‘Battlefront’ BETA overestimates gamer expectations


It has been awhile since the last “Battlefront” game, and people are definitely hyped up to play a new one. This heavily anticipated game has big shoes to fill. The new “Star Wars: Battlefront” beta was supposed to show its technical capabilities, and the quality of this release will influence future sales of the game.

In the beta, there are only a few game modes included to choose from; just enough to represent the actual game’s bare-bones capability. There is “pod control” and “walker assault.” There is also a cooperative or single player mode, where you landed on Tatooine and have to survive while defending escape pods.

Overall, the gameplay of the beta is very casual. Learning the controls was super easy, and they are easy to use. In terms of mechanics, there is no penalty when shooting from the hip. You can bulls-eye anyone at any range without aiming. In fact, you are actually penalizing yourself when you aim, because aiming slows down your movement. Third-person view also has little consequence. Piloting vehicles is pretty fun, but perhaps too simplified, especially for the fighters. There is a slight pilot assist on the fighters that helps prevent you from crashing into the ground, but this mechanic can mess with precision aiming while in being in any of the fighters.

Understandably, the beta is buggy, as this is an early version of a game that isn’t finished yet. The bugs range from network issues like rubber-banding, to technical issues like floating characters, broken spawn, and balancing issues. The “walker assault” game mode was severely biased towards the Empire, which is canon accurate, but this is a video game, not a movie. The graphics are also a bit murky and definitely need some fixing. These bugs and glitches are mostly minor, but it should be noted by players as well as the developers (Dice) to avoid another catastrophic release, like the one seen with “Battlefield 4.”

Though graphics may need fixing, the character models are pretty good. Dice boast in trailers about visits to Lucas Arts Archives, as well as visiting the original filming locations. All of this work definitely shows. The soldiers on both the rebel side and Empire look like they were ripped from the original “Star Wars” trilogy. Their animations are probably the best in the business. A soldier flinching from explosions and gunfire, for example, is a level of polish that surprises and impresses me. The planet Hoth and Tatooine couldn’t have been done better either. Explosions and sound effects do a great job making the chosen landscapes feel like an actual battlefield. Weapon models look great as well. The lack of first-person view for AT-ATs and AT-STs was a huge disappointment though. This should’ve been included in the beta, now we can only hope it winds up in the main game.

Does this beta validate a pre-order? No. I suggest waiting for its release and checking reviews tp make sure it isn’t broken, as a precaution. I do applaud Dice for not doing a copy-and-paste job on this game, though. The game’s casual approach may have been too casual, but Dice could’ve just re-skinned “Battlefield 4” by prettying up the graphics and been done with it. Overall, the beta did a good job representing the game, but failed to make a pre-order necessary, or even desirable.