrds you purchase with those credits. Your score each round is turned into currency in addition to gaining XP to rank up.
Credits can be spent on weapons in the beta, as there was a selection of four weapons which seemed to vary in price based on their power.
In addition to buying weapons you can purchase cards, each of which provides a piece of equipment for you to use in the match. The betas options were mostly limited to a sniper rifle and a grenade with a few extra options opening up when you reach the Rank 5 cap and these cards have replaced the previous entries Class system.
If there are a large number of Cards to unlock this could provide you with a large mix of loadouts and a good variety of builds to play with, but right now in the beta, it doesn’t seem like there are any pre-defined roles. There were two sniper focused cards, but the mobility of the jetpack seemed to encourage taking that the majority of the time. Hopefully the full game will have cards that more clearly define the roles the previous games classes filled.
Weapons have unlimited ammo but build up a heat metre stopping the gun from firing until it’s cooled down. However, it’s possible to speed up your guns recovery by tapping a button repeatedly.
This was more problematic with the fastest firearm, an energy pistol that was one of the strongest in the close quarters 8 vs 8 Drop Zone mode, while the old reliable Stormtrooper rifle the E-11 is powerful but not exactly accurate. The lesser accuracy of Battlefront weapons does mean that the lack of recoil isn’t that noticeable, and sometimes this is the only thing that saves you from death.
Speaking of death, it comes quickly in Battlefront, and if you’re not paying attention, it is easy to get shot to pieces. Luckily the maps have a number of power-ups to aid you in the fight between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance.
These power-ups can be equipment, vehicles or heroes/villains Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, who I saw many times on Hoth but I’ve never played as them. Equipment includes turrets and anti-vehicle weaponry, which come in handy a lot for the Rebel side in the Walker Assault Mode, and the vehicles let you jump into aircraft or for the empire ground based vehicles, including the AT-ST and AT-AT, as seen in the films. The Empire’s vehicles felt very powerful and it’s hard not to feel like a badass blowing REBEL SCUM! to pieces.
I found the aircraft control a little lacking though it does feel like you’re flying the cool spacecraft from Star Wars the controls are a little looser than I’d like. For example, the loose-feeling flying mechanic left me feeling like I was only suggesting the direction of the X-Wing or Tie Fighter.
The audio experience of the game is probably the best part of the beta, as the weaponry sounds great and it’s easy to feel like you’re in a battle in the Star Wars films. If developer Dice should be proud of anything it’s that they’ve created an authentic window into the Star Wars universe I just hope the full game lives up to the potential of the series and the small slice of content we’ve seen during the beta.
Have you been playing the Battlefront Beta? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!