Oh Battlefront, how I loved thee. Tlaen and I broke at least 2 PS2 controllers playing you. So as an avid gamer and Star Wars fan you can only image how SUPER HYPED I have been for the launch of Battlefront. After the heartbreak that is the now defunct Star Wars 1313, the least I can do is console myself with some good old Battlefront action. So here’s my first impressions from the Battlefront Open Beta…
You’ve probably seen screenshots by now. Let me say it’s glorious. I will be the first to tell you I’m a graphics snob, but the graphics are all around awesome. I played on “high” as it was the recommended setting and I didn’t feel like changing it. The details in the environment are fantastic, I especially love the snow on Hoth. That is some realistic looking snow! It always makes me really happy when a game takes the time to add the little things, like footprints in materials that if you were to walk on, would leave foot prints. It’s the little pleasures! The character models were also spot on. There were no customizations available, so generic Storm/Snow Troopers and Rebels is all you got. Still the details were great, all the character models look appropriately weathered and textured. The movements were natural and didn’t seem odd or weird in anyway.
One of the best things about the environment was the details. Not just the graphics, but the little things. Like on the Tatooine mission, if you look up on top of the cliffs there are Tusken Raiders cheering on your deal (or victory, I’m sure they don’t particularly care). On Sullust and Hoth there were ongoing star ship and star fighter battles, looking up into the sky gave you the feeling you really were in the middle of a huge battle. A tiny little ground unit doing your part, while the capital ships and star fighters fight for planetary victory. There were also planetary dangers, cliffs you could run (or jetpack) off (not that I did that >.>;;; ), holes, some with goo, some with critters that could kill you, critters scurrying about small holes under your feet as you run through canyons and around rocks. On Tatooine there were signs of settlement, abandoned camps. The environment is also destructible. AT-ATs can break down your protective wall of rocks to rubble with a volley of shots, tents and pots can be broken and smashed or used as cover (then broken and smashed). All of these details combined for a very immersive experience.
Power Ups & Heroes
I wasn’t lucky enough to snag a Vader or Skywalker power up, actually I think I did once, but it bugged out or something and I didn’t actually get to use it. However, I did pilot a TIE Fighter, AT-AT & AT-ST, as well as several varieties of turrets. I love the tiny cut scene of your character calling in air support or walker support. Again, little details that lead to immersive Star Wars game play. The battle field was also strewn with extra charges for your “cards” which are essentially special gear you can unlock. You start with nothing but can unlock things like thermal detonators, personal and squad shields, and jetpacks.
There were 4 unlockable weapon types in the Beta. 2 Rifles, a pistol and a heavy blaster. All of the weapons and other equipment that you unlock carry over to the other side. I’m not sure if this is how it will be live, but it’s nice not to have to unlock everything again should you want to switch sides, if you are a traitor and interested in such things. Each weapon has it’s own advantages and disadvantages, I mainly stuck to rifles but the pistol was very powerful, with a very fast rate of fire, and was great for close range combat.
I really enjoy the sound in this game. The sounds are as you would expect, accurate to the Star Wars universe. You can also hear AT-STs coming for you from around the bend, and your squad makes (and enemies) yelling. My personal favorite was being told to shake it off as I was blown to bits by a thermal detonator. Thanks for the vote of confidence TK! There are both male and female voices, and characters on both sides which is awesome.
Lag & Whatnot
I only experienced slight lag in the Walker Assault (or when I tried to stream to Twitch). I have no idea where the servers I connected to or what the ping was, if there is a way to discover this I don’t know. It also certainly could have been my internet connection which is unstable at times. The lag wasn’t bad, mostly it was in the sound, gameplay wasn’t impacted too much.
Classes (or Lackthereof)
Honestly, didn’t bother me at all. Why? Cuz you are too busy running around being a badass stormtrooper! Classes? I don’t miss ’em! Point me at the things that need killing and blowing up!
What I Didn’t Like
Really the only thing I didn’t like, and I’m thinking this was just a feature of the beta and not how it will be live, was that I couldn’t pick a side. Excuse me? Do I look like Rebel scum? (The correct answer is no. No I don’t.) I also couldn’t pick a character gender, which I think is also just a beta feature. Those were my only two slight quibbles with the beta. I honestly loved everything about it!
Gameplay Disclaimer: I’m a terrible FPS player. There’s no getting around it, I generally suck! Enjoy me blowing myself up and otherwise getting murdered. I’m a way better mmorpg healer than FPS player. Really. >.>;; Trust me. I’m a healer.
Gameplay: Single Player Mission
The single player missions will be available offline. Actually I ended up recording most of this offline as my internet crapped out on me while I was playing (unbeknownst to me). So single player fans, there will be more missions at launch, and you will be able to play them offline!
This video features both of the available multiplayer options: Walker Assault and the Escape Pods. Watch me suck, watch me die!