On a PlayStation far, far away… I played the Star Wars Battlefront II Open Beta. But distance is relative and, compared to the launch of EA’s Star Wars Battlefront, we are mere parsecs away from the highly anticipated Star Wars Battlefront II coming November 17. Thankfully, EA is having an Open Beta going on right now and up through the weekend until it closes down October 9th. I got a chance to go hands-on a couple days early in the closed beta stage, a pre-order bonus for those who already reserved their copies. But how does this sequel fare when compared to EA’s first Battlefront? Here are our impressions of the Star Wars Battlefront 2 Open Beta:
Right away upon logging in I noticed the main menu resembles much the same that I remember from the first Star Wars Battlefront, with minor UI elements that really draw you in. There’s a static-y distortion to the menus and the HUD that really makes it feel as if it’s being projected in front of me. This put a fantastic atmospheric effect on me as I prepared to enter my first mission. I started with the Galactic Assault mission, which the beta prompted me, to begin with anyways. This mode is what I would call the main draw in Star Wars Battlefront II’s roster of game modes: these maps involve you and your team either attacking or defending a series of objectives with up to 40 players total.
The only map available for this mode during the beta is the battle for Theed on Naboo, where the Separatists launch an assault on the capital city to capture the palace and force a surrender. These matches can get long, but there is simply no other experience like being on a battlefield in the Star Wars universe vying for control in a gorgeously rendered environment. New to EA’s Battlefront II is the inclusion of a Class system. Ground troops come in four main flavors: Assault, Heavy, Officer, and Specialist. Each has their own weapons and upgrade cards, and even distinct victory poses. So far in the beta, each class is limited to two weapons, the second of which you must unlock via the new Crates, Battlefront II’s take on the latest trend in gaming: loot boxes.
Yes, we all love a good RNG, don’t we? These Crates can be earned easily enough in-game through a couple different methods. First, you can outright buy them using the in-game currency Credits. Credits are earned after each mission, whether you win or lose, and even via the offline Arcade missions as well. Second, you can earn them by completing weekly and daily challenges in the Career tab. These challenges vary depending on the category but are generally standard objectives, such as “Play X class for X minutes in Multiplayer” or “Defeat X Enemies using X Weapon.” Fret not, though; the game is considerably generous in giving you Crates. In my two days of playing, I’ve already opened a couple dozen or so Crates! In addition to this new system, Battlefront II has added a secondary currency for those who just want to get a specific card or ability they haven’t found yet. Whatever you aren’t lucky enough to find in Crates can be crafted in-game using Battlefront II’s secondary currency, Crafting Parts. Even if the RNG isn’t nice to you, you can still utilize all these crafting parts to make the cards you need.
Another new aspect I’ll talk about is the return of a much-requested gameplay mode by fans: the Starfighter Assault mode. These space-based missions allow you to fly iconic starfighters throughout different scenarios. The playable map in the beta takes place above Fondor, where an Imperial Star Destroyer is undergoing repairs when suddenly, the Rebel Alliance launches a surprise attack. These maps support up to 24 players in hectic, dog-fighting goodness where – similar to the Galactic Assault mode – one side attacks and one side defends certain objectives through a multi-tiered mission.
This is, by far, my favorite mode in the beta. Not only does it look gorgeous; to finally be up in space again like the old games just make me want to zoom around the giant space stations and take in all the detail that was put into these models. But the dogfighting combat feels fast and fluid, exactly what I expect out of my X-Wings and Tie Fighters. However, this starfighter mission definitely feels skewed in favor of the defending team. I hope EA addresses the imbalance shown here over the next month, as I won’t ever want to play on the side of the Resistance otherwise. Overall, I know it’s not Conquest Mode like some have been clamoring for, but it still feels good to have space combat back in a sci-fi themed video game. I’ll take it in any form I can get it. For kicks, I even put on my PSVR headset just to immerse myself even more. I really hope EA decides to include another VR mission (or ten) after launch so that I can lose myself in these beautifully constructed levels.
The last multiplayer mission available is also the smallest map. Strikes are smaller attack and defend objective maps built for 16 players. In the beta, the strike takes place on Takodana in and around Maz’s castle for Episode VII. It was unbelievably cool to be able to go in and explore Maz’s castle from the movie, and I found myself lost in the detail inside for often than I’m sure my team would’ve liked. The premise for this strike is that the First Order received intel that this is the location of another Jedi artifact; however, the Resistance isn’t going to let it go it without a fight.
This was my least favorite of all the missions available to play. The density of the foliage outside Maz’s castle just prevent me from ever knowing where I was getting shot from. Although I loved the environment and detail in exploring the area, the multitude of shrubbery prevented me from ever being able to complete any objective. Perhaps it was just me – but every time I was on the attacking team for this mission, my team lost. I would not object if Maz hired a landscapist between now and November 14th to touch up her front yard – she’s definitely let it go over the years.
Note: Screenshot is a dramatization.
Overall, I am thoroughly enjoying my time playing the Star Wars Battlefront II Multiplayer Beta. The grayed-out mission options, like “Heroes vs Villians” and “Blast” and, of course, the single-player Campaign make me excited to pick up a copy come launch day. The Star Wars games have never felt more authentic, and the series is only getting better. I’ll see you all online when Star Wars Battlefront II launches early for Deluxe edition buyers on November 14th.
Are you playing the Star Wars Battlefront II Multiplayer Beta this weekend? Let us know what you think about the beta in the comments below!
Note: Our code for impressions of the closed beta on PlayStation 4 was provided by PR.