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Star Wars Battlefront beta impressions: Better than the prequel films

Hayden Dingman | Oct. 8, 2015
She's got it where it counts, kid.

On the other hand, Drop Zone isn’t very Battlefront-y. No vehicles, no heroes. Nothing but grunts with assault rifles.

For that classic Battlefront feel, you need to play the other multiplayer mode: Walker Assault, a.k.a. what I saw back at E3. This one...ugh. It’s the “big” mode in the Battlefront beta, topping out at 40 players. Plus it’s got AT-ATs! And AT-Sts! And A-Wings! And Y-Wings!

Star Wars Battlefront Beta

Okay, so that last one is completely AI-controlled, and the AT-ATs just walk in a straight line the whole time. But uh...they exist. And you can become Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader if you’re the lucky person who snatches the corresponding power-up.

It’s just not a very interesting game mode. It lacks the dynamism that makes the Battle of Hoth such a classic set-piece, and it lacks the player count and the player agency that made Battlefield 2142’s Titan Mode feel epic and chaotic. The map’s too massive and too empty, the film’s struggle between A-Wings and AT-ATs practically nonexistent, and an Imperial team can win with one lightsaber tied behind its back at the moment because no Rebel team seems to know what the hell they’re supposed to be doing. Of those complaints, only the last one has any chance of improving once the game releases.

And we barely need to touch on the singleplayer/co-op Survival mode included here. It’s a repurposed Horde mode. That’s it. Nothing particularly clever about it—just fight off waves of enemies. If you want to do that in a Star Wars setting, cool, but I didn’t stick around long. Though in the beta it’s the only way you’ll get to see the Tatooine map.

Star Wars Battlefront Beta

It’s worth seeing. All three maps—Hoth, Sullust, and Tatooine—are gorgeous. I knew that the game looked pretty coming out of E3, but seeing the game running at Ultra on a PC? It’s sharp. This is a game ripe for screenshots, with massive space battles taking place miles overhead and the classic red lasers pew-pewing past your head.

On a 980 Ti I’m able to crank Ultra, 1920x1080 at 100 to 110 frames per second, which is stunning. I’ve had a few hitches so far, but it’s hard to tell what’s server-side and what’s not. Also, one hard crash-to-desktop, because it wouldn’t be a Battlefieldfront beta without some issues. We’ll see how the game holds up when it opens to everyone.

Bottom line

I’m loving Drop Zone, I’m dreading Walker Assault, and I’m bored with Survival. Still, one out of three isn’t bad for a beta, and I’m definitely looking forward to Battlefront more now than I was after E3.

 

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