Star Wars: Battlefront II Beta

Star Wars: Battlefront II Beta

Just like I did this time two years ago, I eagerly jumped into the Beta preview for Star Wars Battlefront, the sequel of which is due out next month. It’s a great opportunity to get a taste for what the full game might deliver, and no doubt a chance for the build team to gauge their wares in a public arena too.

Back in 2015, the Star Wars Battlefront Beta showcased Hoth as a playable map – that epic scene that opens The Empire Strikes Back with gargantuan AT-AT walkers stomping in the background. But disappointingly, the Beta for Battlefront 2 features a relatively weak scenario as their preview of the Galactic Assault mode.

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It takes place in the Naboo city of Theed, where the Trade Federation invades Queen Amidala’s Palace in Episode 1. Theed is a beautiful map, but the Battle of Hoth was a desperate and raw survival for the Rebel outcasts and the scenario that’s presented to us here sees mindless battle droids who bleat out irritating quips while being shot at. It doesn’t help that they’re up against clones who all look and sound like Temuera Morrison (which made me wonder, does Tem still get royalties?).

“Roger, roger”

There’s just no emotional pull into the battle that’s taking place around you, and ultimately it means that I never really cared who won. The other thing that annoyed me was the disregard for the Star Wars canon. The droid federation army’s hero character is Darth Maul, with his iconic dual bladed lightsaber – which is logical considering we are introduced to him in Episode 1. However the other hero counterpart is Rey... from Episode 7, who wouldn’t even have been born yet, considering there is around 65 years difference between the two stories.

I might sound pedantic, but if it’s a big deal to me I’m sure it will bug other Star Wars fans. Considering everything we know about Rey so far, it seems ridiculous to put her in front of clone troopers. I’m going to assume that this is just for the Beta, and that maybe Rey is a placeholder hero who will be replaced by Qui Gon or a young Obi Wan. Or... maybe Jar Jar Binks?

The Beta offers just one map for Galactic Assault (which is the biggest multiplayer mode in the game) so I’m not going to judge Battlefront 2 on this Naboo experience alone. There are however some dramatic changes to the gameplay mechanics from the previous game which show that Battlefront 2 has evolved.

There is a new squad based respawn system, where if four of you are all waiting in the lobby, you can enter the fray immediately - otherwise there’s the standard countdown timer. There are classes to pick from, including assault, heavy, specialist, and an interesting officer class where you can give your team members advantages from a non-combat angle.

You no longer have to pick up tokens spawned somewhere on the map like in the previous Battlefront either. Now hero characters, like the aforementioned Rey and Darth Maul, can be selected as soon as you have collected enough points in a match, so that you next spawn as that character.

These hero characters are limited so that there can only ever be one on the map at a time (so there won’t be any awkward moments with five Darth Mauls advancing on you). It also means no more frantically running to be the first one to grab a token, and the disappointment of missing out. This same process applies to vehicles, so spawning into a star fighter is now achieved by earning enough points and then selecting it at the spawn screen.

In a lot of ways it feels more natural than 2015’s Battlefront, and forces players to work for extra advantages on the battlefield rather than just stumbling across them. It also means that the hero characters are usually controlled by more skilled players, and there’s not that awkward scenario of having to comedically crouch down in the middle of a fight to try and swap to a vehicle.

But Battlefront 2 suffers from some issues. Maybe I’ve been spoilt with Battlefield 1, where every gun and vehicle felt weighty and significant. Here firefights with blasters seem more like BB-guns than deadly weapons and often it’s hard to know if you’re doing any damage. I’m hoping that as players progress they will be able to equip more intimidating weapons.

But on the plus side the action feels a lot better in more confined spaces. While a lot of Theed feels too open and empty (which emphasises your weak weaponry), the later sections inside the Palace are a lot more enjoyable with tight hallways and narrow doorways.

The Beta gives players a few vehicles to try out in Galactic Assault too, and flying a Vulture Droid high above the streets of Theed is fun at first. However it doesn’t take long before it feels unproductive and isolating. Dog fights in the air are short lived and the map on offer doesn’t allow for many good opportunities to get low to the action to help out your ground troops. The controls and speed of these vehicles don’t lend themselves well for this map at all, and you’re better off saving your points for hero characters.

Thankfully, vehicles feel a lot better in the Starfighter Assault mode, of which there is a playable map in this beta. It offers a 12-on-12 dogfight in space, with classic X-Wings, Tie Fighters, Y-Wings and the like, where players will be either defending or attacking objectives. I had to change the default control setup to something called the Southpaw configuration, which flipped the mapping of the two sticks to suit me better. But after this easy change, I was soon zipping in-between Star Destroyers like Jek Porkins hunting down cake.

As stated, it would be premature and unfair to judge Battlefront 2 on this beta experience alone. But as pretty as Naboo’s Theed map is, it lacks the sense of excitement and epicness that the Star Wars universe should deliver. But the good news is there are plenty more maps promised in the full game which could change all of that – so we’ll know more when the game lands next month.

Did you play the Beta over the weekend? Let us know your thoughts below.

Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017)
+ With Star Wars fever at a high, this game should deliver for fans
- Uninspired choice of map for our first sneak peek
"Difficult to see. Always in motion the future is."
- Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017)
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Comments Comments (8)

Posted by Moeggo
On Wednesday 11 Oct 2017 1:36 PM
I have enjoyed the Beta so far and really looking forward to full release shortly. Totally agree about having Rey and Han as the heroes, would be awesome for an Obi Wan or Qui Gon... But I personally prefer some of the Clone's! I would love running through the battlefield as Captain Rex or Cody, Wolff!
Posted by ChieftaiNZ
On Wednesday 11 Oct 2017 1:43 PM
Rey fighting with clones annoys you? Well too damn bad they've already confirmed cross era heroes, so f**k your immersion in a game where they spent so much time making sure everything looked right.

And if they leaks are true (They have been so far) Obi-Wan and Anakin are not in the game at launch. Yeah. The prequel era without the two main characters. That makes sense right?

No mention of the totally awful P2W progression system, where class progression is done by getting better star cards which you get from loot crates, so class progression is completely random? And the loot crates being progression, so you can pay to progress. Why the f**k are we getting F2P microtransaction schemes in a $109 Triple A title.
Posted by woki
On Wednesday 11 Oct 2017 5:10 PM
played this with a couple of mates at the weekend. felt just like the first game with updated graphics. we wont be investing in it any time soon.
Posted by Bank
On Wednesday 11 Oct 2017 5:25 PM
ZT Online was a mistake.
Team Fortress 2 was a choice.
Posted by Bank
On Wednesday 11 Oct 2017 5:26 PM
11 October 2017, 05:25 PM Reply to Bank
ZT Online was a mistake.
Team Fortress 2 was a choice.
Actually I'm really sorry for this bad bad post. It's about lootcrates/boxes, and you have to go back in time.
Please delet this.
Posted by Aphid6
On Wednesday 11 Oct 2017 5:29 PM
I've spent far too many hours playing Battlefront 2015 and it looks like I'll spend many more playing Battlefront 2. I don't know whether it's because we've all become spoilt but I wasn't as impressed with the quality and detail as I was with BF 2015... Endor.. wow... I'm still impressed with the detail, the only other series of games where the attention to detail impressed me as much was the Crysis games. I agree with the comments over the use of Rey etc... seems odd that both EA and Disney agreed to allow that and I'm not overly keen on the inclusion of certain graphics e.g. the pop up you get when you kill someone, very battlefield. The beta was a nice introduction and I'm looking forward to the full game.
Posted by guido
On Friday 13 Oct 2017 9:14 AM
Some companies make literal billions from microtransactions, and often not from F2P games. Of course they're going to put them into every game they can. They make so much money from them they couldn't justify NOT putting them in.

Personally I think microtransactions in F2P is fair and expected. But in a full price title and P2W at that??! Well there's so many great games coming out that this sort of thing helps to make decisions much easier. I'll grab this if it hits the bargain bin next year to play through the solo campaign.
Posted by gooseman77
On Friday 13 Oct 2017 12:20 PM
General Grievous would make a cool hero...