Monday, 12 October 2015

First Impressions: Star Wars Battlefront Open Beta

I downloaded the beta on my PS4 due to it being Star Wars. Personally, I thought it was going to be okay, probably a Battlefield clone with a couple of new mechanics and, most importantly, need PS Plus (like the Battlefield Hardline beta). Thankfully, I was wrong. Oh so wrong.

I had a quick go at the single player mode first so as to get used to the controls before jumping into online. Now, I won't talk about the graphics quite yet (although they were amazing) but instead the gameplay. The mode that was open to us in beta was to survive Tatooine in six distinct waves. We could try to survive either alone, with another player online or local splitscreen (great to see this feature starting to return to our games). The first waves is against some normal Stormtroopers, these were dispatched with ease, with the blaster giving great feedback and allowing for some great shots. Next, was the heavy Stormtroopers. These took a few shots to kill and allowed the game to show that the guns slowly over heat (no ammo here!). Suddenly, a drop ship fell to the ground and I was tasked with protecting it. I bounded over the map with my jump pack and just as I touched down next to it the next enemy arrived. The AT-ST. I equipped my grenade launcher and set to work, jumping over the map and taking pot shots at the AT-ST. My drop ship dropped some power-ups and the AT-ST fell. Next up were the sniper Stormtroopers and then jump Stormtroopers. These had shields that you could either run through and blow up from the inside or wait for them to fly and... Boom (pleasing animation as well). The final wave had a mixture of all these enemies. I took down all the enemies besides the AT-ST. I turned round at it was there, just in front of me. I turned round and ran (my jumppack was still recharging). I dipped behind cover, which was then destroyed by the AT-ST and took some shots against it. Rinsed and repeated until the AT-ST was brought to its knees. I had won.

I then had a go at the same mode but with Harry playing as well. This time, we were able to co-ordinate our attacks and the waves fell by quickly. Suddenly, I hear a shout, Harry had died (thanks to falling off of the screen, not losing to the enemies, I might add - Harry). Thankfully, you have respawns and we finished the waves quickly after that, using the red barrels to defeat the AT-ST. The split-screen barely affected the gameplay except for the screen being slightly stretched past my TV screen.

The next mode I played was Drop Run, a 16 player capture-the-flag game with one team playing as the Rebels and the other as the Empire. The speed of the gameplay was great, with grenades flying all over the place and lasers brushing your ears. Looking up at the sky, you saw an impressive dogfight between the Rebels and the Empire (sadly, you can't play up there in this mode). I managed to get to the top of the leader board once or twice by a mixture of blind luck, response times and power-ups. The power-ups range from turrets to thermal imploders, that explode and then implode, causing an awesome effect. There was a bit of lag on this mode but that is expected with an open beta of course. A couple of improvements that I have though is that the blaster shot colours could be different for both teams and that the red outline showing areas of the map that you can't go to should be a different colour to the red outline showing where enemies are!

Not my most kills but I got to the top!
Right, I think it's time to talk about the graphics. Just like the difference in graphics between GTA IV and GTA V (both on the same console), it shows that with time, things do get better. The lighting is gorgeous and it looks like you are on the set of the movies. The skybox is really busy and detailed, with Star Destroyers and other ships flying around shooting each other. On the ground, footprints are left, as are the scars of blaster weapons and abandoned drop ships and vehicles litter the floor. Gas and liquids erupt from hazards and the opening to the Tatooine mission was simply extraordinary.

Finally, I went in to the mode of all modes. Walker Assault, with 40 players fighting it out to either destroy two massive AT-ATs or keep them alive long enough for them to reach their destination in the frozen planet of Hoth (depending on whether you were the Rebels or the Imperialists, respectively). The power-up list grew here, with you being able to command A-Wings and AT-STs as well as being able to be Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (minus Mark Hamill, unfortunately). Over the couple of games, I played as Luke and 'forced' my way through a couple of people and then died. I sniped a few people with my Cycler Rifle and died - sadly a sniper shot to the head only nearly kills people. Then Darth Vader appears and I think to myself, I may as well get a couple of points before my eventual death at the hands of the Dark Side. I steady my aim and just as I line up my shot, with Vader walking over, when, what I can only describe as Lightsaber Boomerang comes out of nowhere and cuts my head off. In the next game I got my revenge and was able to kill Vader. In other news, I was able to fly an A-Wing and Tie-Fighter and Harry was able to be an AT-ST. The vehicles were nice although the controls weren't as intuitive as the normal controls were.

Overall, I loved the beta and it has changed my opinion of getting the game from a maybe to a YES. I can't wait to try out all the modes and hopefully the feedback that EA got from the beta will help the game to improve further (although it's EA, so don't hold your breath).

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

P.S. What's your highest number of kills and best time in the single-player mode? Put them down in the comments.

Single-Player mode:
Satamer: 10:59 Minutes

Co-op Mode:
Harry/Satamer: 7:09 Minutes

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