The Star Wars Battlefront beta ended Tuesday after receiving a one-day extension, and publisher Electronic Arts announced that more than 9 million players logged in and played, making it the largest beta in the company’s history. A free download on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, the beta gave gamers a taste of three different multiplayer modes on three maps.
We spent a large amount of the weekend shooting blasters and piloting AT-STs as either a Rebel Alliance soldier or an Imperial Stormtrooper, and came away generally impressed. The Star Wars universe has never appeared so fully realized in a game, and the gorgeous graphics, spot-on sound design and liberal use of the series’ iconic score combine to transport you to a galaxy far, far away. Here’s a closer look at the three modes that were available, and the pros and cons of each.
The only single-player (or co-op) mode available in the beta, Survival Mission drops you on Tatooine as a Rebel soldier who must fend off six waves of increasingly difficult Imperial forces while collecting powerups along the way. This is Battlefront’s version of the Horde mode that Gears of War 2 popularized in 2008 and has since found its way into nearly every shooter.
- This was a good place to learn how the game works, as it slowly eases you into combat and doles out different enemy types and powerups at a palatable pace.
- It’s a great mode to kick back with a friend and blast Storm Troopers without the pressure of competitive online multiplayer
- Hologram Admiral Ackbar gives you orders!
- It felt a bit sparse in terms of objectives and lacked any of the base-building mechanics that made Gears’ Horde mode such strategic fun.
- For Star Wars fans wanting an involved single-player story mode, this isn’t the game you’re looking for.
- You couldn’t play as Admiral Ackbar. That guy’s awesome.
Drop Zone is an eight vs. eight player mode where teams fight for control of escape pods that continually rain down on the rocky planet Sullust. The pods drop down at random locations, and the first team to secure its location then has to defend the pod for a set amount of time to earn points. The first team to capture five pods (or the majority within the time limit) wins.
- This take on King of the Hill mode is good for a quick fix, as there’s a 10-minute time limit. I played this to level-up my character in preparation for the larger, more chaotic Walker Assault mode.
- Clans or groups of friends who play together should enjoy Drop Zone, as it rewards players who work together and communicate well.
- It’s very one-note, as you constantly are repeating the same objective over and over with zero variation.
- If you’re not communicating with your team, it’s not very fun, as you’re pretty much strategizing on your own. And if you’re playing with strangers, prepare to be yelled at by your teammates because the Internet.
Now this is what we came for, an epic 40-player battle set on Hoth where Rebels fight the Empire’s onslaught of AT-ATs by calling in Y-wing bombers. Featuring a huge open environment littered with different vehicle types and the ability to gain a Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader powerup and go on a Jedi rampage, Walker Assault was clearly the highlight of the beta.
- Huge battles with so much going on, it’s like bringing your childhood action figures to life. At any moment you could be engaging in a blaster duel, shooting enemies from above with a TIE fighter, fleeing in terror from Darth Vader, or attempting to trip up an AT-AT with a snowspeeder. This is Battlefront at its most gleefully destructive.
- There’s so much variety in terms of shifting objectives and ways to approach combat that playing the same mode over and over never got dull.
- Did I mention you can get a powerup that turns you into Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader?
- Huge battles with so much going on, it can be hard to get your bearings and know what is the most effective tactic.
- The AT-AT is a giant lumbering beast, but who knew that piloting one was so dull?
- Hoth has been in pretty much every single Star Wars game since The Empire Strikes Back game hit the Atari 2600 in 1982 (though admittedly it’s never looked quite like this).
- In all my time playing the beta, not once did I get the powerup that turns you into Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader…though I did single-handedly take down (an admittedly almost dead) Vader once, and that was pretty awesome.
So what did you think of the beta, and most importantly, did you get to play as Luke or Vader? Star Wars Battlefront launches Nov. 17.