Star Wars Battlefront Beta – First Thoughts

Yesterday the beta for Star Wars Battlefront was released and I spent last night trying it out on the PS4. I’m not going to fill the page with intricate details on what is and isn’t available in the beta and the specific ins-and-outs, but give a summary of my thoughts after the first evening with it.

As a Battlefield 4 player I was concerned about Battlefront. This is what DICE have been working on for the last couple of years and if they get this wrong it doesn’t bode well for Battlefield 5 next year. I shouldn’t have worried as Battlefront is excellent.

For Battlefield players you’ll be instantly at home with the controls, movement, etc, yet it’s different enough that there’s a lot new to learn. I played mainly as infantry, but also had a chance to fly a tie-fighter and snow speeder. As you can imagine it was busy and getting onto the limited servers needed patience and, despite how busy it was, I never saw any lag or rubber-banding the entire evening, which bodes well for the netcode.

Battlefront introduced a concepts of card – you use earned money from past games to purchase new cards with extra abilities and weapons. You then assign up to 3 cards to your “hand” for the upcoming game. These cards may be, for examples, grenades or power-ups. The latter is assigned to the middle card which is activated by holding down triangle. The other two cards are assigned to L1 and R1. Unlike Battlefield you can’t go prone (although you can kneel) and there’s no spotting. You also have a partner on the battlefield, someone you can spawn on but also share your card hands with – you can either use your own hand or your partners.

Weapon unlocks aren’t as finessed as Battlefield, with whole guns being the only unlock – there are no scope or barrel options, for example.

The graphics look amazing and, thanks to the sound effects as well, you really feel as if you’re playing the film. Music is used to good effect, particularly in the menus but has a tendency to stutter at times, which ruins it a little.

I also had a play of Base Command, the online (and soon mobile App) companion game that allows you to unlock additional cards. Base Command is a turn-based card game which unlike, say, Battlefield 4 Commander, doesn’t influence the video game at all. I’m not going into how it’s played now but I found it easy to pick up and fun to play. And, unlike Commander, because it’s not trying to connect to a real-game and because a web version is available, it should be playable anywhere (I couldn’t play Commander during my lunch at work due to WiFi restrictions – this won’t be an issue here).

I’d held off pre-ordering Battlefront but after last night I’ll be at Game on Saturday to do just that. Meantime, I’ve got another evening of playing the Beta… shame it’s just the one map but, like Siege of Shanghai, by the time the finished game appears I should be quite an expert on it 😉

Darkstorm40
About Darkstorm40
Relatively recent convert to Battlefield but now hooked. Not the best aim or sharpest reflexes but good team player. Hates people complaining unnecessarily and believes you should always offer solutions - yes, I'm looking at all the Battlefield 4 haters. General IT bod during the day and all-round geek at all other times. Owner of bfmedic.com.

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