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Checking In: Star Wars Battlefront

"Taking the battlefront to the clouds"

In case you missed EA’s E3 2016 press conference last week, one of their big highlights was them giving an outlook on their Star Wars portfolio for the next two years. For Star Wars Battlefront, more DLC is still coming, a X-Wing VR mission by Criterion Games (yes those guys) and a proper sequel next year by DICE and Motive Games. One of those DLC packs came out this week for season pass holders, which is the long awaited Bespin content. Other than the Death Star, still coming out this fall, Bespin has been the other notable missing locale in the original Star Wars trilogy to get the Battlefront treatment. Just like the Outer Rim DLC, season pass folks get the new DLC two weeks early with it’s own playlist. It’s nice to finally see the Cloud City be realized in this console generation and the new additions/changes are mixed results so far.

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Five new maps, new weapons, star cards and heroes are in this $20 Bespin DLC package if you buy it separately. From the heroes side, we finally get Lando Calrissian playable in his Empire Strikes Back outfit and the villains get the bounty hunter Dengar. Does anyone remember Dengar? Not me. Dengar has an upgraded heavy blaster along with an explosive rush attack where he runs towards enemies mining them, a dashing melee strike and a limited phase where goes nuts minigun style with his heavy blaster.

Lando meanwhile has his sniper-esque blaster pistol, shock mine to stun enemies, disable enemy blasters for a short time and upgraded shots. His pistol has a crazy thermal vision-like look when you use it’s scope, which is neat. Both new characters also get upgraded stats depending on how well they’re doing too. With the Death Star DLC out this fall, I wonder who else from the original trilogy they can use because they are running out of key characters.

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Star Wars Battlefront’s Outer Rim content was heavily close quarters focused with the modes it used, but Bespin brings it back to big scale battles with the modes that have more maximum players on it. Fighter Squadron, Turning Point, Supremacy and Walker Assault are featured heavily, but the new mode featured in this DLC is called Sabotage. Sabotage has the rebels accepting to arm explosives on three gas canisters in four of the new maps while the imperials have to prevent them from doing so. If the rebels were able to blow up all three, then they have to defend their extraction point for five minutes to win the game. The new mode is fun especially experiencing frantic close quarters battles for the last gas canister, but the balance of hero/villain usage is my issue with it. For the canisters segment, the heroes will help out and the villains are only used whenever the rebels are attempting to extract. I had numerous games where the imperials ended up winning matches by capturing their extraction point because the rebels couldn’t keep the heroes alive during the canisters part and the villains ended up wrecking shop.

Some of the existing modes got big changes in the recent update that accompanied the Bespin release. Fighter Squardon matches are now first to 400 points and the Bespin Airspace map has Cloud Cars selectable. Drop Zone is first to ten pods with three to claim at any time instead of one. These modes had pretty short matches since launch, so this was well needed to breathe new life to them. New Hutt contracts are there for the new weapons such as the shock grenade star card that stuns enemies and the disruption charge. Since Hutt contracts were introduced in the Outer Rim DLC, the first days of a new content release has the majority of players trying to complete them instead of trying to win matches and the Bespin content is no exception. Specific contracts require playing Sabotage a lot and scoring kills with Lando and Dengar, so players tend to leave matches that are not Sabotage in droves. Plus playing as the new characters are rare unless you’re lucky to find the hero powerup first in a match.

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The playlist rotation and map frequency in the Bespin DLC also needs improvements as well. I tend to play the Administrator’s Palace and Cloud City maps way more than the others. It’s a shame the carbonite chamber map (pictured above) doesn’t get played often from what I noticed so far, but DICE did say today on the game’s official forums that it will be tuned in next week’s patch along with other minor changes. Once again folks that didn’t get the season pass are left out of the dust for two weeks and the fanbase feels split up until this content gets integrated into the regular game’s playlists.

Despite it’s current issues, it feels good to come back to Star Wars Battlefront for a little bit with it’s Bespin update. At least DICE is quick enough to fix some of them before the DLC is out for everyone else in two weeks. Going back to the big scale battles was well needed after Outer Rim’s close quarters focus, but I won’t surprised if the upcoming Death Star content goes back to close quarters since it makes sense (hopefully a space Fighter Squadron map soon?). It’s still fun to blast some enemies up Star Wars style and luckily there’s still a good amount of people playing on PS4, but I’m not sure how it is faring on Xbox One and PC. I don’t expect myself however to keep playing the Bespin DLC other than grinding out Hutt contracts, but I’ll be back to check in on Star War Battlefront again when DICE takes the battle to the Death Star.

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