Empire at War

I’ve been cautiously excited for Star Wars Battlefront since the very first unveiling. With EA in charge of the Star Wars property and DICE tasked with creating the latest entry to a much beloved franchise, I held a lot of hope and worry in my heart with every new reveal. This new game could be something truly fantastic, but it could also end up as a shiny, hot mess with server issues.

After playing Star Wars Battlefront for the first time at Tokyo Game Show 2015, a lot of my worries were soothed. Sure, we won’t see issues like final polish and server stability until the game launches, but for now the alpha form of the game provided a very enjoyable experience I can’t wait to dive back in to. Welcome to the battlefront.featuredImage.imgI played the two game modes available to me at TGS – Walker Assault on the planet Hoth and Drop Zone on Tatooine.

Drop Zone functions as the games cooperative or horde style mode, allowing you and a friend (or one player solo) to take on wave after wave of Imperial foes. The goal is to capture and secure drop pods around the medium sized maps, holding off until you can be extracted by the Rebels. These drop pods will reward you with tokens to help out in your battle, such as orbital strikes and smart rockets. A six round match usually lasts eight to twelve minutes, a great length for quick action packed battles with a friend.

Walker Assault is by far the meatier mode, pitting the Empire against the Rebel base on Hoth. The Imperial’s goal is to guide the walkers to the shield generators, while the encamped Rebels must destroy the two AT-AT’s before they can take it out. It basically plays like the Rush game mode in Battlefield, it’s a tug of war between forces with the map stages advancing as the game does. From what we’ve seen thus far this is where people will spend a lot of their time – flying, shooting and jetpacking through the icy tundras of Hoth.

One thing both these nodes share is they’re about shooting. The combat in Star Wars Battlefront really impressed me with how much it reminded me of the originals – it’s fun and light without too much of a focus on heavy loadouts and gun set up, instead you choose a laser rifle, jump in and start blasting. A nice touch comes in the form of laser travel time, with fire very reminiscent of the original films. Laser bolts take a short while to travel, causing you to have to get the lead on a moving foe to land all your hits. Watching players dash across the snow with red lasers nipping at their heels reminded me a lot of iconic scenes from A New Hope and onwards.2894799-2885935-star_wars_battlefront_e3_screen_5_weapon_variety_wmThat’s probably one of the biggest things Battlefront has going for it – it’s authenticity and attention to detail. Besides the stunning graphics the world, guns and players all look spot on. A huge variety of aliens and humans make up the Rebel ranks, mixing it up and making you feel like the ragtag bunch of resistance fighters you are. On top of that, the sound design is spectacular. The lasers all have that iconic sound to them while X-Wings and Tie Fighters battle loudly above. Add to this the original Star Wars music tracks and you have a perfect atmosphere of action and battle. It just feels so good to be a part of the universe.

While the verdict is far from in on Star Wars Battlefront, the few matches I’ve played left me craving more. I can’t wait to master space combat and fight on new worlds, experiencing iconic battles from the original saga once more.

Star Wars Battlefront launches November 19th for Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC.