Star Wars Battlefront is a scant month away from release, which means it’s time for everyone’s favorite DICE tradition: The “beta test” that’s part server stress-test and part HYPE. BUILDING. MACHINE. The beta opens to everyone today, but I got the chance to play a bit early and I think I like the game better than I did at E3.
But it’s still no Battlefront 3.
Begun, the beta wars have
First, let me get my major complaint out of the way: The guns.
Weapons are usually DICE’s forte, both in terms of how they handle and how they sound. Battlefront‘s guns, by contrast, feel lackluster for three reasons. 1) The pew-pew of laser weapons is weak-sounding in comparison to DICE’s previous work. 2) There’s no recoil. 3) Instead of recoil, guns now have a fairly large spread at long-range. You know the joke about Stormtroopers firing a million rounds and none of them hit the target? I’ve felt that way more than a few times during the beta.
Recoil is great because it’s something you can, with practice, accommodate for. It’s skill-based. You get better at holding the muzzle down. Battlefront’s weapons feel more luck-based. You’re mostly hoping the gun’s spread stays small enough temporarily for you to get the kill-shot in.
Anyway, that’s my biggest issue with Battlefront so far. The beta is comprised of three modes—two multiplayer, one singleplayer/co-op.
“Drop Zone,” a sixteen-player mode, is the best of the bunch. It’s sort of a more dynamic version of Battlefield’s Rush mode combined with King of the Hill, maybe? Two teams struggle to capture Escape Pods, which rain down from the sky periodically and land semi-randomly around the map. Secure the area long enough and your team scores, plus special power-ups—orbital strikes, proximity mines, et cetera—pop out as a reward.
It’s just a really fun mode. The random nature of Escape Pod drops leads to a pretty satisfying back-and-forth, with teams constantly shifting between offense and defense. And like Rush, it forces players towards an objective and mitigates the “I’ve run for five minutes and haven’t seen anybody” problem you occasionally find in more freeform game types.
Best of all is when multiple Escape Pods land at the same time—something I’ve seen happen twice so far. It’s rare, but it forces teams to quickly decide whether they risk it and go for both or play it safe and cede one to the enemy. I’d actually like to see those occurrences happen more frequently, as it’s an interesting tactical scenario.
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