EA held a beta test for their much-anticipated upcoming game Star Wars: Battlefront. Through the years Star Wars games have been borderline terrible considering the source material they have to work with. Except for the two Knights of the Old Republic games, there hasn’t been a decent Star Wars games in 15 years. EA hoped to change that by modeling a Star Wars first person shooter (FPS) after their highly successful Battlefield games.
With the power of the next generation consoles of the PS4 and Xbox One the capability now exists to push the visuals and controls to recreate Star Wars in your hands. Like any good development team they test and re-test their products. What has been becoming a more common practice is to release an open beta test to the public. Let the players go at it for a few days and use the game in ways the developers cannot think of. All with the intent of making the game better before it’s production release. This could also backfire if the game does not match the hype and hurt the sales rush on release day. However, releasing a bad game on the first day can do just as much damage.
The Star Wars: Battlefront beta was free, no need to have a pre-order of the game, which I do not. Of course I was going to try it out. I am glad I did.
Here is a breakdown of what I thought and experienced –
- Visuals – Beyond beautiful. The game looks amazing, on a big HD screen you feel like you are running on Hoth after the Imperial Walkers. Every little detail has been addressed to give the game that gritty, worn down Star Wars look. There’s nothing shiny about this game, it looks like the movies. The frame rate was surprisingly fast considering the 20 on 20 multiplayer, ships and animations over head, computers and hot springs around you, it’s very sharp.
- Sound – The game would be nothing without the authentic sounds of Star Wars including the full John Williams score. The game has everything. The grinding gears of the walkers, the blasters sound perfect, and the music is the icing on the cake. One complaint, Darth Vader sounds pretty comical, almost bad. It’s not the clarity, just the voice over is not even close and the dialogue is humorous at best.
- Gameplay – The mechanics of the game that drives your play has the biggest problems with it unfortunately. You can play full first person or in 3rd person view. After reading other player’s comments I found that it’s easier to play in 3rd person view, which I did not, because there is less of control loss when you are hit by blasters or explosions. It’s easier to shoot and you can see more. Also I read elsewhere that the traditional zoom and fire approach as every FPS on the planet does is actually worse for your aim than not. Most of the videos I saw of player’s games did not zoom and they hit everything. Disappointing if this remains the case to release.
- The card system is fine but there are tweaks that need to be made to some of the items.
- The sniper rifle is far too powerful and refreshes too fast.
- The ion gun card is worthless, at least in the modes in the beta.
- The personal shield is too strong and refreshes too fast.
- The jet pack is the best feature, it’s just as gritty as the rest of the game. You jump hard and land hard like you would if you actually had one of those on your back.
- The Game Itself – The missions were your standard FPS, small tweaks here and there to make it original, but over all they are the same. Capture the flag, disarm the bomb, capture the stations type game with the escape pods. Massive team battles with an objective. Wave battles or hordes where you take on increasing numbers of enemies in waves, each one getting harder. The beta limited the waves to 5 and was very easy, almost a non-challenge.
The beta was very cool but I am hesitant on the game itself. It will sell billions I’m sure, although it is coming out in the same month as Call of Duty 3, Halo 5, and Fallout 4. This game will have its work cut out for itself against those juggernauts after the beta. One thing I did notice and I am not sure if it was the beta being so small, I started to get bored with it. The beta players are hard-core gamers to the skill level was skewed but overall the Hoth battle did get old fast, especially if you were the Rebels.
After the fact I found this article that DICE, the game’s maker, agreed that the Hoth battle was mismatched. I never played a game where the Rebels one, in fact I only saw one time a walker get taken down. All the rest both walkers marched to the end and blew up the power station, every time.
I allowed my 7-year-old to play it and he absolutely loved it. So that means I will be purchasing it, at a minimum to play split screen co-op with him because he can hold his own. The rest we will see how the game makers take the beta test’s data and make the game better. It would be a good move on their part if they released a report of exactly the things they fixed and changed before the release date to appease the minds of the players. There are tweaks and areas of improvement and the beta was really two boards of the 20 the game is going to have.
Interactive development with the customers, good concept if done correctly.
End of line.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.