EA Battlefront Preview, Pax Aus 2015
After a long day of exploring PAX Australia’s first day we made our way to the main entrance of the exhibition center. Tired legs and mind was put aside as the arrival was fast approaching, the arrival of the now somewhat infamous EA Battlefront bus. Being quite the Star Wars nerd and being majorly hyped for the release of Battlefront, even more so after the Hoth Beta, to say I was excited would be down playing my exuberance. Myself and Pete had scored access to a ride to an undisclosed location on the Battlefront bus for two of my favorite things, Star Wars and cold beer. Accompanying us on the journey were a select few from media and the lucky EA competition winner who had traveled down from Sydney to Melbourne on the bus.
The bus docked and we boarded. I was expecting a reasonably normal bus with the major change being the Battlefront art work on the exterior. What we were greeted with was a different beast indeed. Described best as a limo bus, the inside was more than inept for a wild party. Each side of the bus was fitted with a long custom built couch, designed for comfort. LCD screens littered the walls with a massive 60” screen installed at the rear of the bus, what else would be screening but the original Empire Strikes Back. 6X9 speakers were fitted overhead, blaring out the Star Wars soundtrack. Neon lights were flashing and of course the most necessary item was included, a stripper pole. Now the only thing missing was slave Leia to dance for us.
We arrived at our destination and was greeted with the EA Australia PR team, cold beers and twenty four PS4’s running a mode from Battlefront only seen once before, at Gamescom 2015. Fighter Squadron was on the menu, and I was salivating. After a quick briefing, a small amount of socializing with people I had not seen for twelve months, it was time. Time to strap in and eliminate some rebel scum.
Fighter Squadron is fully fledged dog fighting mode. When playing as the Rebels the objective was to destroy an escaping Imperial Transport, as an Imperial the objective is to defend it. As with the Walker Assault mode we witnessed on the beta, you start playing with a base character, or in this case aircraft. These base craft are either X-Wing or Tie fighter depending on which side you play. There are power ups, shield re generators and hero tokens littering the planets surface. These are generally found within tight twisting ravines, adding to the excitement with a death before power up reality. The hero ships on display was the Fetts Slave 1 and of coarse the Millennium Falcon.
Game play is quite exhilarating with a large map on offer and ai controlled craft to make it feel epic. The ai controlled opponents seemingly fight among each other, but once engaged they are not easy targets. I often found that whilst engaged with ai opponents you can be opened up to make for an easier target with user controlled opponents. The controls are tight and impressive with barrel rolls and brake turns being the key to survival.
Once I made the change to inverted axis, my preferred flight controls, I found the game thoroughly enjoyable. The hero craft, alike to the heroes on the ground battles, are extremely powerful. The Falcon is a bullet sponge that can take a huge amount of damage, but is less maneuverable than smaller craft. The Slave 1 is all round bad ass, featuring agility and good shield coverage. Fighter Squadron took me back to the old Star Fighter series but stepped up the graphics and game play to pleasing levels. Whilst I had a great time, the downside is now awaiting the release of Battlefront. The force is strong in this one!
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