It is finally here! The granddaddy of all video games of 2017, Star Wars Battlefront II. Star Wars fans and general gamers have been waiting all year, and EA has given us a little appetizer in the form of the beta release, before the main course in November.
So what has EA learned from the release of the first game two years ago? Will it pack more of a punch, giving gamers more a of a complete game than the previous release? Let’s dive in and find out!
Star Wars Battlefront 2 Beta Pros and Cons
Like its predecessor, Star Wars Battlefront 2 delivers a knockout blow in the graphics department. Characters and environments look absolutely stunning. Whether you are running through the streets of Theed or flying above Fondor, you will feel like you are right there in the worlds that Lucasfilm has created.
I have been playing the beta on a regular Playstation 4 console, so I am going to guess that the graphics will blow your socks off on a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. Seriously, there is no complaining on a standard Playstation 4. The gameplay looks almost as good as the cinematic cut screens, and that is saying a lot!
If you love the sounds of Star Wars vehicles and just general sounds of blasters, lightsabers and droids, then this game is going to overpower your senses. EA has added true-to-life (is that even possible in a make believe world) TIE-Fighter flight sounds, X-Wing blasters, Clone trooper blasters, and even the great “Roger-Roger” from Battle Droids. It is a totally immersive experience. Add some John Williams inspired music, and you have a cherry on top of that ice cream sundae of a game!
Starfighter battles in Star Wars Battlefront seemed a bit clunky and sort of thrown in as an afterthought. The team at EA has taken that experience, hidden it in a lock box, inside of a closet, in a house that has since been blown to smithereens. Battlefront 2 has totally redesigned the Starfighter gameplay in a great way! Yes there are some similarities to the original (and one thing that I wish they left in), but it feels totally different and more polished.
The steering controls are less tight than before, which takes a little getting used to. Familiar vehicles from the first game are given new abilities. Not only do other players pose a threat to you in space, but your environment does as well. Imperial battle stations will fire on Rebel ships, making it tougher on the Rebel Alliance players, but adding a sort of realism to the experience.
Heroes and Ships in Assaults
When EA first described the method for gaining access to a hero or special ship in combat, I questioned their thought process immediately. After playing the beta, my fears have subsided. To gain access to a hero character (Darth Maul, Rey, Han Solo, and Boba Fett are the only ones available in the beta) you have to achieve a certain score, then use those points to respawn as that character.
Every time you die in ground assaults, you can choose from one of four types of troops, or if you have enough points during that round, one of any number of ships, specialized troops, or heroes. It really makes you want to gain as many points so you can play as Darth Maul or Rey, which can be gained with 5000 points.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 Beta Cons
One thing I am not a fan of in games are lootcrates. These random drops purchased from a vendor as you make your way through the game seem almost unfair. I have felt inadequate in the game many times due to players who have spent hours upon hours racking up money to purchase lootcrates and gearing up their players.
It would be different is was buying lootcrates for one character or vehicle, but in this game you need to beef up four different types of troops, Heroes, and four different types of ships. Each troop/hero/ship has various things to increase such as three abilities, emotes and weapons. This game introduces a crafting system for the weapons. Each weapon has three different abilities as well, which you will have get crafting money (through lootcrates) to upgrade them.
Yes, I know I said this was a positive thing, but some changes made from the first game have me frustrated. The biggest is being able to lock on to ships and shoot them. This is probably just me, but I would rather be able to lock on. The A-Wing does have a special ability that allows this, but I haven’t seen it on other ships. Plus it is a special ability that only lasts a few seconds. While this may not bother some, it is a major disappointment for me.
The game interface needs a little work as well. Everything has a warbly holographic look to it, making it almost impossible to read anything from a distance (like me sitting on my couch looking at a 46″ TV – hey, it could just be that I am 41 and losing it as well). I know they are shooting for a Star Wars ships system interface, but something really needs to be either redesigned or just take out the holographic look before the game launches in November. Concentrate on reading something to long, and you will have to put the controller down and reach for the Advil.
One of the final issues I have is with finding enemies in ground assault maps. When playing as a clone trooper, it is tough to see B1 Battle Droids against the background of the city of Theed. They blend in really well. It almost seems like a competitive advantage for the Separatists. I don’t know that this can be fixed without compromising the integrity of the look and feel of real Star Wars though. In a game this good, it is just a minor issue anyway.
Major improvements are found across the board in at least the beta. The games comes with a single player campaign mode, which is not available in the beta. The only thing you can do in the beta is participate in a ground assault (Theed), Starfighter Assault (Above Fondor), and arcade mode (which I haven’t played).
I get the feeling that the beta was released for load testing on the network, and for minor improvements. The game certainly feels polished, aside from the horrible user interface outside of gameplay. I only experienced issues once, and that was with the starfighter assault. It might have been my Internet connection, but everything kept stuttering, making it impossible to play.
I get the feeling that EA has a major hit on their hands with this one. If you haven’t played it yet, you have until October 9th to play the beta. Or you can just wait until the full release in November.