From all that E3 had to show on the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront, the game is looking to be loads of fun. Aside from the rousing 20v20 multiplayer mode, the campaign mode is a beautifully exciting Star Wars experience.
The demo was a simple, co-op “protect the package” mission, but that doesn’t mean it was without excitement. With you and your rebel partner standing alone on a mountainside, fending off waves of stormtroopers, there’s never a moment of boredom. Stormtroopers come in all kinds of flavors of white – some yielding rocket launchers, others being expert snipers, and a few wielding groan-inducing jetpacks. And then there’s always that one stormtrooper trying to headbutt you with the fury of a thousand suns.
Just as you think you’ve got a handle on the troops, you’ll turn around and be staring an AT-ST straight in the face. Then you run. You run for your life, reposition, call for your teammate, and launch your next attack. Each moment carries a unique tension, whether you’re headshotting soldiers, repositioning for the incoming wave, or doing panicked circles with your partner in fear of the nearing AT-ST convergence. All the while your team is calling support into your ear, if you can hear them over your partner’s screams of “WALKER WALKER WALKER!”
AT-STs are terrifying to meet on the battlefield, by the way. Not sure if you could tell by now.
A variety of weapons are available at the beginning of the mission, but the most enjoyable feature is the lack of reloading. Weapons will overheat if fired for too long, each type having its own overheat capacity. If you’re not too careful, you’ll end up unable to fire while you wait for your gun to cool down. The avoidance of the reload feature feels futuristic and fitting with the Star Wars universe, but also focuses the gameplay on shooting rather than on the gaps of time between cartridges.
Alongside guns comes your typical explosive, grenade-type items and a boost-pack, which allows players to take a violent jump every minute or so. The feature seems difficult to control, but the propulsion is great for boosting away from enemies, into a fray, or up rugged terrain. I personally enjoy boosting into the air, firing scatter grenades below me, and then landing into the pile of corpses my explosions created as I was in the air. It feels cool as hell, and tons of stunts like this are possible with the boost pack.
A shield is also available to players, for those times when you back yourself into an AT-ST’s bum, which I did, or run face first into a pack of stormtroopers, guns blazing, which I also did.
This round was a blast. There’s something specially exhilarating about the world of Star Wars implemented so well into such a game. The sound design is spectacular, filling the world with life at every turn. Graphics are stellar, adding even more liveliness to the universe.
The only drawback of Star Wars: Battlefront’s singleplayer campaign so far is that it may not present enough complexity to support the fantastic gunplay. With only one mission available to judge, we will have to see if the campaign will be gripping enough to do justice to the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: Battlefront is available November 17, 2015 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Origin for PC.