Our first impressions from the Star Wars Battlefront II beta

This week we had the chance to explore the open beta version of Star Wars Battlefront II, which featured a limited range of maps and modes to explore, as well as new characters, weapons and a whole lot of loot. Chief among the modes present was the ultra fun Strike Mode, which allowed players to take on the roles of either the First Order or the rebels in their attempt to defend or rescue an ancient artefact. As well as Strike Mode, the beta played host to other challenges, such as the Galactic and Starfighter Assaults and co-op Arcade mode. Here’s a few things that we learned in our time with the game.

Takodana and Theed are both brilliantly designed maps.

By far the most exciting maps available to players for the Beta were Theed, capital of Naboo and Takodana, home to Maz Kanata. Takodana’s map featured Maz’s palace, which was very well replicated from Force Awakens, and filled with nooks and crannies to hide in and fight from. Theed was another great map, featuring the city in all its shiny splendour. Filled with towering golden statues and sweeping city streets, Theed was a sight to behold.

Starfighter Assaults are just as tiresome as in the original.

Moving from the excitement and beauty of Takodana and Theed, flying into the stars should have made for an exciting experience. The last Battlefront game played host to a similar mode, and unfortunately the years don’t seem to have improved the experience. The action is fast-paced and impressive, but incredibly difficult to parse, and not nearly as refined or fun as the ground-based assault modes. 

New characters make great additions to the franchise.

Single player and co-op Battle Scenarios allow players to take on offline challenges with a variety of new characters. While the beta only allowed for the access to two ‘dark side’ stories, they did showcase the power of newcomer to the franchise, Darth Maul. Quite simply, Maul is a beast, armed with an incredibly high-powered lightsaber and an arsenal of moves that makes him loads of fun to play. Elsewhere, high level players were able to unlock other characters such as Rey, who turned out to be both impressive and deadly. Both are looking like fantastic additions to the roster. 

Loot crates are a significant detraction.

Concerns about pay-to-win models are rife within modern online-based games, and Battlefront II does little to alleviate these concerns. Throughout our time with the game, we received several crates for participating in battles, and unlocked a variety of cosmetic accessories. These included emotes, special abilities and new guns, none of which particularly impacted gameplay, but still encouraged players to purchase using in-game currency. Of course, you can also spend real world money on these crates, significantly adding to the power and depth of your arsenal. While EA has been quick to note that crate contents and rarity distribution have been increased for the purposes of the beta, it still marks an important concern. 

Like any beta, it has its fair share of issues. 

Throughout our time with the beta, we experienced a number of baffling issues, including significant framerate drops and movement glitches, which saw us teleporting randomly backwards and forwards for long stretches of time. Character models clipped in and out of landscapes, and appeared to float on air, while one particularly great moment saw Darth Maul’s character model trap itself within an automatic door. While these glitches were largely insignificant and most likely a product of Battlefront II’s beta status, they still stood out as problematic.

Above all else, it is phenomenally gorgeous. 

Each level was more beautiful than the last, and from the high detailing of the leaves to the impressive water ripples, it was immediately clear how much love was put into designing the worlds of Battlefront II. The game looks stellar, even in its beta form, and is sure to be impressive upon its full release.

Star Wars Battlefront II is available for pre-order now, and releases on November 17th. For more news and updates, follow us on Twitter or Facebook!