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Star Wars Battlefront

Ever since I first heard, many moons ago, that there was going to be another Battlefront game I have been excited. I and II were great, loved the space battles and since the launch of the PS4 (I’m writing this as a fan and owner of a PS4 – guess it all applies to XBox One as well) with the prospect of a new Battlefront game got me REALLY excited! With the capabilities of next generation consoles – this had the potential and expectancy) to be huge.

I have pretty much played every Star Wars game on just about every different console. One of my favourites was Shadows of the Empire on the N64 because back then, it looked amazing (!) but most of all you could play out a sort of Walker Assault on Hoth in a Snow Speeder. This was particularly amazing because my personal favourite episode of the Star Wars saga is The Empire Strikes Back. They’re all great but it has everything in it, especially the battle of Hoth.

So a while ago when I saw that Battlefront would get (technically) a third instalment I was excited. Now that the beta is here – I am blown away. I have followed the developments at EA regarding the game, read every article and probably more importantly every comment from fans. People have got so comfortable with EA churning out pretty decent games that for some reason they really wanted them to fail with this. Sad really as EA are responsible for some pretty decent games – one of my favourites is the Battlefield franchise. So taking Star Wars and putting it within a Battlefield game, well, won me over. Anything more is a REAL bonus!

I’ve downloaded the beta and pretty much played it to death. I need more. November is just too far away.

Anyway, I jumped straight into Walker Assault as this was my most anticipated game mode and map. It has not disappointed. The map is pretty expansive, texturing is flawless and it is visually stunning to look at. First thing I noticed was that I died. A lot. Also noticed you can crouch but can’t lie down in a prone position like in Battlefield. Also noticed that it is pretty difficult to ‘camp’ – which I like. It is generally frantic and you’re never too far away from a blaster gun battle. I love video games but cannot call myself an avid gamer as I just do not have enough hours in the day. This, as was Battlefield, is a perfect game to remedy that. Whack it on, have a blast and turn it off. Don’t get me wrong it’s hellishly addictive but on the flip side is great when you only have an hour here and an hour there. Also very noticeable is that every player is on a fairly level playing field. Yes you earn XP to trade in for weapon upgrades which give you a slight edge but you don’t need to be an elite level gamer to do well. I love that the pick-ups spawn randomly and it gives everyone a chance to experience every facet of the game and yes, I’m talking about the vehicles. One of the reasons why I am a big fan of the Battlefield franchise is because you don’t play solely as a guy with different guns. The added element of vehicular warfare really does give it an edge and taking this into Battlefront with Walker Assault is AMAZING! The sound effects for each vehicle is spot on – so much so I got goosebumps going into a TIE Fighter and hearing that screechy-roar and the characteristic sounds of the Snow Speeder and AT-AT guns. One thing I would have liked if I was being super picky was to add the mechanical sounds of the AT-AT that you hear in he movies when you are running around its feet.

The air battles are so much fun. The planes on Battlefield were often used to transport players quickly to an advanced part of the map to parachute out, very rarely did you see players strafing, bombing or dog fighting. Obviously realism plays a part in speed and manoeuvring so the great thing is in Battlefront – who knows what’s realistic for the ‘spaceships’?! So differing attack speeds with various weaponry makes the ships very user friendly, makes aerial warfare incredible addictive and fun while being pretty spectacular to watch from the ground. Seeing X-Wings, A-Wings, TIE Fighters and Interceptors dogfighting and shooting at ground objectives is just brilliant!

The Hero pickups are also pretty cool, haven’t had them often enough to fathom out how to use them effectively yet but they’re decent. It’s great that they’re not solely at the disposal of the elite players. If you’re lucky enough to find one randomly dotted around the map then you can do 60 seconds worth of damage (or sooner if your life depletes) while living out your dreams of being Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker – there are other characters in the full game but these are the only two available in the beta.

It will be interesting to see how weapon / character classes are set in the actual release. I guess the 4 guns in the beta are the Battlefield equivalent to a pistol, sniper, SMG and LMG. The unlockable cards are also cool – you can select 3 to have in your ‘hand’, in the beta I opted for a Thermal Grenade, Cyclone rifle (a single shot powerful weapon with enhanced zoom) and I found the personal shield to be quite handy – you have a couple of these to start and scattered around the maps are power ups so the more you find, the more you can use your middle card.

The game feels very balanced – if you’re good – you’ll die less, if you’re new -you’ll die more. This is the only advantage experienced players will have (experience points and upgrades aside), in the beta anyway. I’m excited to see what else you can trade points for in the full game. Assuming there will be a similar way of unlocking weapon specific upgrades the more you use them (as per Battlefield).

I for one think that EA have done a spectacular job based on the beta and cannot wait until it’s official launch in November!