Not so long ago; in a galaxy not at all far away…
We are nearing the end of the long awaited Star Wars Battlefront open beta, and the gaming world is spiraled in a blaze. There are the obvious goods, the not so unexpected bads, and the overwhelming greats thus far into the game. This structure and server capacity beta test may have accomplished even more than it had originally sought to. All the more reason to quickly level to that rank 5 level cap. Side note, do not be surprised if the screen kind of glitches out while registering that final level increase.
Let’s talk about the actual game play first. The Battlefront beta gives advanced access to three different play modes: Survival Mission on Tatooine, the infamous Walker Assault on Hoth, and the all-new Drop Zone. Each of these develops a new aspect of the not entirely set in stone narrative of the newest reboot to the Battlefront franchise. During the beta, players are randomly thrown into the battles, not entirely choosing which faction they want to participate in: rebel or imperial forces. Depending on the mode you are playing, this may make little, minute difference or complete variance in goals and objectives.
The Tatooine Survival Mission is the only aspect of the beta that can be done solo or with a simple couch co-op. You find yourself as a member of the rebel alliance, stranded on Tatooine, facing down waves of imperial troops as you move about the map, capturing and defending pods as they arrive. This mode gives you limited life and attempts, but more can be found as you go. As expected, each of the six waves gets a little heavier and harder to fight back. This six wave teaser only gives a taste of the 15 waves promised in the final game.
Reclaiming the original glory of the timeless Walker Assault scene, the player gets thrown into the thicket during the fever pitch of the fire-fight. This is one of the modes in which your faction impacts game play. If you are tossed into the rebel alliance your goal is to halt the movement of the monstrous AT-AT walkers before they can destroy parts of your base. This is opposed to the flip side in which you help guide and protect the Walker across the map.
This mode is a little more taxing than the others. This epic 20 vs 20 task based death arena culminates in a cataclysm of snow-coated chaos. For many casual players, this mode will come across as a little daunting and overwhelming at the least. Walker Assault is also the longest of the three modes in the beta. Not to mention, the nostalgic burst that arises from seeing the AT-ATs crawl again is enough to lose hours in the field, and the contrast of locking in on the black and red of Lord Vader on the unspotted snow is awe inspiring.
If you aren’t looking for as long of a match and want a fairly quick online experience, then Drop Zone is more the mode to look at. This new mode to the franchise is a classic capture, defend, repeat style. The max time limit on a match is 10 minutes, thus whichever team has the most pods after the 10 minutes, or the first to five captured/ defended pods, wins. There is a little caveat that has been catching players off-guard; if a pod has already been captured and is still in the process of being defended when time is up, the game continues until that pod has been definitively taken by one team or another.
The beta also provides early access to the Star Wars Battlefront Companion. As you play the game you earn points that convert into credits. These can be used to purchase digital “cards.” You lock up a hand of these cards and use those as your bonuses and boosts. If you are lost or concerned, this is how you get the rocket pack to move about the map with more ease. These cards can also be used in an online/ app component for additional Star Wars competition.
Given the history of the Battlefront franchise, it should come as no surprise that the graphics, even as a beta, are absolutely superb. Taking a moment to suspend disbelief of lasers and light sabers, force chokes and 23 meter tall AT-ATs stomping around, this game is almost scary in the sense of realism. This could also be accredited to the fact that the beta ran at 900p on PS4 and 720p on Xbox One; this added touch of precision crispness aids in the visual display. Not only is this relevant to the smooth gameplay, but also shines in the outstanding cut-scenes that help add a touch of story telling to the all encompassed online multiplayer.
That appears to be the major fault of this almost flawless game; there is no campaign or story mode. A lot of people seem to have taken to the internet expressing their lack of interest given no at home, single player. If the Star Wars universe does not completely enthrall you, then you may look at Battlefront as another dime-a-dozen first person shooter. But this beta has clearly shown that this installment is anything but. Still, much like anything, you win some and lose some. Though this beta may have lost a few people claiming that they had already gotten their fill, it has undoubtedly swayed a few new fans and fence sitters.
It is worth taking a moment to note the obvious: even more heroes in the future. It leaked that a reddit user TheeUberMedic cracked into the games code and came across a file entitled “characters.cb.” In this code, aside from Luke and Vader, references to Han Solo, Princess Leia, Boba Fett, and the Emperor were discovered. At the very least, we can look forward to suiting up as these intergalactic icons in the final version of the game.
All in all, the Star Wars Battlefront beta is absolutely engrossing. The lack of single player campaign is a little disappointing and the respawns are a little scattered, potentially throwing you so far from the action you completely miss out on a pod or so. Nonetheless, the endless hours of online play that are bound to come from this pinnacle of shooters more than makes up for it. The coupling of iconic characters, genre defining scenery, and unwavering fluidity of gameplay culminate in a truly outstanding console experience. Mind you, this is only the beta. If scoring systems were adhered to, this beta would receive a heavy and dutifully earned 9.5/10.
Now, drop ship out on Hoth and search for one of the Skywalker family power ups. And remember, when the online team pairing looks uneven, never tell me the odds.
written by Alexander Mosier
I work behind the scenes to make Nintendo Enthusiast the best fan site around!