Star Wars Battlefront Beta: My Thoughts

When Star Wars Battlefront 3 was announced I got extremely excited.  Battlefront was one of the games I played non-stop during my childhood (among other games like Tony Hawk and Halo).  Being developed by Dice many people assumed it would be Battlefield reskinned.  Well the beta was released yesterday (October 8th) and I’d like to tell how my experience with it has gone so far.

Fun

That is the best word to describe this game.  Pure unadulterated fun.  It’s been a while since I’ve been able to sit down and play through a few hours of gameplay within one game without getting bored and this game has my attention.  I think what’s impressive about that is that there is such a small amount of content yet I’m still pretty addicted.

Overview

So for those of you who know little to nothing about the new Battlefront game let me reel you in and explain what the beta has to offer.

  1. Two multiplayer game modes: Drop Pod and Walker Assault
  2. One map per game mode
  3. Four primary weapons and 7 “cards” which I’ll explain shortly
  4. Single player/Co-op Survival

Doesn’t seem like much on the surface but it gets pretty great once you get into it.

Drop Zone and Walker Assault

The two multiplayer game modes that you are offered are a ton of fun.  Drop Zone pits 8 Rebels players against 8 Imperial players.  The objective is to capture a pod that randomly is dropped onto the map and hold it for a brief period of time (thirty seconds is my guess but I could be wrong).  The first to five captures wins or the team with the most captures at the end of the time limit wins.  This is pretty straight forward and is reminiscent of game modes like King of the Hill in Halo. What makes it different is if someone from the other team de-activates your pod and captures it for them the timer restarts, unlike King of the Hill where you can jump in and out and the hill will only be there for a set period of time.

Walker Assault is the game mode I have played the most of and it is by far my favorite of the two.  It pits 20 players against each other in the classic Battle for Hoth from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.  The goal is to either destroy the walkers if you’re Rebels or get your walkers through the three checkpoints to destroy the shield generator if you’re the Empire.  The Empire has a relatively simple job: keep the uplink stations offline by killing Rebels.  The Rebels have a little more to do: they have two uplink stations at every checkpoint and the goal for them is to keep them up while those uplink stations help the Y-Wing bombers target the walkers.  Once they activate an uplink they just have to defend it while the timers counts down for the bombers to lock on.  I don’t believe there is a limit to how many lock ons you can have, you’re just limited to the time it takes for the walkers to get to the next checkpoint, since that’s when the Y-Wings fly in for a bombing run.  The number of lock ons determines how long the walkers’ shields are down for you to deal damage so the more you have the more likely you are to win.

That being said I must say I feel as if Walker Assault is heavily favoring the Empire.  The Rebels have to defend their stations and attack the walkers when able.  Keep in mind these walkers are heavily armored so little blasters don’t do too much damage.  There are powerups you can get like a rocket launcher, thermal imploder (which is nuts by the way), or orbital strike (which will instantly kill a walker) but I haven’t really gotten to use those too much. The Empire just has to consistently kill you to win, which in my opinion is a bit boring since there isn’t as much of a team effort required on their side as much as there is on the Rebel’s side.

Hoth and Sullust

I’ve mentioned Hoth already but I haven’t described it nor its companion Sullust.  When I first booted up the beta I was amazed by how beautiful the graphics were.  I figured this was possibly a Halo 2 Anniversary thing where the non-gameplay stuff was unbelievable and the gameplay was more believable.  I was so wrong.  The in-game details are amazing.  On Hoth your footprints don’t go away!  I know that’s some small detail and completely irrelevant to the gameplay but that’s freaking sweet!  Small details aside I truly felt like I was on Hoth.

Sullust was an interesting swampy-type map that somewhat made me think of post-industrial pollution…  It was very brown and felt dirty.  Random holes in the ground were everywhere (intentional holes, not glitch holes), some of which would damage you and potentially kill you if you didn’t have a jump pack.  It’s overall a very unique and interesting map that I’m excited to see more of it come full game time.

Weapons and Cards

There are four primary weapons you can get by the time you hit max level: the main rebel rifle, the main empire rifle, a fast firing hand blaster, and a heavy blaster (a.k.a. light machine gun).  Each of these have their own ups and downs that are more or less obvious for anyone who’s played a first person shooter for about an hour so I won’t go into details.  I’ll just say I can’t stop using the hand blaster for some reason.

The cards are the interesting new “mechanic” to the Battlefront series.  Actually a lot of things in this game are, in a way, new to the series (like being able to select your starting weapon), but this one in particular is completely new to the series.  Cards act as your secondary/powerup equipment.  How mine is setup is I have one grenade, a cycle rifle (think long-distance shotgun), and the ion powerup which increases my weapon’s damage.  There is the thermal detonator, the ion grenade, the cycle rifle, a jet jump pack, the ion powerup, a personal shield powerup, and a sharpshooter trait.  Most are straight forward and I’ve already mentioned the cycle rifle and jump pack so the only thing I should touch on is the sharpshooter trait, which really sums up as “get headshots and prosper.”  It reduces cooldowns for your other cards the more headshots you get.  Obviously meant for a sniper-focused character. It’s important to note that you can only have one powerup

Survival

Last but not least we have survival which is a wave defense game mode where you’re on Tatooine trying to hold out until Ackbar can send you an extraction.  This was the first thing I did to try and get myself accustomed to the controls before jumping into multiplayer.  I can’t see anyone spending their beta time in this game mode due to how simple and easy it is.  It is 5 waves of enemies that include regular stormtroopers, stormtroopers with more health and a heavy blaster, jump troopers, snipers, and two AT-STs.  All-in-all it’s a fun game mode to play through once or twice with a friend to get you ready for the online battleground and to marvel over how beautiful Tatooine is.

In Conclusion

What I Like

There is a lot of things about this game that I like, most of which I’ve already said but it can’t hurt to re-iterate: this game is fun, beautiful, and a great entry into already loved Battlefront series.  It brings a ton of new things to the table compared to Battlefront and Battlefront 2 and I can definitely see a lot of my time being put into this game when it’s released in November.

I am very interested to see how other classes of characters work.  We only get to be the basic infantry-men in this game, so when we’re able to be a sniper or a heavy trooper I wonder how much that will change the gameplay, especially in Walker Assault.  Maybe that’s why it’s much harder to win as the Rebels…

I really like how terrifying it is to be looking at Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader making b-line right at you.  They’re hard to kill and I think that shows just how powerful these characters are in the universe.  Anytime I see Luke or Vader I try to avoid them at all costs.

I also find myself enjoying the ranking system.  In reality it is just like any other system but you can get so much more in terms of rewards for playing the objective.  In Walker Assault if you activate an uplink you get one hundred points towards your score.  That score translates into experience for your level, just like most games.  The kicker is that you get objective points on top of that.  So play the objective!

What I Don’t Like

Lag.  I assume this is due to it being a beta and to tell the truth there isn’t too much lag to begin with.  I do have a pretty steady internet connection so I can’t speak for everyone but I have had my fair share of hiccups and deaths due to lag.  I was also not able to get into a game for the first thirty minutes of playing.  Haven’t had issues since.  It’s pretty fast to connect as well.  I’m used to the Master Chief Collection’s long wait time so this is refreshing.   I haven’t had a chance to try and party up with some friends but from what I’ve heard the party system is pretty rough and it’s hard to get into a game with friends.

I’ve said it before but I don’t like how hard it is to win as the Rebels in Walker Assault.  It’s not impossible, I’ve done it before.  It’s just not likely.  Maybe this will change once we get more characters to choose from in the main game and once we have all the cards but as-is it’s extremely difficult.

Overall

This game is great.  It’s Star Wars at it’s core and it’s what every Star Wars fan could dream of having.  If you enjoyed the original Battlefront games or any Star Wars game in general I’d highly recommend this game to you.  I’d also recommend this to anyone who wants to play a simpler but extremely fun first-person shooter.  The game is easy to pick up and hard to put down.

Enjoy!

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