In a galaxy, not so very far away, we’ve been sitting down on PC’s, PlayStation 4s, and Xbox Ones holding our controllers in our hands, and blasting each other across the battlefields of Hoth and Tatooine. On these planets we’ve discovered just how close to real that D.I.C.E. and EA have made this game. With sound effects blasting from T.V.s, headphones, and even surround sound systems in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 7.1, Star Wars Battlefront has finally landed a beta on all the mentioned platforms. We’ve taken to flying Tie Fighters, Tie/IN Interceptors, X-Wings, A-Wings, AT-ST’s, and even manning the guns to the gorgeously as well as terrifyingly large AT-AT. But much has and has not changed since the days of Battlefront 2 where fans were fighting of both droids, clone troopers, and even Jedi heroes.
What’s most iconic about this game isn’t the fact it’s a minor departure from a series we grew up to love, but rather the fact EA has decided to take what them and DICE have perfected with Battlefield and mold it into the Star Wars universe in order to give us one of the most graphically astounding games to date. I don’t say that with a grin on my face to upset the fanboys or to bring myself to the culling due to my stance on the game, but even with games such as Bloodborne, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes/TPP, and even Killing Floor 2 sitting around; I have to state openly that Battlefront is one of the best looking games I’ve honestly played to date even in its Beta test, which seems to be a stress test for the servers. In doing so they invited us to try out three modes such as Drop Zone where you will capture escape pods for your team by holding them for a set amount of time, Walker Assault, which many will feel is a perfect representation of Battlefield’s Rush mode, and last, but not least the games weakest mode (at least to me) Survival, which can be played with a group of friends or solo in order to hone in your skills.
Star Wars Battlefront – PlayStation 4 (Version Tested), Xbox One, and PC
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC
Release Date: November 17th, 2015
But why did we find Survival so weak when that is supposed to be one of the strong suits of the game? Well the truth is that it felt underwhelming and poorly executed. When being shot at by Storm Troopers who felt like they were straight out of the movies you’ll find yourself cringing just a bit. When playing with the enemy shooting blasters at your team that should be hitting and not? It was almost as if the game was purposely programmed to give that movie authenticity, which lead us to quickly departing from this horde-like mode, which is all about surviving for an allotted amount of waves until an AT-ST pops up and decides to blast away at everyone.
This lead us to switching over to the multiplayer where we were introduced to the game mode Drop Zone, which places us in an undisclosed location on Tatooine. While this mode may seem familiar to others the mode is very much an attack and defend mode where players will be fighting over Escape Pods and even power-ups that will allow them to make it a bit harder for the opposing team to slow them down. While this mode did prove a bit more challenging than I had hoped for it was equally enjoyable when played with friends.
When grouped with friends any of the modes tend to be fun, but as we all know, there are challenges that came come up at any time. Where the game seems to shine the brightest in both graphical prowess and even player stability is the games largest mode called Walker Assault. This mode can easily be referred to as Battlefronts version of “Rush” from DICE’s other franchise known as Battlefield. In the Walker Assault mode we were pitted in the battle for Hoth where the Rebel Alliance is attempting to fight back the Imperial march on their home base for hoth. Here we see the Rebel’s taking action against the might of the Imperial forces on both ground and even air assault. In much of my time with this mode I spent a fair amount of time testing out the games aerial combat, vehicular combat on ground, and as a foot soldier utilizing my blasters, grenades, jetpack, my personal shield perk, and even the turrets that were pre-placed on the map. The goal as a Rebel? Fight back Imperial soldiers while trying to capture two Communication Relays in order for your team to call in Y-Wings to bring down the shields protecting the AT-AT’s. While doing so the game mode isn’t just chaotic, it’s a warzone – quite literally a Star Wars battlefield where implosion grenades, ion grenades, turret fire, rockets, cannon fire, and the likes are always going off.
During my time it wasn’t uncommon to be blasted by squads of Stormtroopers that were spawning on one another in order to keep their partner system available (this is very reminiscent to Battlefields spawning system with the Uplink devices that soldiers would place). After having spent my fair share of time being blown up, respawned, shot by snipers, and even doing my fair share of the same, it was time to take to vehicular combat. First up was my run with the X-Wing. Much like in the movies the Tie Fighter is an excellent airship at maneuverability, firepower, and even aerial support. Unlike past Battlefront titles I didn’t get to just run up to an available vehicle and grab it – I had to hunt it down. After spending a matter of seconds jet packing around the map I was able to find my power up lying beside a blown up X-Wing that was all, but destroyed. Hitting my L1+R1 together my character knelt down, called for X-Wing support, and I was on my way into the battlefield as a member of the Rebel Alliances “Crimson Squad”. As I adjusted to the controls they came rather easy to learn having spent a lot of time piloting planes in Battlefield 4. Much like any title I found my left thumbstick for rotation to rotate side to side, front and back for speeding up and speeding down, and the right thumbstick for pitch and yaw. My D-Pad buttons offered evasive maneuvers for when under enemy fire, which most of the time was used to break missile lock. L1 was to activate shields while R1 was to launch a torpedo. In the game I commonly found myself holding onto L2 in order to lock onto enemy aggressors in the air only to start shooting at them while pursuing them. Much like ground weapons, vehicle weapons of all sorts overheat and must cool down if they are constantly fired.
On both ends of the stick each vehicle felt unique from the evasive TIE Fighter, TIE Interceptor clear down to the Rebels A-Wing and the T-47 Snowspeeder/Airspeeder. The most interesting part of vehicles was not piloting them, but even combating against them as they proved both lethal and at times quite clumsy when taking fire from the ground. Though the primary thing to take away from the battlefield of Hoth? The graphical prowess as well as scope of audio is immersive. Thanks to the use of sound effects straight from the movies such as the mechanical clumsiness of the AT-ST’s, the breach alarms of the AT-AT, the whine of the TIE Fighters flying sounds to the sound of their cannons, the game is overall very unique to how true it has stayed to the Star Wars franchise. To be quite honest? It feels as if DICE has spent hours on end sitting at the Lucas Studios in order to make the game true to the franchise. The musical score itself is quite impressive as it quietly plays behind the scenes during combat scenarios while more prominent songs strike a chord when something large scale occurs. While this is something that will strike a bit of nostalgia for some, the game stays true to what Star Wars is known for such as design, realism, graphical prowess, and its story telling elements. Thanks to DICE this has been fully possible within Star Wars Battlefront with a Beta test that could quite easily be called a success after downloading an 8GB file (rounded up from 7.8GB or so). The truth? If this game follows through like the beta did? Star Wars Battlefront could easily set itself up for a game of the year.
Though as much as I would love to continue with the stroking of egos there were some underlying issues that would make developers cringe. One of these is trouble with partying up with friends. While the use of what felt like an Origin launcher within the menu’s, I found it almost troublesome to group up with friends as the game constantly reported that I had no friends online on Saturday and Sunday night for PlayStation 4. To ensure it wasn’t just me? We took our PS4 to multiple locales (friends who allowed us to invade their internet) in order to test this. To be honest? It was the servers quite possibly, but regardless it had been admitted by EA and DICE that they were stress testing the servers, which quite easily could have cause this issue. Another is minor audio cut-in and outs when navigating menus between matches. This having occurred on both of the B.A.T.G.R. PS4’s using our 100+ MBPS downstream internet with a 15.8 MBPS upstream. Another underlying issue isn’t just these small flaws, but instead there were a few that had been noted on the P.C. side by B.A.T.G.R. writer Ms. Helseth who noted that people had already been cheating to the point that one player in a lobby she had attended sat at 256 kills with 8 Deaths. Something that pales my 78 kills and 32 deaths in comparison. While this is an issue it only brings the question to whether or not Battlefront on P.C. will have an anti-cheat system in place to keep such things from happening.
We can only wait and see when Battlefront launches on November 17th, 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One for $59.99 USD. Recently new modes and a season pass have been announced.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over onTwitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.