The Star Wars: Battlefront beta just ended and we’ve been hammering away at it to see what DICE’s rendition of this classic series has to offer. Rather than just hearing the thoughts of one of our writers though, you lucky people get to hear the impressions from both Sam Foxall and Ian Stokes, Star Wars nerds of the highest calibre.
Sam: Many Bothans died to give us this Battlefront beta. Shame it’s more like something from the prequel trilogy, rather than the superior original three Star Wars instalments. I wouldn’t say it is as bad as The Phantom Menace, it’s probably holding somewhere around Attack of the Clones in its current state. So, what’s does the Beta do right? The sound design is perfect; you are in a Star Wars film while playing Battlefront. All the sound effects like the screech and laser blasts of the TIE fighters or the S foil locking sound of the X Wing exactly match the ones found in the movies. No expense has been spared to make Battlefront sound like you are smack bang in the middle of the Hoth assault. The Star Wars soundtrack fades in and out at appropriate times, with the Imperial March coming in when Vader glides onto the field or the dogfight music kicking in when an AT-AT gets bombed by Y-Wing support. This goes hand in hand with the visuals, which are as close as you are going to get to being in the original trilogy, bar putting on a Stormtrooper outfit and staging a recreation out on the tundra.
Presentation wise, this is Star Wars down to the correct scuff marks on a Rebel blaster. The problem is that the gameplay rarely matches this attention to detail that DICE have put into making Battlefront as authentic as it can be. I’ll talk about Walker Assault first, as that is where most people will spend their time in the beta. In its current state, the mode is an absolute mess of balance issues. Playing with randoms on the Rebel side locks you into a loss right away, as the level of co-ordination needed to stage a Rebel victory is immense. For the Empire, you have so much firepower and advantage going into the assault that you are going to win 90% of the time as long as your team isn’t just jumping up and down for the entire match. The main problem is the power up/vehicle/turret dispersion heavily favours the Empire, compared to the feeble Rebel defence. With the Empire, you already have the two AT-ATs. On top of that, you can get TIE Fighters and Inceptors, Darth Vader force choking Rebel scum and AT-STs which can overrun the Rebel forces easily. You can also steal Rebel turrets and turn them round to kill the retreating Rebels, giving you even more firepower at your disposal. Moreover, the fact that the Rebels are constantly being pushed back and the spawn points mean that you can often get Rebels spawning just as the Empire rushes through the area, Stormtroopers can easily camp spawn points and vehicle drop locations, knowing that the defenders can’t do the same.