So like many of you I installed the Star Wars Battlefront beta towards the end of last week and then played a couple of hours on Saturday before heading off to rAge, the local gaming expo. To be honest I was quite shocked at how generic the game was and how little it offered to gamers.
I chatted to a few people at the expo and the meet up afterwards and it seems like this game is splitting opinions in a massive way. Some people are absolutely loving it while others feel it really offers nothing. I got home and decided to sink some more time into the game, I’ve now ranked up to level 5 which is the level cap in the beta and I’ve used all the guns, grenades and game modes available.
And there is definitely more to the game than what was apparent at first.
The multitude of vehicles and special abilities is a nice touch and while I’m awful at flying it is definitely an entirely new way to play the game and can be invaluable in the seemingly impossible mission to take down those AT-AT’s. While the indoor and outdoor settings in the AT-AT mission add some nice options for either long-range sniping or tight and compact indoor shooting.
So the game has vehicles, multiple weapons, varying environments and that obvious draw card of the Star Wars licensing. But there’s a problem. It isn’t really very much fun and I’ve been trying to figure out why this is and here are my thoughts on what EA need to tweak before releasing the game to retail.
Weapons are all the same
Now I said earlier that I tried all the weapons in the game but I think I’m lying, because while the guns look different and are held differently when you actually play the game they all feel exactly the same.
Granted to stick to the theme they are all laser guns (except that one special sniper) and as such they all feel the same. Laser guns don’t have recoil, they don’t really do anything when they hit people apart from take some of their health down and they all never run out of ammo.
The weapons themselves do have different range, damage and accuracy attributes but in the end you are probably just going to use whatever looks better. I personally couldn’t get immersed into a game which used a pistol which could zoom just as well as a rifle.
It’s so sluggish
Movement is not good in Battlefront, it feels like your characters are trudging through a swamp most of the time with quick movements and aiming something that just feels off. My competitors showed this isn’t the case as some people have some amazingly quick reactions and aiming in the game but I personally felt the movement was just, weird.
Some parts of the mountains you can run up while others, which look pretty much the same, weren’t able to be climbed without the jetpack. It was quite common for me to find myself getting stuck while running because I stubbed my toe on a particularly hard piece of snow.. well that’s the only thing I could think that stopped me.
I often also found myself checking if I was really running as the speed just felt off.
The most damning thing I can say about the beta is that it is just boring. I played each of the modes a few times and simply couldn’t find any good reason to go back to the game instead of loading something else up.
Every mode feels pretty much identical and if there are some deep tactics and techniques in the game then I never saw anyone using one and I never found it myself.
And the thing is I think EA know this. Sometime during my playtime I was asked to complete a survey and when I gave the beta a 4/10 it then asked me to pick out a few reasons why and it named a few things such as the following (from memory)
- Card hands don’t do anything
- Vehicles felt the same
- Multiplayer not engaging
In the end it’s an ode to the Star Wars fanatics who find the idea of squaring off against Darth Vader something of a dream come true. Personally I liked the Star Wars movies but that’s as far as it goes. They are nothing special and I am quite happy living the rest of my life without watching them again.
Some people will find that blasphemous and that fanatical love of the franchise is probably the biggest thing that will hold EA back.
EA have done a good job at trying to immerse you into the experience of Star Wars and fans will love the game, but as for the actual game itself? Well that isn’t great unfortunately.
Oh but I would be remiss to not state how beautiful parts of the game are. A lot of care and attention has been put into rendering the experience and they’ve done a great job of that.
Want the other side of the coin? Here’s Alessandro’s very different opinion on Battlefront.
Last Updated: October 12, 2015