To say I was keen on playing the Star Wars Battlefront Beta would be an understatement, I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan since I was a kid. I had it forced upon me as a child and then went on to grow a greater appreciation of it during my mid to late teens. I’ve played countless game tie-ins with KOTOR being my favourite and the original Battlefront games coming in a close second. I approached the beta with a lot of scepticism, the same scepticism I am holding for The Force Awakens when it releases later in the year. For the most part, my cynicism was unneeded as the Battlefront Beta is awesome, but it isn’t without its problems.
The first thing that anyone will notice about the beta is the sound design; it is phenomenal. It’s something we’ve come to expect from Dice these days, especially considering they have ten lead sound designers and a hefty budget available. But even when you consider all that. It is still impressive. Everything from the blaster sounds to the way tie fighters fly above you is accurately recreated from the movies, creating one of the most authentic audio experiences ever created. You are honestly going to want to play this game with headphones on; I couldn’t imagine playing it any other way. The visual design and art style are also notably awesome as well, staying as close to the original Star Wars feel as they can. I especially love the screen wipe transition they often use during game play, which is a staple of the early Star Wars films. It is these little touches that every Star Wars fan will love, I know I did.
The game plays quite well; it feels simple but responsive. There are special abilities mapped to the shoulder buttons that you can customise though ranking up (What a surprise). Due to the fact you are shooting lasers there is, of course, no recoil and also no need to aim down your sights which are a little weird. You can kill most people who are anywhere from short to mid range by hip firing; you can even pull off long range ones if you are excellent. The moment I realised I no longer needed to aim, my K/D ratio went through the roof. Some of the abilities are also a little overpowered and could do with a longer charge, especially the sniper card. That thing is incredibly annoying in the wrong hands as it is an instant one kill headshot at any distance. Meaning you often get one guy sat up in the middle of nowhere, killing anyone who goes near the objective. I have no issue with this but plays have access to it almost all the time if the charge time were an extra five to ten seconds longer it might be much less of an issue.
The beta’s biggest issues were balancing. As it stands, the multiplayer is incredibly unbalanced, especially on the large conquest like mode. The game is set up for the Empire to win and the Rebels must try their hardest to hold them back. I’m not being overly dramatic; it is genuinely near impossible to win as the Rebels. I think I won maybe one game while playing as them. I understand what Dice is going for, creating an almost cinematic-like experience similar to the original Hoth battle. The problem is, this isn’t a movie. When playing a game, you want to be able to win so knowing that you can’t kind of kills your enthusiasm a bit. Luke-ily (I’m sorry) it is still only the beta and there is the chance for them to fix this in the future, with a little bit of tweaking and balancing the multiplayer could be something special. It is probably worth noting that there were a lot of glitches, mostly they were pretty silly but I’d be annoyed to find them still in full release. It was mostly just weird character glitches where the body would be running sideways or something. I also saw Darth Vader’s lightsaber running around once, without little Anakin attached to it. That was pretty comical.
Star Wars: Battlefront presents the fan experience that we’ve been yearning for since KOTOR, giving us an accurate and detailed foray into the Star Wars universe. There are some balancing issue and glitches at present, but I am confident that DICE can fix these issues. The beta was far more stable than any of the recent Battlefield games at release, which was initially my biggest worry. Bottom line, well done Dice. The force is definitely with you.