Gaming

Star Wars Battlefront II – Beta Impressions

When the first modern reboot of Star Wars Battlefront came out in late 2015, I had already pre-ordered it. To get a modern re-telling the classic 2003 game was a dream come true. Let’s face it – I love everything Star Wars.

I think it was because of this dire need to play a new Star Wars game on the modern consoles that I forgave the original Star Wars Battlefront game for a lot of it’s shortcomings. In the end the gameplay was pretty shallow and some of it boiled down to getting to the right spot on the map and finding the hero or vehicle cards first. It looked great and sounded wonderful but only being a multiplayer game and a fairly shallow experience at that put off quite a few players. Add to that the expensive season pass to be able to play the four DLC packs and suddenly the player base was split as well.

I’m not sure of the motivation but it seems DICE and EA have taken a lot of player feedback and made some very impressive changes, some of which can be seen in the Closed and Open Betas that have been on over the last week. I can safely say that after playing the Beta, all of my fears about the sequel having a cookie cutter approach have completely disappeared. Star Wars Battlefront 2 is clearly shaping up to be one of the best Star Wars experiences in many years.

Firstly, they have a single player campaign. Set straight after The Return of the Jedi you play Iden Versia, the leader of an Elite Stormtrooper pilot unit call Inferno Squad. From there the plot apparently spans the 30 years leading up to The Force Awakens. The short preview video shown in the beta gives you a taste of what looks to be a very engaging single player campaign.

Secondly, there will be no season pass for the new game. EA and DICE have confirmed all future DLC content will be free. This means that the player base won’t be split when engaging in multiplayer, which should keep the servers quite full. This was one of the main failings of the first game – it was very hard to get a game on any of the DLC because no one seemed to be playing them.

Thirdly, they have made Star Wars Battlefront 2 more in line with the class based system of the Battlefield games. Finally aiming down the gun sight actually does some good and third person is still effective, but the first person view is more useful. This latest Battlefront game finally feels like a proper DICE game. You can customise each class and weapon too, much in the same way the Battlefield series has been renounced for. You even get crates, very similar to Battlefield 1’s system, but with more options for additional perk cards.

The graphics and sound have been ramped up a notch too. Great support for HDR lighting and extra oomph to the sound when you are wielding those lightsabers. The level design seems to be much grander in scale too. You know you are in for something special when the most boring Naboo location ends up being great fun.

As part of the beta other modes I was able to try was an arcade mode. This mode allows you to play skirmishes against AI, plus get some practice at playing the heroes. The heroes don’t seem quite as buffed up as they were in the original game but they still pack a serious punch. In the Arcade mode for the beta I got to play Darth Maul and he really moves quickly with dual lightsaber in tow. With the Arcade Hero mode you have 20 seconds remaining and get 3 additional seconds for every kill you make.

Everything about this sequel screams quality and I think EA and DICE may have gotten it right this time. I enjoyed the first Battlefront but it was severely limited in scope. Star Wars Battlefront 2 looks to be the true Star Wars experience we have been waiting for. Bring on November 17th.

Open Beta played on Xbox One.

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