The Star Wars Battlefront beta is up and running for everyone, albeit with very little to see and do. Offering only a small sample of the final game, the beta gives players a first glimpse at the Drop Zone, Walker Assault and Survival modes.
I tried it out and was blasted by AT-ATs, AT-STs, and orbital strikes during Walker Assault. I sniped from afar on Drop Zone, and single handedly destroyed an AT-ST during Survival mode.
Battlefront was absolutely gorgeous to see up and running on the PS4, with incredible detail on the blaster rifles, thermal detonators, and on the Sith Lord himself when he eventually appeared. The sound effects from the blaster rifles and detonators are fantastic. It excels in both visual and audio design.
The Walker Assault map is massive. The skies are filled with Star Destroyers and Rebel command ships. TIE Fighters and X-Wings engage in dogfights while on Hoth with actual players piloting them. It’s 20 versus 20, and the action is pretty intense in certain spots. Trying to activate multiple uplinks as the Rebels is an incredible obstacle to overcome while the Empire is throwing everything it has at you.
There are some very clear balance issues with this mode, heavily favoring The Empire, which effortlessly won every match I tried. The Rebels were outmanned, outgunned, and running from Darth Vader on more than one occasion. Luke making an appearance couldn’t swing the momentum in the Rebels favor even for a moment. These are commonly voiced complaints with the beta, and are likely to see fixes before the game’s release.
Drop Zone presented an entirely different experience in Battlefront as an eight versus eight mode on the Sullust map. The level itself features danger in the form of sulfur pits that will cause death if you can’t get out of them fast enough, and it was full of rocky walkways to crouch through and high vantage points to snipe from. This level design made for a tense match, never knowing who was keeping their eye on you or who you could spot from one of the many higher points. Trying to capture or reclaim the pods always kept the action flowing in this high-speed mode. The pods would also drop out power-ups ranging from proximity detonators to orbital strikes. It was a nice change from the spread out action on Hoth, and it provided a much more even match-up.
Survival mode is exactly what it sounds like; you survive waves of Empire troops ranging from standard Stormtroopers to Shock Troopers to Imperial snipers. You can (Han)solo it or bring a friend along for added protection. Taking place on Tatoonie, this map was smaller than Sullust but featured higher vantage points that can be reached via the jump pack. Every third round will drop a pod that can be claimed for power-ups to even the odds and help destroy the AT-ST that will inevitably spawn in. You’re given two lives to survive on and, occasionally, lives will spawn in for you to grab (if you’re lucky enough to find them). This was definitely the most fun mode of them all for me. Running for cover as the AT-ST fires at you while you hunt for the next Ion charge for your blaster rifle will never get old.
Overall, the Battlefront beta played fairly well. The controls were responsive and felt like they didn’t need much more fine tuning. The graphics and sound are top notch. DICE really captured the look and feel of the Star Wars universe fans thirst for.
Outside of the look and sounds, the game itself feels like a Battlefield game with a Star Wars paint job. Not that it’s a terrible way to go, but with the depth of fan passion behind the Star Wars franchise, the bar is set extremely high for this game. We know what DICE is capable of delivering on this passion given the proper amount of time in a development cycle. The ultimate question that remains is this: has Battlefront been given the time it needs, or is it more of a rush release meant to couple with Episode VII in December?
Star Wars Battlefront blasts its way onto the Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 17.
Have any of you played the Battlefront beta? What are your thoughts on it? Let us know down below!