Friday, October 09, 2015

Star Wars Battlefront Beta. Everything You Need To Know.

The beta went live yesterday and after a 30 minute download and install (it's 10 gigs on PC with a 100MB fiberoptic connection during prime-time. I'm surprised it wasn't slower) I was in the game and playing to my hearts content.

The basic details can be found on EA's website. And it is live for all next-gen platforms and PC. So if you have an XBox One or PS4 (8gb download), you can play too!

The beta is open to everyone. So unlike other gimics that require you to pre-order the game (you get access to a level if you pre-order a week earlier then everyone else...woo), you don't have to get any stupid codes. It's an open beta. And they mean OPEN. Battlefront is going to be a big game. A lot of people have been waiting for years to have another title in the franchise. And that means it's going to be very busy on release date. The best way to stress test the servers is to have the beta open. No exclusions, outside of non PC, XBox One, and PS4 owners.

Some of the modes currently available for play are Survival Mode on Tatooine, Drop Zone, and Walker Assault which recreates the first battle sequence from Empire Strikes Back on Hoth.

What I noticed with this game, which was developed by DICE (Battlefield) is that while many of the mechanics of Battlefield are present, Battlefront still feels like the Star Wars game that it should be. You get the lazers and the blasters. The recoil is minimal, as one would expect with a space gun. There is no reload, which is a nice feature. Instead your blaster can overheat and there is a cool down time when this happens.

There is an unlock system called Star Cards that allow you to add more power to your character. You can equip 3 cards max, and they range from thermal detonators, ion weapons (great against mechs and AT-ST), to jump packs. BTW, the jump pack is not like super wall jump mode. It just gives you a little extra boost to your jump. It's not impressive.

So of course I tested out the Walker Assault. I'd be crazy not too. For players who are not use to Battlefront you have to pace yourself. You can't start firing at the Walkers and expect to win. It's the fastest way to death. The match is a 20/20 versus with the Empire needing to capture points on the map to move the Walker's forward, while the Rebels defend. As you can imagine, there's a big advantage to the Empire. And you can control the AT-AT's by using powerups found around the map. The Rebels can only damage the Walkers through bombing strikes by A-Wings. Defending the base is difficult. There's limited power-ups for Rebels and it's a lot of standing your ground. There isn't as much maneuverability as I would have liked. If you're on the Empire side, you have a big advantage of an open field and not much close-quarters combat. Plus the AT-AT's. Those things will crush Rebel's in an instant. I don't know where the balance in this map is, but you need a very experienced team on the Rebel side to have a chance at winning.

Drop Zone is like King of the Hill. Pods will drop from the sky and you need to secure them. Each one you collect will give you a power up. It wasn't anything special, and it was very easy to create choke-holds along the maps to prevent the opposing team from obtaining any pods.

Survival Mode is like the Left 4 Dead version but with Star Wars. You are pitted against 15 waves of the enemy and you have to outlast them all. You do have a set number of lives, so if you die, you have the chance to keep going until all lives are lost. Power-ups are given each round to produce temporary Star Cards. This is the one time I found the jump pack useful because it can cushion any accidental falls (there is fall damage) to reduce damage and possibly save you from death.

Clearly the king of these matches is the Walker Assault. It's a must try for everyone.

You can also play as Luke Skywalker and Vader in the beta. That's kind of cool. Be all Jedi-like.

Playing this on PC, I'd recommend hooking up a controller. It does make the FPS portion of controls much easier to handle. When you get into the strategy mode of single player, the keyboard may be better. Otherwise, go for controller. It also helps you get a better feel for the recoil on the blasters so you can correct your aim with more precision with a tiny tap of the thumbstick.

The beta is set to end on October 12, so you only have a few days to spam the servers. EA has already decided to expand the number of PC servers to compensate for the increased use (that they will surely see during launch next month).

Any stats from the beta will not carry over to launch. We're still looking for details regarding the beta client, if it must be uninstalled for the game's release, or if it can be combined with the final install.

And currently there isn't an easy way to report bugs through the beta. You have to go through EA's site and fill out a form on their Contact Us page, which they may or may not read. It's EA. They don't have the best customer service or response rate.

So! There you go! Have fun killing some Rebels.


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