I got my hands on both the PC and PS4 beta for Star Wars: Battlefront last night! I played for about 4 hours between both systems, and definitely have some thoughts on what is easily one of my more anticipated games of the entire year.
Sorta “Meh” Sorta “Woah”
My first impressions were actually a bit flat. For the first half hour I was thinking along the lines of, “aw crap… this is it?” The graphics are gorgeous — especially on consoles which surprised me — but the gameplay was a huge letdown from what I was expecting.
Over the next few hours my opinion started to take on a little more shape. I unlocked a few more weapons, played several rounds of each mode, got to pilot all of the vehicles, etc. I really, really like the system of picking up tokens or powerups around the map to spawn vehicles. This is a brilliant alternative to camping vehicle spawns. Basically, you run around playing and there will be these faded blue hologram looking tokens that you pick up and suddenly you realize you can take control of a Snowspeeder or an AT-ST, or a TIE Interceptor, or become Darth Vader, etc.
Speaking of Darth Vader, the 40 player mode has the hero characters as tokens. I saw Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker running around the map all willy-nilly throwing their lightsabers, force jumping around, and basically slaughtering everyone. I was spawn camped by Darth Vader — that wasn’t very fun. The heroes do have this sense of “WOAH” and are incredibly powerful. Vader threw his lightsaber 50 yard to kill me. I was too impressed to be pissed off.
The maps in the beta are really bad. I think this is where most of my “meh” comes from. The Hoth battle mode is a tiny map with a rather boring mechanic of having to either turn on or off these stations that call in Y-Wings to bombard AT-ATs lumbering toward the Rebel base. The other mode was way too deathmatchy for me and felt really small as well.
I wish the maps were larger, and the objectives more open or involved or something. I went in expecting Battlefield maps, but found myself in a relatively tiny map with boring, one dimensional objectives. They only feel larger because there’s this absolutely stunning and gorgeous skybox. They nailed the atmosphere.
Unlocks are decent, albeit a little simple. You rank up, earn credits, and buy unlocks as they become available. I don’t know if what we’re seeing is the beta version of the unlock system? I hope there’s more to it like some of the more involved Battlefield unlock and customization systems. Right now it’s more like you reach rank 4 and get the next blaster.
One of the best features is the party implementation. You can form a party and even choose one other person to be your partner. Graev and I formed our party and partnered each other allowing us to share our primary “hand” cards. Basically the secondary weapons like Thermal Detonators and sniper rifle cool downs.
Battlefront on PC vs PS4
Going in I thought I would be all about PC master race, but I enjoyed the PS4 version more. Battlefront controls beautifully on a console. On the PS4, the graphics and performance were beautiful 60fps and smooth. The controls were mapped perfectly — best flight controls I’ve experienced. The interface was 100% identical to the PC interface, so I’m betting consoles are the primary platform. There wasn’t a dedicated server browser either. You pretty much just chose the mode you want and clicked join. It found a server for you.
Tonight I’m going to record both versions and upload the video(s). I’ll shoot you guys a link in the comments or maybe make another post. Edit: Video is now available below.
Overall Impressions of Battlefront
I had fun; I can check that box, but something is still missing… The maps were small and boring in terms of what was involved despite having gorgeous graphics, amazing atmosphere, and capturing a realistic Star Wars feel. I hope more maps, modes, and features unlocked in the full version will give the game what it needs.