This past weekend, at San Diego Comic-Con, I had an opportunity to play Star Wars: Battlefront. It’s been a long time coming since we’ve had a proper Star Wars game (Kinect Star Wars doesn’t count), so when I found out the game was going to be playable at Nerd HQ, I jumped for joy. The Battlefront demo was available for both PS4 and PC, with the former focusing on split-screen co-op and the latter a 20 vs. 20 player battle.
This Is Not Battlefield
One of the first things I noticed is that the game doesn’t play like a Battlefield mod. The original games by Pandemic Studios had always been compared to Battlefield because of gameplay similarities. Considering this game is made by DICE, the creators of Battlefield, the game is surprisingly differentiated from that series. If anything, the game felt more accessible compared to Battlefield, which is probably for the best considering that the Star Wars has a broad appeal. In this case, accessibility is not necessarily a bad thing, considering how even some core gamers find Battlefield to be a bit frustrating.
The traditional class loadout system from both the original Battlefront and the Battlefield series is gone. Instead, players have customizable loadouts. Players can pick from a variety of primary weapons, gadgets and explosives. I certainly hope that the final game will have more weapons to choose from, considering the demo lacked both a sniper rifle and a blaster pistol, two weapons you’ll want in your arsenal considering the size of the game’s maps.
Aerial combat was crisp and intuitive, with easy-to-use controls. While DICE has been notorious for making aerial combat difficult to master, I believe that players will find the flying mechanics to be refreshing. My only gripe about aerial combat so far is the fact that you need to find powerups on the map in order to fly the vehicles in the game. It took me a little while before I figured that out, but once I did, it was refreshing to pilot an X-wing over the frozen battlefield of Hoth.
Game Modes Galore!
As I mentioned earlier, I had the opportunity to play both multiplayer and spit screen co-op. The co-op survival mission took place on Tatooine and pitted players against several waves of stormtroopers. The game mode is simple enough: you and another player must survive six waves of enemies, with a limited number of respawns shared between both players. Having the option to play split screen co-op is always refreshing, especially in an era where there is a huge emphasis on online multiplayer.
The multiplayer game mode I played was called Walker Assault. The main objective in this game type involves the Rebel players destroying the Imperial walkers before they can destroy their base. The Imperial players must defend their walkers from Rebel players. It may come to no surprise that the odds of winning are in favor of the Imperial players, as the Rebels lost twice in a row; I talked to a guy who played as the Empire and he came to the same conclusion. One issue I had with multiplayer is that I felt that the map was too big for a 40-player versus match, though this could be due to the fact that not all player slots were full.
While I certainly enjoyed playing Battlefront for the first time, I couldn’t help but feel that the game needs more content and polish. Of course, this was an alpha build of the game, and EA has teased more announcements in the coming months. Currently, EA is expected to release more information on Star Wars: Battlefront next month at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim.
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