STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT [Beta Face-Off]: The Force Unleashed.

We had 6 days to play the new Battlefront (well, Moody only had 1.5…hence his absence), so here are our nerdclergy-wide impressions!

"Sister" Sarah Obloy @DarthHistory
“Sister” Sarah Obloy

What can I say about Star Wars Battlefield…I mean Battlefront? I played SWB on both the Xbox One and PS4, both multiplayer and single player, and walked away with mixed emotions. Let’s start with the good: the game is gorgeous. The vast expanses of Hoth are rendered amazingly, and it was fun to run around just enjoying the scenery. The ability to become Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader as well as taking control over AT-AT’s and AT-ST’s through finding the right powerup tokens was sweet; although if you want to be Vader, be prepared to search – and be ready for some disappointment. The time limits on the machines ensures that no one person in multiplayer can snag the powerful AT-ST and spend the entire time picking off the other players.

"Kgggooohhh... kgggooohhh."
“Kgggooohhh… kgggooohhh.”

(Cont.) Now for the bad: multiplayer is not as easy as it could be. You have the ability to assign yourself a partner, and if you play multiplayer, you can invite your partner to play with you, and they show up in a different color so you can easily identify them. But if you want to play with multiple people, even if you start a group, it is hard to get everyone on the same side and in the same battle with you – and only your partner is identified. The rest of your group is the standard color, making it hard to find your teammates. For a game where multiplayer is a big draw, this is a glaring defect. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, so this game will definitely be coming home with me; but if it were set in any other universe I might have to pass, unless they make the multiplayer easier. 3/5 Emperor’s Old Clothes.

"Dynast" Dana Keels IG/Twitter @hatandwand
“Dynast” Dana Keels
IG/Twitter @hatandwand

So myself, along with nearly half our staff at GHG, has been steeped waste deep in the snows of Hoth this past week and that can only mean one thing (No, we’re not all tripping off shrooms again), the Star Wars Battlefront beta was released. 3 maps, 3 different game modes (of which one was the only new one from the build we played at E3 earlier). After racking up 30-plus hours of gameplay I must say the game has delivered on its promise of being ridiculously fun and bringing an authentic Star Wars experience. Whether defending the pod or waging war in the epic battleground of Hoth, I along with a squad of my fellow GHG clergy folk (Spencer, Myke, and Patrick amongst others) teamed up, we flew x-wings and tie fighters, fought Vader and Skywalker, and blasted each other into oblivion. 

Fun aside, there are a few issues I hope get corrected before the final release. The inability to start your own game with your own party, or switch team sides to join with friends was a bit shocking. Hopefully this is only exclusive to the beta. I, along with others also, experienced a good deal of lag. Dedicated servers? Here’s to hoping they get this shit together for the full release, otherwise all fun aside–I may have to sit this one out.
 4/5 Thermal Blasters.

"Saint" Patrick Obloy @OffTheGeekEnd
“Saint” Patrick Obloy

It’s been quite some time since we got to experience the Star Wars universe in an epic battlefield scene. Ten years to be exact. To make sure the game is ready before going gold and releasing to the masses, DICE and EA set up a beta version free to everyone to test the game mechanics, balancing, controls, glitches, and stress the servers as well. Of course the first thing we’re all excited for is the ability to finally play the new Battlefront, but this Saint has also made sure to take time and check for any issues and make sure the controls and feel are right. At first play I was worried as it felt off, different from what I’ve been used to, but I quickly realized that its because I’m so used to the FPS of late such as COD, Halo, and Destiny. The more I played, the more I realized it was similar to Battlefield 3 and 4, but also very much like the original Battlefront games. The former makes sense as DICE developed that Battlefield series, and Battlefront is using the same Frostbite engine that Battlefield 4 and Hardline are using (albeit enhanced and modified to fit the Star Wars universe). The latter isn’t so much the controls, but the feeling of the gameplay. It’s hard to explain, but I never felt like I was just playing any another MPS. I felt like it was Battlefront, with the limited amount of equipment you can carry, character movement, how the weapons feel, etc. I feel they’ve nailed it from that aspect.

Allahu Ackbar.
Allahu Ackbar.

(Cont.) However fun and beautiful the game is — and, WOW, is it ever-beautiful on the PC, like 100x better than on the consoles — there are some bugs and issues. Little things stand out such as characters dying mid-air and their body staying there rather than falling to the ground; damage textures from explosions going up a hill and continuing into the air; choosing to get into an air-vehicle or be the hero and instead being returned to the battlefield, etc. I’m sure these will be ironed out before release, as many have pointed these out to the devs via Reddit and the official forums.

The biggest gripe for me (and friends I played with online) that I made sure to report on the official forums was regarding the multiplayer party system. You can invite your friends into a party in the game (not chat party, but in game party) or you can join an existing one. Rather than having a party lobby such as COD or Halo use, or having a “leader” that picks the server/mode, you have to coordinate with your friends and decide who will do the choosing, and from there the others will get a short message at the top advising to press a button (Y on Xbox One, Triangle on PS4) to see the invite and then choose whether to accept or decline. That’s a lengthy process for such a simple situation. But wait, it gets better. So now you are in the process of joining a server and are probably placed on one… is it the same one your friends are on? Most times yes, but sometimes no, and can even just be kicked back to the main menu. OK great, you’re on the same server, but are you on the same side? This one is generally random and takes some quick invite acceptance on the part of your friends to pull off properly.

"I THINK I know you..."
“I THINK I know you…”

(Cont.) Whew, so you made it on the same server and on the same team, but do you know where your friends are located on the map? You’d like to see me say “yes” to this, but the answer is sadly no. The only person that will have a different colored blip on the radar from the rest of the team is the person you chose as “partner” or is assigned to you. And yes that was a singular “person”, as you can’t be in a squad either. The response on the forums from the official team was that this would definitely be shared with the devs, which is good because I wasn’t the only one posting about the issue. In fact I wasn’t the one who started the thread. And if you check now, there are about 4 threads on the first page alone all mentioning this issue.

So as it stands, I enjoy the game. I spent around 3-4 hours on PC, 5 hours on Xbox One, and 1-2 hours on PS4. Not bad considering day job, after work activities, etc. It’s too bad the beta ended, as now I have to wait another month before I can play it again. This Stormtrooper’ll be going through TIE Fighter dogfight withdrawls and itching to kill the rebel scum. 4/5 Thermal Detonators.

"Papa Justified" Spencer Fawcett @whizbang813
“Papa Justified” Spencer Fawcett

As someone who has been waiting for a Star Wars: Battlefront game for 11-years and went through the emotional storm of Free Radical’s canceled Battlefront III, DICE’s Star Wars: Battlefront is welcomed. The beta gave everyone a taste of three modes in the game: Walker Assault, Drop Zone, and Survival. My favorite was Walker Assault due to the grand scope and chaotic battles that can usually be associated with the Battlefield series.

What impressed me the most about SWB was the audio authenticity. From the tie-fighter sounds to the AT-AT footsteps, everything lives up to DICE’s reputation for audio splendor. As someone that played Battlefront at E3 2015, it was an incredible experience to play with the general public and see what their take on it is. 4/5 Sith Bibles.

"Templar" Mark Majndle
“Templar” Mark Majndle

Battlefront 3 is sick! Oh, you did know this is the third game in the series, right? Well if not, let me tell you that as a longtime fan (I STILL play the 10-year old originals) that DICE has done an amazing job of creating something new while keeping the traditions of this games predecessors alive. Graphics are solid, gameplay is unique, and you still get all the awesome options such as flying an X-Wing or slicing up rebels as Vader! Two points that need to change to make this game perfect are as follows: bring back space combat (look it up in Battlefront 2— it was amazing) and add in the Clone Wars scenarios. The old games had both time periods included, which was so fun, allowing players to use different heros as well, such as Obi and pre-mask-and-cape Ani. Do those in a DLC and you surpass the games of old, my friends at DICE; you surpass them by a mile. 4/5 Double-Bladed Sabers.

"Brother" Myke Ladiona @onemyke
“Brother” Myke Ladiona

Believe the hype, know the flaws. Even though I was one of the fortunate geeks to get a decent amount of hands on time with Battlefront at E3, it took this weekend’s open beta to give me a real good sense of how DICE’s first foray into the Star Wars universe was going to play out and it’s easily apparent this is NOT just a Star Wars skin on a Battlefield game.

That’s not necessarily just a good thing, though.

It’s hard not to miss the squad elements of the Battlefield games. SW:BF only gives you the option to choose one partner to spawn on and keep track of during a match and many times that I tried playing with 3 or more other friends our party would be split between the two sides. Drop Zone, a more CoD-like King of the Hill game mode, frustratingly demonstrated how that can be a shortcoming and highlighted just how bad the roaming spawn selection of the game is. Thankfully, as far as the superior Walker Assault mode is concerned, that was less of a problem– but that might be more due to the fact that unless you were spawning on your partner, you were thrown pretty far back from your team’s front lines.

Frozen is a Disney movie, after all.
Frozen is a Disney movie, after all.

(Cont.) Another uncharacteristic minus for DICE is how poorly the AT-ST handles. Understandably the idea of a tank on legs is kind of ridiculous (looking at you, Metal Gear), however turning radius’ shouldn’t be as bad as they are. But DICE came through with how well the spaceships handle, you know, where it really counts in the Star Wars universe. Other than the fairly useless Snowspeeders (well, until they’re the most useful and they’re tying up AT-AT legs), the Tie Fighters, A-Wings, and X-Wings handle better than any of those ships have handled in video games before – save for the X-Wing vs Tie Fighter games of old. Battles also genuinely feel like battles. Since most blasters are pretty powerful with devastating range, everyone is forced to play smart and use cover tactically. Front lines are also usually being formed giving players organic, non-cheap flanking opportunities. All of this bodes well for the game’s release: all the core gameplay works well and everything that’s lacking can easily be fixed in patches. Come this November I’ll definitely be locking my S-Foils in attack position. Red 5, standing by. 4/5 A-Wings.

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