Star Wars: Battlefront Hands-on Preview

With the EB Expo on, we at Console Domination were given a chance by EA Games and Dice to try out the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront. After an arduous journey through Sydney traffic in Elliot’s battered SUV, which like the Millennium Falcon, has got it where it counts, we got to play a bit of the multiplayer.

Set on the snowy battlefields of Hoth, the gameplay mode was Walker Assault. 40 men, split into Imperials and Rebels, with Rebels desperately trying to stop the attack of near unstoppable AT-AT’s while the Imperials tried their best to defend their walking fortresses and crush the rebel scum.

I played as the Rebels, and it was certainly the more proactive role to play. With AT-AT’s marching slowly towards the Rebel Base, backed up by swarms of troops, AT-ST walkers, and TIE Fighters, the rebels had to stop the enemy attack. To do so, we had to capture and hold key command points. Uplinks that would call in a bombing run that would halt the enemy walkers and render them vulnerable to attack.

With the control points being located amongst icy trenches, with dogfights happening overhead, with the Imperials having a massive advantage in firepower, and walkers raining artillery on everything, it was some exciting and intense stuff, especially as there were multiple uplink points, and they only remained active for a limited amount of time before moving on.

For the hands on, all players were equipped with jetpacks, blaster rifles with unlimited ammo – but a cooldown and overheating mechanics, and grenade launchers, which made things a little crazy as you could imagine. Tokens also littered the map, granting the use of upgrades, perks for your team such as more powerful bombing runs, the ability to swap to aerial combat, and the ability to swap to one of the hero characters.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to try any of that, as I was too busy shooting everything that moved and trying to grab and hold the control points while everything blew up and died around me. With me also blowing up and dying very often. With a lot of guts, and wave after wave of attacking rebel soldiers, we managed to capture and hold the uplinks, call in a bombing run to weaken and disable the AT-AT’s and then proceeded to blast them with everything we had, taking them down and winning for the Alliance.

It was intense, crazy, and some highly entertaining stuff, and I think it could have only been better had I been playing as the Imperials, who had some real firepower to dish out. Elliot did get a chance to play as the Empire though and he killed a lot of rebel scum.

While Phil was focused on capping objectives as a rebel my job was simple, push the waves of rebel fighters back with the help of a number of trusty pickup abilities such as a personal bubble shield, a RPG and of course access to the wide array of rebel killing equipment that makes the Empire the true force on the battlefield.

Using the third person view (rather than the 1st person camera Phil was using) gave me a wider look at the action, and boy was the action a sight to behold. At one point I found myself spawning on a teammate in the hills with a direct line of site over the map, I had to take a moment to suck in the action. Not only was there the typical laser show but also the inclusion of dog fights in the air and walkers battling on the ground made for some seriously crazy viewing.

The gameplay does a really great job of mixing modern shooting troupes such as an active reload system and points based levelling while also throwing back to simpler gameplay styles such as pick up abilities. Meaning you don’t have to bust out the 20 kill streak to give the AT-AT a go, giving players a more all around experience of the game. The shooting system is also quite fun, with magazines being done away with to make way for an overheating model of fire. There is no cap to how much you fire, but rather how fast you fire. When you eventually fire too long there is an active reload feature that gives you a shot at having a fast cool down, however the more times you over heat the smaller the window gets.

The vehicle combat varies on what vehicle you use. The air combat is a dog fight between the two factions that if won can provide you with a bit of one on one time with rebel scum down below, the unique feature here is that each fighter has an energy bar that can be depleted by either firing or boosting leading to a risk reward gameplay style. The ground vehicles are a bit different in that the ATST is a mobile turret almost and the feared AT-AT is an on rails tank that has 3 differing fire modes, most notable was the orbital strike which hailed a small area with large explosions eradicating any near by life.

The best way to describe Star Wars: Battlefront is in one simple but awe-inspiring moment. Shortly after reaching the last 2 rebel strongholds and losing one of the 2 AT-ATs a rebel bombing run landed a hit on our last AT-AT taking its blaster shields down, the next 2 mins where a flurry of blaster fire and aerial assaults on the AT-AT and the result of 20 people all taking aim at the last objective was really a site to behold. The wait for November is all too real.

Star Wars: Battlefront releases November 19th with the beta opening on October 8th. It is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC

Thanks to PlayStation AUS, EA AUS and DICE for the great afternoon.

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