WHAT UP INTERNET!?
Perhaps it’s all the hype surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens or maybe it’s due to the fact I spent more time playing Battlefront II than I care to admit, but this past weekend your boy spent a few hours entrenched in the Battlefront beta. I’ve approached this title with a healthy amount of skepticism, as I positively adored the original two entries in the Battlefront series and have never been a big supporter of the Battlefield series. Having spent what I believe to be an adequate amount of time duking it out in various gameplay modes, I’m here to hit you with a quick review of the Battlefront beta! (if you’re looking for the short and sweet…it looks decent, and if there’s a solid Black Friday deal I’ll probably pick it up. If not…I’m planning to get Fallout 4 so that’ll be my life from its release date on, anyways).
The Battlefront beta consisted of three game modes-two multiplayer modes entitled “Walker Assault” and “Drop Zone” and an offline single (or co-op) mode titled “Survival.” Since I didn’t have any Bros handy when I fired up the beta (I woke up obscenely early because I had…things to do. Not like I was waking up early to play or anything…) I immediately jumped into “Survival” solo.
Similar to many game modes such as Firefight from Halo or Horde from Gears of War (although I’ve yet to find another similar game mode with as much depth as Horde), Survival consists of a player (or two) fighting off waves of enemies. Every few waves a “care package” is dropped offering power-ups which allow you to make quick work of upgraded enemies. You’ve customizable load-outs and the map included in the beta was quite large, meaning there was ample cover available. Enemies got progressively stronger and required different methods of approach (some have jetpacks, some were snipers, etc.) but as a wise-man once said “Hokey AI and ancient enemies are no match for a good blaster at your side.”
Since I butchered the inclusion of a classic line in this quick review, allow me to clarify: the AI wasn’t hokey at all. Enemies would flank and attempted to corner me on multiple occasions. Although the firepower of the final boss (AT-ST walker) was fairly laughable and on more than one occasion I was able to sprint directly in front of it to avoid fire, I thought the challenge presented was decent. I’d also imagine since this is a beta (although since the game is only approximately a month away I believe this falls more into the “demo” category) small patches will be able to tweak the difficulty for more seasoned rebel and imperial foot soldiers. Additionally, the gameplay was extremely tight with spot-on hit detection and player speed felt natural-also, this game is just positively gorgeous. My partner-in-crime strolled by and asked what game I was playing (before she immediately recognized the Stormtroopers) because we were both blown away by how crisp and detailed the character models and lighting effects are.
None of the power-ups (such as Ion blasts and grenade launchers) felt overpowered-they felt as if they made you competitive when battling foes with significant firepower. It felt incredibly balanced and as a big fan of the first two entries in the Battlefront series, I was pleasantly surprised the mode which strongly resembled the original titles was so engaging. Although I’m not sure how much variety can be included in this game type sans a significant story (I mean, you’re sitting on probably the most beloved property of all time…it can’t be that hard to craft an engaging tale. If you find yourself struggling, Dice-holler at your boy and I’ll lend a hand), a number of unique locales, varied enemies, challenges and numerous weapons could create a high level of replay-ability for “Survival.”
To keep this quick review, well, quick, I’m going to only discuss “Drop Zone” from the Battlefield beta’s two multiplayer offerings, as “Walker Assault” is the mode most people seem to be focused on. DZ is a mode pitting a rebel and imperial team against one another (as if…) vying for control of pods which drop throughout the map. Only one drops at a time, and once a pod is dropped a team must secure it. After it is secured it provides the capturing team with various power-ups. This mode is fairly straightforward and it only took me a moment to gather my bearings after being dropped into a match. The action is paced fast and frantic, and the only real issues I ran into were balancing and spawning.
As in most multiplayer shooters, in Battlefront you gain progress and use this to purchase new weapons and power-ups. Those who hadn’t unlocked anything didn’t have access to the decked-out arsenal than those who’d played more games have, but this is fairly standard for the genre. Once I unlocked some weapons beyond once you begin with, I felt significantly more competitive (in terms of damage I was dealing out-my K/D ratio was abhorrent, but I chalk that up to my not being an avid participant in PvP game modes).
The pre-determined spawn points were far from the action, and the option to spawn on a teammate did not always appear for me. That being said, there were no other glaring technical issues (occasional bugs, but that’s to be expected in any beta/demo/release window nowadays) and I’m confident the minor issues such as spawning will be rectified in the time before Battlefront is released…although I’ve heard horror stories from some of my Bros who are diehard faithful to the Battlefield series. Still, the Battlefront beta assuaged many of the reservations I had about the title and I look forward to the full title. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, dug the original Battlefront titles or just enjoy tightly controlled shooters, I’d recommend scoping the title when it drops. Until next time, Bros!
*All pictures stolen from Gameinformer