On the 4th of October, the Private Beta for Star Wars Battlefront 2 started and gave Xbox One and Playstation 4 gamers a chance to have a first look at what the highly anticipated game would offer them. As of the 6th of October, the beta is open for all to download and play (and Xbox even threw in a free multiplayer weekend).
I’m normally not someone that enjoys multiplayer games and for that reason I almost never have Xbox Live Gold active, but somehow the trailers for this game managed to get my attention.
I’m not afraid to admit it may have been the graphical side of the game that managed to get it on my radar. Just look at any of the many online gameplay video’s and you’ll see just how stunning this one can be, but more on that later.
In the full game you’ll get 18 locations to play with, which is a lot more than the measly 4 you got in the original game when it released. In this Beta, you’ll be able to test 3 different locations:
On Naboo, you’ll get to play as either the Clone Troopers, defending the palace until reinforcements arrive in a game mode labeled Galactic Assault. When the level starts you’re tasked with stopping a massive MTT tank from getting close to the building, you can fire your regular weapons at it for minimal damage, but it’ll be more efficient to pick up the decicated Ion Disruptors (although they are slow to aim and shoot).
Or you’ll play as the droid army attacking the palace and taking out the enemies taking aim at the MTT. Either way, you’ll be playing a gorgeous looking map with 20 on 20 fast-paced action. In typical Battlefield/Battlefront fashion, you’ll be also be able to crew vehicles or control special characters if you save up enough points. My only complaint with the beta (and probably the final game) is how rare it is to actually get to play as a hero: everyone is saving up 5000 points to use them and then you’re not allowed to pick them because ‘the maximum number is already deployed’. This is ever so dissapointing because I have yet to test the Lightsaber combat (and that IS a huge draw to Star Wars games after all, at least it is for me) –> Luckily the Arcade mode lets you fight with Darth Maul to your hearts content, but it gets old rather fast vs the AI.
In both Galactic Assault and Strike you’ll get to play as 4 different base classes and choose a different one everytime you die:
- Assault (best type of grenade, medium range but fast, rifle or shotgun)
- Heavy (deployable shield, walking sentry, minigun)
- Officer (Stat boosts, deployable turret, regular blaster)
- Specialist (targetting, Invisibility cloak, sniper rifle)
You also get to equip different weapons and mods to affect things like damage, range, cooldown speed etc. But perhaps the biggest bonus comes from Star Cards which can increase the length or efficiency of your special abilities. Equipping the right card on a class can really have a huge impact on how you perform. As in recent trends you’ll also get to unlock cosmetical changes, the coolest of which are fancy emotes or victory poses. All of the above can be gained by opening crates. You get a daily crate with random cards, you can unlock class- and ship-specific crates by playing with them or you can use earned currency or real money to purchase the crate of your choice. Here’s a sampling of me opening 4 of them in the beta and getting some Han Solo stuff.
Besides the Naboo level, you also have a ‘Strike’ map on Takodana, a lush forest zone with a temple in the center. In this game-mode you’ll have to play a sort of capture the flag where one team has to steal an artifact and get it to an extraction zone. The map is smaller (but more vertical) than the Naboo one and you also don’t get to use any vehicles here. The number of players is also reduced: it’s and 8-vs-8 shootfest. It felt slightly faster than the Galactic Assault mode but I have yet to decide which ones is my favourite. (I did enjoy sniping with the Specialist a lot more in this one)
Lastly, we have the StarFighter Assault map: Fondor. It’s a enormous spacebatlle where one side plays the offense (again) while the other has to be on the defensive and take down any attackers. This mode looks equally, if not more, stunning than the FPS modes but I couldn’t quite get the hang of the controls using a controller. I couldn’t help shake the feeling that a Mouse & Keyboard combination would be far better suited for this type of control.
and some gameplay footage:
I’m still glad it’s present as it wouldn’t feel like a true Star Wars game if it weren’t, but I just have this ominous vision that I’ll never master it. Time will tell… It’s also the main reason I never spent my points on aircrafts in the Galactic Assault mode: I’d just crash it way too soon an embarass myself and my team.
To come back to the graphics: They are simply stunning! The amount of detail shown here is breathtaking and a real showpiece for what the current generation consoles are capable off. I ran it smoothly on my Xbox One, but I did notice that some textures popped in when I was standing still. In the forest area you could see more and more vegetation getting layered on top of each other the longer you kept staring at the ground. It makes me wonder how the Xbox One X will handle this as I can imagine the extra computing power should help immensely in this area.
On Naboo, I didn’t really notice anything like this and I’m still getting over how stunning it looked when leaves were blowing in the wind, doves were taking flight before my feet and water puddles were reflecting everything like it ain’t nobody’s business! What the Frostbite engine can pull off is truly awe-inspiring!
I don’t know about you, but this hands-on has definitely convinced me to get the game when it releases. If the story mode is any good, it might just be the best Star Wars game ever. (scoot over, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast!)