May the force be with you.

With the Star Wars Battlefront Open Beta upon us shortly - not to mention the game release itself just over a month away - after having a little hands-on time privately with what weíll be getting soon, I thought a quick preview of what to expect (and maybe help the less shooter-inclined among us) in the form of a preview, capped off with some quick personal impressions of the game overall are in order.

Iíve separated it into 3 sections, so if you donít want to read it all, simply click from the choice below (single player, multiplayer and impressions) to directly jump there.

Jump to: Single Player, Multiplayer or Impressions.

Single Player

Whilst Star Wars Battlefront contains no traditional single player that we may have come to expect, the beta showcases a mode called ĎSurvivalí, on the fan favourite Tatooine map (the only one available in the beta).

This Survival mode does indeed contain an element of narrative (seemingly only for that specific mission), though nothing of any depth or continuation - merely a reason for you to be on the planet. But the mode itself is simply another name for Horde mode.

Thankfully you can choose to play this on 3 different difficulties, and the choice to play the mission either solo or through co-op via online or splitscreen.

The mission itself is fairly straightforward, you are a Rebel soldier trapped upon the planet and about to be surrounded by waves of Imperial troops - you must survive the onslaught until help arrives - each wave is interspersed with a drop-pod, this requires you to find it on the map (youíre guided via a waypoint) and to hold down Square next to it, to Ďclaimí it. Successfully defending your pod from the enemy wave - who will try and claim it for themselves - will result in you being awarded some supplies.

Within the beta youíll be given a default loadout (and have to survive through 6 waves of enemies), and if you have played any other shooter this decade, youíll be right at home.

For those unfamiliar with modern shooting mechanics, the left stick controls your player movement and the right your aiming reticle. The holding of the L2 button on your PlayStation 4 controller will aim down the sights of the gun, giving you increased accuracy and a tap of R2 will fire the laser blaster youíre holding. Youíll be able to sprint by holding-in the L3 (left analog stick) and you can jump using the X button or crouch by toggling the Circle button.

There's no ammo or reloads required for your weapon, only a cooling off period if your gun get's too hot. Star Wars Battlefront does employ the ability to switch between first and third-person though, which you can toggle by holding down on the D-Pad.

But what will be familiar for any Battlefield gamers, is how useless a standard weapon is against vehicles. This is where your secondary weapon comes into play. As mentioned previously youíll be given a default loadout, which gives you access to a weapon useful in taking down vehicle or droid enemies such as the multiple AT-STís youíll come across. To access this weapon simply tap the L1 button, once used it will also have a cooling down period until it can be used again.

Once you have successfully defeated 6 waves (the full game boasts 15 in total), youíll be thanked for playing and given some quick statistics on how well you did. This is then tallied against your PSN friends list on the mission briefing page.


The bulk of players will be most interested in the multiplayer mode, it also looks to be where developers DICE have focused their efforts. Within the Star Wars Battlefront Beta youíll be given access to two different multiplayer scenarios; Drop Zone a 8v8 fight to control and defend drop-pods, and Walker Assault a massive 40 player map that truly attempts to showcase the Star Wars universe.

But first Iíll go over some the finer details with multiplayer that you should be aware of.

As you play Star Wars Battlefront you will gain experience points, this is then converted into an in-game currency that you can use to purchase weapon upgrades and Star Cards found in the Collect menu.

As with most standard shooters today, certain weapons require you to reach a specific level in order to unlock it and the Blaster guns within Star Wars Battlefront are no different, as you reach the level required you then pay credits to add that weapon into your arsenal.

Star Cards meanwhile are the secondary weaponís within Star Wars Battlefront, within your own loadout (known as the Hand) you can carry only 3 different types. Like the Blasters they require credits and specific levels in order to unlock and add to your Hand.

One of these slots in your Hand though, is reserved for a special type of secondary item which is an enhancer to your primary weapon (which you activate by holding down the Triangle button in battle). These are of finite use (with a number indicated next to the card), and require you to purchase ammo for them (known as a Charge) or find their referring icons upon the battlefield to refill your supply.

But with that out of the way, letís delve into the Multiplayer modes on offer in the Star Wars Battlefront Beta starting with Drop Zone.

Drop Zone is the equivalent of Battlefieldís ĎRushí mode, with a tighter map and 8v8 combat (I believe the minimum is 3v3) and no vehicles on the terrain for use. The objective of both sides (Rebel and Imperial) is to lay claim of drop-pods, then defend them for a period of time until they are completely captured.

To claim a pod is easy enough - exactly the same as the single player - follow the waypoint until you reach the pod, if itís unclaimed (marked in white) then simply go up to it and press and hold the Square button to fully capture it.

Once you have captured your pod, now all you have to do is defend it from the enemy. That may mean finding a nice place to camp with your teammates, until the pod is fully in your possession (indicated by a ring around the pod icon that fills).

Once captured, a new pod will spawn (indicated by a waypoint) and the battle for control ensues once more. If a pod is currently in control of the enemy (marked in red) they will likely be still around, so taking care of them may be the first priority before reclaiming it.

To help matters, dotted randomly around the map are various power-ups. Collecting these will give you a one-use item (activated by pressing L1 and R1 together) to use to your advantage against the enemy, these can range from powerful grenades to turrets that you can place where you wish to defend.

Once the time runs out, or either team has managed to capture 5 podís the game will be over.

The other multiplayer mode in the Star Wars Battlefront Beta meanwhile is a far more chaotic beast, showcasing up to 40 players on a single extensive map (Hoth) with all the vehicles at your disposal. But whilst the trappings around Walker Assault are very different to Drop Zone, the objectiveís are largely similar.

Depending on the team you are playing as (Rebel or Imperial), your objective is to either capture a location - in this case Up-Link stations - or prevent the enemy from doing so. As the Imperial you have the advantage of your large AT-ATís plodding along hoping to reach that fabled Shield Generator. The goal is simple, kill the enemy to prevent them from capturing the Up-Link stations.

If the Up-Link stations are fully captured, you are then required to protect your AT-ATís (as an Imperial) from the incoming Y-Bombers who are now aware of their locations, whereas the Rebelís need to destroy the AT-AT vehicles to claim victory.

Whilst Hoth is indeed a massive map, you are now able to occupy the various much-loved Star Wars ships and machines such as a Tie-Fighter, X-Wing, AT-AT, AT-ST or the Snowspeeder complete with tow-cable.

But thatís not all, each side is also able to play as the iconic Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker to completely obliterate the enemy with ease. To obtain any of these, you must find the icon specific to that power-up on the map and activate it by pressing both L1 and R1 simultaneously.

My impressions

The biggest question about Star Wars Battlefront, was whether it was indeed Battlefield: Star Wars - the answer to that after some extended hands-on time with the beta is an unequivocal yes. When I envisioned a Battlefield version of Star Wars this was the exact result.

Whilst DICE have indeed done a fantastic job imbuing the iconic Star Wars trappings, deep down itís still that core Battlefield experience, so if you arenít a fan of that series youíll likely feel the same way about Star Wars Battlefront over time.

Battlefield fans meanwhile have a lot to look forward to, not only is the game beautiful to look at, but thereís actually not that many bugs (miracle I know) at least on the PlayStation 4 version. The omission of any kind of reload or ammo is a good one, that is sure to at least change gameplay up slightly, as is the perk system or Star Cards as they are referred to.

With the vehicles having to be activated through an odd system of finding an icon randomly on the map, it leaves a lot of running around in open-spaces, trying to nudge yourself closer to the objective that feels like (in usual Battlefield fashion) a marathon run away. The vehicles themselves meanwhile are equal parts clumsy and restrictive yet oddly fitting for this bumbling universe we have come to love.

Itís the mapís that are currently its biggest flaw (the few that we have), whilst beautiful and indeed iconic to look at - especially Hoth - they just donít make for great gameplay. The disjointed, rock faces feel randomly placed, jolting you in your tracks as you awkwardly get caught on the terrain or random pits in the ground. There really is no flow to their design, and seem to been created as more for an aesthetic than gameplay focused.

This then runs in tandem with the modes on offer, they feel uninspired. Doing the same objective dressed up a different way is not a great opener for the Star Wars Battlefront Beta add to this the dull maps and it doesnít create that spark - that jolt - needed to make the player stick around once the gimmicks of playing as Darth Vader have long worn off.

But what is here at least makes for a great start. With the full game just over a month away, itís very likely - whilst being called a beta - this is indeed just a public demo, with little to no changes happening before the release date. But with enough maps (hopefully better ones then showcased here) and more varied modes to change things up in the full release, it should make for some fun online come November.

What do you think about Star Wars Battlefront? Let me know in the comments below.


Scheduled for full retail release in the UK on November 19th (17th for U.S.) on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The Star War Battlefront Open Beta for all PlayStation 4 user's kicks off on the 8th of October, and you can play it regardless of PlaySation Plus subscription.

Opinion of: David Robinson
Twitter: @5ypher

Posted on 7th October 2015