This weekend marked the start of Star Wars Battlefront 2’s open beta. The weeks leading up to the game’s release in November, EA have been dropping trailers and sneak peeks into what the new game has in store. The rebooted original game didn’t exactly get a lot of praise when it released towards the end of 2015, due to a lack of content and then a dwindling player base as the weeks went on. Towards the end of the season pass time period, the game had a sufficient amount of content, but it was too little too late for the doomed re-release of Battlefront.
EA have promised Battlefront 2 will not be a carbon copy of the original game. With three times the amount of content coming out on launch than the whole of the last game all together, it has already positioned itself in a better place than it’s predecessor.
This time around Battlefront 2 also has a single-player campaign, something else which the first game was heavily criticized for. However none of the story mode was available to play in the beta, which is understandable, keeping that story under wraps is the best way to go. With the release of The Last Jedi also on the horizon, budding Star Wars fans will be chomping at the bit to get their fix of Star Wars lore.
I got home last night and the first thing I did was start the download of the beta, the base download was a little over 20GB, which isn’t bad compared to some game sizes nowadays, however this is likely to raise a bit due to adding the rest of the maps, and game modes in the full release.
The Beta allows access to three game modes. Galactic Conquest, which is a 20 vs 20 battle in Nabo. Where you will play as a Clone Trooper, or as a Droid. There are 4 basic class types, an Assault Trooper, Heavy, Officer, and Specialist. They follow the same tropes as any other class-based shooter, each class serving as a role in the battle and you can swap and change in between deaths.
In Galactic Conquest, as the Droids, you must protect a large MTT vehicle whilst it blasts away at anything in front of it as it makes it’s way to the entrance to the Palace of Nabo. On the other side, as a Clone Trooper, you must do everything in your power to stop the MTT from reaching the palace. If the MTT reaches the entrance of the palace, you then have to deal with an invasion of the palace throne room, and prevent the palace from being overrun by droids.
The map you play on is huge. Like it’s probably bigger than most of the first game’s maps, and it really feels like you are down there on Nabo. I know atmosphere and surroundings don’t really matter that much in an FPS, but there was plenty of attention to detail gone into making the environment look as realistic as possible.
I was really impressed with how the game played too. None of the classes felt overpowered, as one of the most important factors in Battlefront 2, is working as a team. If you are with a group of other team mates, you will gain more combat points. It’s usually a good idea not to run off on your own anyway, but this bonus encourages people to stick together and work as a unit, rather than having lone troops trying to do the Empire’s bidding on their own.
You can spend the combat points you earn in a battle on unlocking vehicles, advanced classes, and heroes. In the Beta, there are four hero classes unlocked. Boba Fet, Rey, Darth Maul and Han Solo. The original Battlefront always let me down, as none of the heroes felt very powerful, they would die in a few hits and never really make much of an impact on the game. The same can’t be said here though. It is a terrifying sight to see Darth Maul or Rey ripping through groups of troops on the battlefield, having a meaningful impact that they should do. The heroes have a unique abilities, and don’t die in a couple of hits either, so this improvement alone ticks off one of the negatives of the original game.
I really enjoyed the objective based gameplay from Galactic Conquest. It was simple, yet allowed for plenty of tactful decisions needing to be made. If there are a handful more conquest modes like this, then this game mode will no doubt be the main feature of the main game.
The second game mode available in the beta is The Star Fighter Assault mode. Again following on from Galactic Conquest, this multi-stage fight pits fighters from the Rebels and Imperial Star Destroyer against each other.
These space scenes were always a favorite from the very first Battlefront games, and also from the films too. Whilst I enjoyed my time in the Tie Fighters and Bombers, the controls felt a little sluggish. I may have needed to up the sensitivity a bit to make it better, but flying around and turning just felt like I was stuck in some space mud. The actual space combat is wall to wall fun and action though. It is actually like being in the film, shooting down enemies, with all of the classic sound effects too. This mode has hero classes too, but they come in the form of Slave-1 and the Millennium Falcon, so it also has some good fan service here as well. I can see myself enjoying this mode if the controls can be tightened up a bit, but I also see it still playing second fiddle to the Galactic Conquest mode.
The third and final mode available in the beta is Strike Mode. This is a smaller more compact came mode, where squads of troops battle it out in winner take all objectives. No heroes can be used in this mode, so it’s a matter of skill with the basic classes that will pull you through to the objectives. Taking place in the Forest of Takodana, Strike Mode may very well turn into a competitive scene if the game takes off in popularity. The smaller squad sizes allows for closer interaction and teamwork to take place, rather than the huge large scale battles that take place in the other modes.
If the beta is anything to go by, and it really should be given how close we are to launch, it is clear a day to see that Battlefront 2 is in much better shape than it’s predecessor, and we might very well have a game of the year candidate on our hands if we see a popular launch window.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 releases on PC, PS4 and XboxOne on November 17, and the full open beta runs until October 9.