Star Wars Battlefront Beta Impressions

As soon as the download completed I was there on a hyper-realistic looking Hoth running with my fellow rebels to defend Echo Base. First impression, “Holy shit, this looks just like the movie.” I spend my first five lives wandering around marveling at how cool everything looks. By everything I do mean everything the snow, hills, trenches, guns, rebels, imperials, ships flying overhead, blasters everywhere. It is so cool looking that at first it is distracting.

Ogling done I settle in for the fight. I have played many hours of other Battlefield games how different can this be? Different enough. Be prepared to be overwhelmed initially. The battle is chaotic, is putting the situation mildly. Snowtroopers blend in with snow really well. Rebels in snow gear also blend in with snow really well. Weapons seems to have an infinite range. Blaster bolts, explosions, vehicles, fighters flying overhead, battlefield weapons, and the seemingly directionless nature of the battle will cause you many moments of “What just happened!”

Get used to dying. Just like the movies troopers die in droves and you are playing one of them now. Here are some snapshots from my games:

…find a TIE fighter powerup, “HOLY SHIT! I’m in a TIE fighter.” Quick, not that agile, and lawn dart into the side of a hill.

…spawn in the middle of at least six snowtroopers…die quickly

…spawn next to five snowtroopers and one rebel…die quickly

…spawn and die as the world goes red and controller shakes violently

…get into an AT-ST and lay waste to the rebels until a combination of fire takes me down

…in an AT-ST, I see the snowspeeder flying past the AT-AT ahead of me, snowspeeder clips me, blows up, but leaves me with 5 health left.

…running along and transform into Luke Skywalker. Yes, Luke Skywalker, but Luke is wearing his Return of the Jedi clothing, isn’t he cold? Within seconds, I am among the snowtroopers slashing with lightsaber, deflecting blaster bolts, and feeling powerful as the survivors run away. Then three grenades and one giant bomb go off…Luke dies.

…in the head of the AT-AT, everyone look like ants running around. I don’t like ants, I blast them for my allotted time and then back to the life of a snowtrooper, hop over a snowbank and die to someone across the map I can’t see

…slow banking turn, line up my shot on the TIE fighter, blast it out of the sky

…using a dish gun to blast an AT-AT that explodes from the combined fire of everyone. In the background a snowspeeder completes another lap around the remaining walker. The walker falls, REBELS WIN. That was the first of two rebel wins in 20+ games

Without a doubt Star Wars Battlefront is fun and immersive. You are there, on Hoth, shooting, flying, and mostly dying. I can write for days about the fun, funny, and interesting from the Hoth battle, the 8 on 8 mode, and the single-co-op survival mode. There is a lot to like about Star Wars Battlefront. A few more snapshots…

…end game stats pop-up, the majority of both teams have single digit kills and double-digit deaths. It was at this moment I wondered, “Is this what they (meaning DICE) wanted?”

…playing with a friend, I take two steps backward for no particular reason, right as his TIE fighter slams into the ground in front of me wiping out the rebel I had been walking with.

…finally feeling like I have a sense of things, I spend a lot of time in one place looking for people moving. Those are the people who I shoot and end a game with more kills than deaths

…frustrated because for a scenario that is supposed to represent one-side defending an object, their team seems to spend a lot of time either running past us or spawning behind us. Both to no effect, our side won, but it is the first time I realize I am playing with other people and not in the movie…immersion was broken by people being people instead of people being rebels or imperials

That right there sums up my biggest concern, in a game where teamwork and coordination are going to be key for the rebels…well 2 wins over 20 games and in those two wins there were dedicated teams within the rebel side working together. Seeing that was cool and inspiring. In games, the other 18, where people did whatever they wanted it was fun, but it was also frustrating and depressing, because I knew I was on the rebel side and I was going to be on the losing side. One last snapshot…

…I dodge through blaster fire to leap into a trench to activate the “radio” to call in the Y-Wing airstrike. Both “radios” need to be activated for this to happen and airstrikes HAVE to happen, a lot, for the rebels to win. As I crouch against the trench wall hoping that the activation cycle finishes, I notice the following…nobody is even trying to activate the other “radio” and most people are trying to take down an AT-ST or looking for powerups…the Imperials are racking up kills, me included as I was in one place trying to do something for the win by myself…




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