Star Wars: Battlefront Beta Impressions (PC and PS4)

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.

[su_youtube_advanced url=”” width=”700″ rel=”no” fs=”no” wmode=”transparent”][/su_youtube_advanced]

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.

  • I agree the maps are very small when compared to the Battlefield series. But DICE specifically stated that Battlefield != Battlefront in any way.

    I played the PC version only, but it was abundantly apparent that this game was created quite literally for consoles and console gamers. The lack of options when joining a game is quite console-y. PC gamers have always enjoyed options when it comes to gaming. We get to choose servers, we get to choose graphics settings, we get to choose everything. Consoles have that zero-control-but-instant-jump-in-jump-out-because-mom-yelled-for-you feel. I know, I had a console when I was 12 😛

    My master race feelings aside, taking those options away from PC gamers in this day and age is a tragedy. I remember disliking the browser-based server integration for the Battlefield series when it first came out… but at least we could still browse servers with it.

    As for the buddy system… I had some very beta experiences with it. I was playing with a single friend, we joined the same party (easy), we became heterosexual game partners (easy) and then clicked a game mode and were at the loading screen (easy). Checked the current game board for players, and sure enough there we both were. Joined the battle from the setup your items screen…. and we were in different games.

    That lasted about 20 minutes, but then we got it sorted finally (by simply trying over and over, we were not doing anything incorrect). I also managed to jumppack once and upon landing fall through the world. Woohoo! Turns out you keep falling, and then land on an invisible ground about 300m or so below the map. Where you are stuck because there was no respawn/suicide feature that I saw.

    Beyond that, the shooting part of the game was alright. Definitely not a top-notch twitchy shooter, more of a casual play oriented FPS. Which is fine, DICE said that was the intention. The Hoth battle for the AT-AT/Rebel Camp is definitely one sided… but duh. AT-ATs vs infantry, wasn’t hard to figure out that would be borked. (For some real laughs, get behind Rebel lines and steal one of their tower defense systems. They will spawn between you and the Imperial advance, and you can just destroy them with abandon as they are spawned up on a platter.)

    So yes, I agree. Meh and Alright. My worry is that them unlocking everything for the “launch” (read: Demo is not real beta) there will not be enough tactical options to keep me interested. Like the medic pack, ammo packs etc from Battlefield. No reason for tactical squad play when you just insta-respawn, instantly regen HP, and have no ammo to worry about. But we will see!

  • I played last night and while it looks and sounds absolutely amazing, I found the gameplay itself to be underwhelming. Coming from battlefield its a very arcadey experience but I guess battlefront was always that way.

    Definitely not a pre-order for me and unless the unlock system and/or guns are 10x better in the real game I don’t think I’m dropping $60 on this.

  • Oh thank you for reminding me Krigare! The deluxe pre-order thing is a total freaking scam. You get access to like 3 weapons early (that you can fully unlock by level 5 anyway) and access to a map a week early?

    Really? That’s it? Wtf? At least when you went the extra mile and got premium for Battlefield you got all the future “xpacs” for free (and lets be real, those were basically just a single map DLC each time so even still not a great benefit, but at least it was SOMETHING tangible).

    $10 extra. Play a map a week before everyone else gets it free. Hmmm.

  • Given the initial reviews and impressions from watching Twitch, I’ll likely be waiting till Christmas when Battlefront can be picked up for $30.

  • It looks fantastic on the ps4. Sound is great too. It looks like they have 8 or 9 pvp modes available at launch. One is just space combat, which is cool. My biggest concern is with the maps. It seems that each game mode has a single map, which could hurt replayability. Hopefully I’m wrong about that, and each game type will have several maps that is cycles through. I did pre-order, as I’ve been looking forward to a star wars shooter for quite awhile. I’ve gotten tired of the call of duty franchise.

  • It was fun, that’s for sure, but I don’t think it has lasting appeal like the 250 hours I put into bf4. It’s Dumbed down, Where the hell are the classes? AND WHERE THE HELL IS THE MAP!

    I can’t for the life of me understand why there was no Map available ? Is it rank unlocked ?

  • We share the same concerns. I think the replayability is very low if the maps are all of this caliber. Hoth was fun, but I can’t see myself playing that small’ish map with such a straight forward objective more than a couple dozen times before my drive to play it again is gone.

  • Based on everything I’ve seen I’m not all that impressed. Yes, it is Star Wars. Yes, it scratches those nostalgic itches for Star Wars, but lets be honest… its EA. It will have several problems, including bugs, poor server support, mounds of DLC w/ gated content. This game is cashing in on its name, that is all.

    There are to many games that I want that will eat into my limited amount of time. Battle Front does not warrant the hype that is being thrown on it. Once its released we’ll see the constant videos of the crazy trick shots a staple to this genre but then the hype will die down and it will be onto Fallout 4, then Far Cry Primal for a couple weeks, and then Star Citizen/No Man’s Sky and Battlefront will lose its luster.

    From the bits I’ve seen played, honestly it looks to arcade-y without enough substance to get really popular.

  • I bought the PC deluxe version for the very reason of getting access to some maps free and earlier thinking they would charge for the new map when it came out in December. The game play was exactly like you state with “whoa and meh” all in the same sentence. All the missions that were grayed out gave me hope that if I didn’t like one type of game play I can just do something different. The flight controls horrible in my opinion but I was using a mouse/keyboard. The heavy weapons on the AT-AT didn’t like up with the sights, hit much lower where i was aiming. I understand that at something close but the medium to almost far were the same way.
    My biggest issue was the announcement of the “Ultimate” version which included a season pass. To be honest, if they said there was a season pass before the beta, I wouldn’t bought Battlefront at all. I can find no real documentation on what it entails or when they plan to activate it by adding new content. Another 50 bucks for new maps? I’m disgusted.