The Star Wars: Battlefront closed beta has become available a couple of days ago and it instantly vindicated all those who have put their trust into DICE to make this a game that would live up to the tremendous hype that preceded it. Indeed, as we followed the development of this game one bit of rumor/news at a time, it has become clear that no amount of effort would be spared to make this good and now all I can say is: it shows. The beta isn’t all milk and honey obviously, there are a number of smaller problems with it, but being positive a person, I’m not going to dwell on any of these minute and ultimately insignificant details, and I’m only going to focus on the bits that have left me thoroughly impressed.
To start off: the graphics. In this day and age, raving about the visuals of a newly released (or not even released yet) game is sophomoric, no doubt about that, but in this instance it is fully warranted, not only on account of the actual quality of the visuals, but much more importantly because of the authenticity that’s created through the visuals. The Star Wars universe has always been a very visual realm: from the very first special effects of the 70s, down to Battlefront’s virtual worlds, the visuals always sought to impress. Thanks to DICE’s efforts, those playing this game will feel a part of this legendary canon from the menus right down to action. It’s as if one were playing within one of the Star Wars movies.
Jet packs have left a thorough impression on me in several ways. First of all, the way they work when one actually uses them is flawless: one feels like he’s indeed dealing with a dangerous and potentially unstable contraption, and taking off and landing does feel like it involves actual weight. Hands-down one of the best in-game jet pack implementations ever. Furthermore, when one manages to shoot an opponent who is using a jetpack, the victim will careen off out of control and explode in a hail of sparks harkening right back to the above mentioned 70s special effects.
“”Impressive” is perhaps not the right epithet to use when describing the game’s “Walker Assault on Hoth” mode. “Overwhelming” seems like a much more inspired choice. Indeed, this game mode – in addition to the flawless authenticity and the bona-fide Star Wars feeling delivered by the graphics engine – drops the player into a war-zone, where monstrous AT-AT walkers tread by and fighters zoom past overhead, shooting at a distant enemy not yet visible but ominous through its implied presence. In addition to this, there are 40 players running around, some of them in the bodies of classic characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, thanks to special power-ups they have picked up. The organized helter-skelter of battle is wonderfully implemented, and it is – like everything else in the game – a major Star Wars-y rush!