I am a HUGE Star Wars Battlefront fan. I played those first two games for hundreds of hours. I loved those games. I even enjoyed the PSP games, the last one being really ambitious for a PSP game. So I was excited and nervous when I heard DICE, the studio best known for the Battlefield series, was going to be making the new Star Wars Battlefront.
On the one hand I was happy to finally be getting a new Battlefront game. It has been over 10 years since the last proper console Battlefront. But I was also worried. Would it FEEL like a Star Wars game? Or would it feel like a Star Wars mod for Battlefield 4?
And after spending the last few days playing the beta I’m happy to say that DICE has done a great job. But there are some issues.
The Sights and Sounds
Star Wars Battlefront looks incredible. I was playing the beta on PS4 and the game looks gorgeous. The lighting in particular is just some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Looking at the world of Hoth or Tatooine is like looking at an HD photo of a Star Wars set. They look like real locations. It is really amazing. Even more amazing though is that all of this is running at 60 frames a second. I had almost no dips while playing Star Wars Battlefront. Even when there was a ton of players on screen and a giant AT-AT nearby, the game just didn’t care. It stayed smooth and looked great.
It doesn’t just look great it also LOOKS like Star Wars. The uniforms the Stormtroopers wear are dented and dirty, covered in scratches and blemishes. The guns and vehicles as well all look like they were made out of real objects stuck together. It reminded me of the old Star Wars films. The props in those old films were made out of all sorts of random stuff, from WW2 pistols and SMGs to random pipes. And Battlefront does a great job recreating that old, worn in and thrown together feel that so much of old Star Wars has. And just like old Star Wars, expect lots of sparks when lasers make contact. I loved that extra detail and I love how great the sparks look.
But not only does it look good it also sounds good. Actually good is an understatement. It sounds incredible. Every Star Wars noise and sound effect sounds perfect. That high pitched scream that TIE Fighters have, the crack of a laser hitting its target, the sound of a Lightsaber slashing through the air and even the sound of an AT-AT stomping through the snow. All of it sounds perfect. And throughout the battle the classic Star Wars music is playing. I found myself humming the music and quoting Star Wars as I played.
This feels like Star Wars. And that makes me really happy.
Shooting Rebel Scum
The actual gameplay is fast and tight. I am a fan of the Battlefield series, but I always hated how the shooting and movement in those games felt a bit floaty and not as tight as something like Counter Strike or Call of Duty. But in Star Wars Battlefront I found the control and gameplay to be tight and super responsive. You move around the map fast, you jump fast and sometimes you die fast. The game has a quick feel to it and it makes the big AT-ATs feel even bigger. They are these slow moving giants and you are this little speedy ant running around, dodging its laser blasts.
And once you unlock the jetpack at level 5, the cap for the beta, you can launch yourself around the map. Though it feels more like an explosion on your back and you go flying an super fast speed towards where you are aiming. It is violent and a lot of fun. It also adds some nice verticality to the maps.
Shooting feels fast as well, lasers coming flying out of your blaster and they have almost no recoil and no drop. You can pop people halfway across the map, if you take your time and control your shots. It does lead to lots of random deaths, which can be frustrating. But to avoid this the levels have lots of cover and in the case of Hoth really cool trenches. These trenches are necessary as the land above them is a dead zone where few survive for long.
Star Wars Battlefront feels chaotic and large. You can take control of AT-ATs or a Snowspeeder. You can play as a hero character like Luke Skywalker or drop down a shield. All of these abilities and more are gained by picking up random powerups on the map. I like this method. It makes it hard to wait for a vehicle, a problem Battlefield has, and it means ANY player of any skill can have fun with the big toys and heroes.
All these things combine into a crazy and chaotic experience.It feels like you are in an actual battle in the Star Wars universe. And it is exciting. Until Luke or Darth Vader shows up and destroys you and a few of your friends in seconds. Then the next time you see them on the battlefield you will feel scared. And if you're like me, you might even run away.
The Small Stuff & The Bad Stuff
As a diehard Battlefront fan there were some small details I liked and some things that I disliked. The biggest problem I have with this new Star Wars Battlefront is the absence of Galatic Conquest. This was my favorite mode from the older games and not having this mode in the new Star Wars Battlefront is really disappointing. But maybe the next game will have it, assuming this does well. (I assuming it will. It is Star Wars.)
One annoying part of the beta was how easy it was for experienced players to spawn kill the other team. At one point I found myself in a turret and I was able to kill 35 enemies in a short time span. Many of them had just spawned. I felt like an asshole, but I also feel like it was way to easy to do something like that. It happened a lot on the Empire side. I hope the spawning and weapon placement get tweaked before release. I feel like I shouldn't be allowed to get that close to their spawn as the enemy.
Some other small details I noticed after playing for the last few days.
-You can play in third person, just like the older Star Wars Battlefront games. And it plays really well in third person, it is the way I play most of the time.
-The maps are big enough that I felt like I was able to flank or snipe enemies. But they aren’t as spacious as some Battlefield maps, which is nice. The lower player count and smaller sized maps means you run into more enemies and have more infantry battles, which I enjoyed.
-The power ups feel varied and many of them can greatly sway a battle. Being attacked by a AT-AT laser cannon. Throw down a shield. Turret annoying you. Shoot it with a rocket. Allowing all players access to these and making them random feels like a smart choice, at least in the game modes I played.
-Getting rid of classes and ammo seems like the right call. In a lot of ways the Battlefront reminds me of another DICE game, Battlefield 1943. That game was a simplified and streamlined version of Battlefield and as a result it felt more fun and action packed. And that is the feeling I get from Battlefront. And that is the feeling I want from Star Wars. Action packed fun.
-There are no Tauntauns or Wampas so... like actually this game is awful and I take back everything I said. (Not really.)
I had a lot of fun with the beta and I can't wait to play more of the full game when Star Wars Battlefront comes out on November 17th for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. You can right now download the beta for any of those platforms and play for yourself. The beta is open until October 12th.