If there is one thing that Star Wars Battlefront does well, it is making you forget you are playing just another multiplayer shooter. The HUD is clean and takes up very little space; I rarely looked at it. Icons will occasionally pop up to direct players to their objective, but once it’s in sight they disappear. The game tries as much as possible to communicate to the player through audio, particularly the recognizable voices of classic characters. A lot of effort was made to make sure the maximum amount of space on the screen is devoted to sucking the player into the chaos of a Star Wars set piece battle. Even the inaccuracy of everyone’s blasters helps to make me feel like a bona fide Stormtrooper.
I have been playing the Beta since it popped up on PSN this afternoon, and have been having a blast doing so. Battlefront still feels like Battlefront, despite fears that DICE would somehow “Battlefield-ize” or “COD-ize” the gameplay. Movement is a little slower than most modern shooters, but not sluggish, and new players will have to get used to the fact that their blasters fire projectiles that travel at a slightly slower pace than normal bullets in other games. Being that this is a Beta, there are issues. I have been dropped quite a bit from servers, and while the game is gorgeous, textures can sometimes get a little blurry at the start of a match as the game struggles to load.
My favorite “issue”, however, has to do with the core mechanics of the Walker Assault mode. Specifically, I have found that the mode heavily, heavily favors the Empire. You see, while the Rebels have to seize objectives and defend them, all the while trying to destroy these massive AT-ATs, those Stormtroopers have it easy. All the Empire has to do is prevent the Rebels from doing all of the above. Thus, it becomes far too common for players to camp out behind some cover and absolutely wreck the Rebels. In many matches, when playing on the Rebel side, I’ll find my team will almost completely ignore objectives.
The irony kills me, because this is pretty much what actually went down at Hoth. When I play as a Rebel, I feel hopeless and get frustrated when I’m the only guy stupid enough to try holding the objective against a wave of five Stormtroopers. Then, in the next match, I’ll get cycled to the other side and hang out on a mountainside with my sniper rifle (that should be the first unlock you go for, by the way). Obviously, this is a balancing issue that needs to be resolved. On the other hand, I find that I feel that much more like a Rebel knowing I’m going to lose. Now, to be fair, I have seen two Rebel victories. But, it was also in one of those matches that I witnessed some teammates fly TIE Fighters into our own AT-AT, so…
What I’m trying to get at is that, despite its issues (which are few and far between), Star Wars Battlefront is doing what I need it to: make me believe I’m in Star Wars.