Star Wars Battlefront II Beta Impressions

May the force be with us all! Wow, what a fun game. Sure, it’s just a beta but it was a blast. I had no intention of purchasing this game at launch but I have it pre-ordered now. Luckily I had some in store credit I forgot about but still, EA convinced me to buy a game that I was likely going to wait on until Christmas. We could have a conversation about the power of open beta’s but we’ll save that for another time. Today, the conversation is that Battlefront II is a massive improvement on the original.

To be fair, the original was actually a lot of fun. I personally put a good 50 – 60 hours into it and had a lot of fun. It was one of the few online shooters I was actually good at. I’m surprised I didn’t play more as I am usually the gamer who is near the bottom of the rankings but I still have fun where in Battlefront, I was consistently near the top if not the top player.

There is something exciting about engaging in a Star Wars game and this includes the original. From the environments, to the characters, to the sound design, you feel like you are experiencing Star Wars. I felt even more this way in this beta. As with any beta, there is limited content. There are three modes and one map for each mode. The main mode is the Assault mode where 40 players (20 each team) face off against one another. This mode takes place in Naboo and boy does it look amazing. The objective is for the Separatist team to infiltrate the Naboo castle and overtake it. Along the way, the Separatists are accompanied by a massive MTT which the Republic is tasked with destroying. If they are unable to destroy it before it reached the castle, they must then defend the castle from the invading Separatist droids.

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This mode was far more interesting to me than the walker assault in the original Battlefront. The objective was clear, how to damage the MTT was clear and the stages to the battle were outstanding. My only complaint is that it seems extremely hard to win if you are on the Separatist team. In fact, I was unclear how to win at all as our team would take the throne room down to zero, the game would go into overtime and then we would lose. While much of the mode was extremely clear, this facet was not and that is a big deal. How to win the match is crucial to playing the game yet I still had fun.

To be upfront, I only played about 90 minutes. I try not to play betas too much as it makes me less excited when the final release comes out. I’ve burnt myself out of a game before it even came out before and I don’t want to do that again.

I also played the space combat mode Starfighter Assault. I enjoyed the matches I played but was unsure about the controls. It felt like a tutorial was needed but I imagine the main game does. Often, the campaign teaches players how to play the game properly and those teachings carry over into online multiplayer. Starfighter Assault takes place in the original trilogy and pits the rebels and Empire against one another. Take flight in an X-Wing or Destroyer and more and have some fun.

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The last mode is the strike mode which is 8 vs 8 on smaller maps in objective game types. My time with the mode included capture the flag basically and it was a great time. This mode took place in the new trilogy and Maz Kanata’s castle. It was a great mode and may be where I spend most of my time. I played more small modes in the original and I like the intimate nature of the maps and modes. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Assault, far more than the original Battlefront and may waste hours in there.

The full release will have more two more modes and many more maps which will be fantastic. I love variety in maps and modes but having too many modes divides the player base too much and makes matchmaking long.  Where the original game had an abundance of modes, I applaud the sequel for reducing the number of modes while increasing the locations and maps.

Battlefront II also adds class combat which was mostly absent from the last game. You could kind of change classes and play as different types of characters but it is more pronounced here and widely fun. There are four classes and I admit I didn’t care for the Officer class. The other three, Assault, Heavy and Specialist were a blast to play as. The Assault class has a moderate amount of health and can attack close to mid range. Their special abilities allow them to do damage and be quick on their feet. Heavy is a bit slower but not annoyingly so. They have a bit more health and fire heavy machine guns. Their abilities make them move slower but allow them to deal massive amounts of damage. The specialist class is about long range. They are snipers and infiltrators. You can sneak up on players with a special ability or take them out from range with the precision of your sniper.

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I had the privilege of playing the beta on PC and it looks incredible. I am excited to play the full campaign in 60+ FPS and high graphics fidelity on my surround sound headset. It is going to be epic and I can hardly wait. This beta demonstrates how much Dice/EA has listened to feedback and I am excited to play the finished product. Now, I need to shoot a few more rebels, imperials, droid or what have you before this beta ends. Pew pew!

 

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