The excitement round these parts is building up to a fever level. In case you don’t know there is a new Star Wars film coming out in just under a month. I know they have kept it quiet. This time though it is a new Star Wars coming from Disney, not George Lucas. This is a good thing and one of the reasons why is that Disney know how to merchandise the shit out of a good thing. Which leads me to the release of STAR WARS™ Battlefront™, EA DICE’s new take on the classic multiplayer shooter, set in the Star Wars Universe and its incredible! The game was released here in the UK yesterday and here are my first impressions.
EA released a open beta a few months ago which I was able to get on for a few hours. The Beta had a few modes available showing off the large scale 40 player battles on Hoth, Wave based Survival co-op mode on Tatooine and a capture the cargo mode on Sullust. The one thing the beta did not have was any kind of Training mode so you can learn the controls of the games various vehicles and powers. Thankfully there is one in the full game and its awesome. These missions can be played solo, online co-op and local co-op via split screen. The missions are short set pieces which don’t really stray out of tutorial territory, but they are awesome ot play. Take a look a the video above for a full rundown of each mission. Highlights are the Endor Speeder Bike chase and wiping out all the rebels in the Hoth base as Darth Vader.
With the Training out of the way, it was time to delve into the multiplayer modes and one mode in particular stood out for me. There are nine multiplayer modes in total ranging from objective based Walker Assault, The capture the flag style, Droid Run and the more Team Deathmatch, Blast. There is one mode unlike the others and that is Fighter Squadron. Fighter Squadron is a 20 vs 20 aerial dogfighting mode, where 10 players on each side (the other 10 pilots are AI) battle high above the planets surface protecting troop transports from the other team. Basically, this means you get to fly a X-Wing, A-Wing or a Tie fighter and Tie Interceptor which is, for the kid in me, what I always want to do.
Best of all, littered around the surface of each level are special power ups, which when flown over, turn the player into the relevant Hero class ship. For the Imperials you get to pilot Boba Fett’s Slave-1 and for the Rebels you get to slip behind the controls of the Millenium Falcon. I cannot think of a single Star Wars fan that who doesn’t get tingles at the thought of that. The Hero class ships have three powers, instead of the standard two. They are also take a lot of damage, to the point that if you get the power up early in the match you have a good chance of staying in it until the end of the match. Time will tell if this makes the Hero class ships too powerful, but at the moment its just fun.
Currently, there are four planets available to battle over with hopefully more to come with the planned DLC coming in 2016. Each of these aerial playgrounds are gorgeous to behold. There is no doubt that Star Wars has never looked this close to the films in a video game. There are no space based combat zones at present, which is a shame. Hopes for this being added are high.
Fighter Squadron is only one of the available modes in Battlefront and already it has kept playing solidly for 3 hours and given me some of the best gaming highlights of 2015. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the game will offer. I will report back when I have tried the other ground based modes.
May the Force be with you…