The Star Wars Battlefront 2 Beta has been going since Wednesday for those who pre-ordered but is now live for PS4, Xbox One and PC. The Beta hopes to show off a bit of the changes and expansions to gameplay that have been made this time around after the backlash following the first Battlefront last year. I’ll admit, when I first jumped into the Battlefront 2 Beta and hopped into a Galactic Assault game on the new Naboo map, my first reaction was, “ugh more of the same.” As I went on though, I found the small differences that enhance the overall experience and began to feel that itch to dive deep into a Star Wars title again.
The first Battlefront was a disappointing title to say the least. I wouldn’t say it was a bad game, because it wasn’t. Many parts of it were very fun in fact, but it lacked any solo content or arcade modes to make custom games for split screen. It also had very few options for progression in character or weapons and not nearly as many choices for maps, heroes, vehicles or anything the game offered really. Many fans also pointed to its overpriced DLC that took a long while to come out and split the game’s already dwindling player base.
EA and Dice have taken these issues to heart though by revamping almost every aspect. DLC is reportedly going to be free to anyone who purchases Star Wars Battlefront 2 which is a huge step in the right direction if you want to keep your players coming back. In addition to the star card load outs from the first game, players can now choose from a set of classes that they can customize and upgrade with star cards, weapon attachments and special attributes they can apply like health buffs or invisibility to radar. Players earn points for each match as well as by completing challenges that are both general and mode specific. With these points, you can purchase loot boxes that reward these upgrades for characters, heroes, and vehicles.
Beyond the eternal grind present in every shooter, or really almost every game that comes out these days it seems, how does Battlefront 2 feel when you’re playing it? Well, it feels like the first game. I’ve always thought the movement speed in Battlefront was too slow for my liking, and that stuck around to the sequel. The dodge roll is much improved over the first game though as it was almost useless before. Weapons feel strange at first, but become much better when you start unlocking attachments and new weapons for each class.
Heroes are no longer locked behind randomized tokens either. They are now essentially score streaks based on player points awarded for kills and objective play etc. Major heroes like Darth Maul or Rey, are only unlocked at 5000 points which is a bit steep, but also ensures you don’t see them dash in and mangle your feeble clone trooper or droid body every two minutes. Other heroes are available now too for a smaller chunk of change that helps break up the battlefield like Flametroopers, Jet troopers, Droids, and various vehicles with varying cost.
The modes available in the Beta are Galactic Assault, which is the big team vs team battle with 40 players defending or pushing an objective. This takes place on the new Naboo map which is a mix of very open, and super claustrophobic depending on which stage of objective you’re at. Also, can someone tell me what is up with all the damn doves?? You’ll see what I mean when you boot up this level. Seriously they’re everywhere it’s crazy. Arcade Mode allows you to go on a kill romp with heroes for a few minutes, and Starfighter Assault replaces the flight battles from the previous game. If anything made me feel like I was living my Star Wars fantasies in this beta, it was the space battles.
The flight vehicle modes in the first Battlefront were just awful. Lock on affairs of boring dogfights with little skill involved in the objectives. This is all completely different. Turning on the expert controls for flight makes you feel amazing. Spinning into a Galactic ship’s core, blowing up a reactor while dodging enemy Tie Fighters, and shooting your way back out evading enemy missiles. You feel like a galactic dogfight master when you pull it off because it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Coordinating with my party member to take out certain objectives while watching the other’s back for enemy fighters was so much fun, it gave me that giddy Star Wars feeling that I realized had been too long since I’ve felt.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 seems to be going in the direction it needs to, adding more to what was already a pretty solid shooter at its core. Space battles have been revamped to a hugely different experience, and the title is no longer only tied to the original trilogies. As much as I love them, The Star Wars Universe is a rich one filled with planets, characters and designs worth seeing, even if you aren’t a fan of any of the movies they came from. Look for our full review when Star Wars Battlefront 2 launches Nov 17.