Here we go. First chance for me to give it a spin and not be reduced to giving armchair commentary on the shoddy looking E3 gameplay. So, how do I MYSELF think it plays after having gone into it and rustled every jimmy the beta had to offer?
In short, as I predicted yet hoped would prove me wrong, it sucks. I mean, wow. After playing one round as the rebels and one as the empire for variety’s sake, I literally had no desire to play another match. Not a good sign.
Here’s the skinny: the core shooting lacks any sort of impact and feels more arcade-y than the original Star Wars Battlefront‘s, I’m not even shitting you. It feels like you’re shooting harmless light beams at beanbags rather than people in this game. The jumping is stiff and allows for little improvisation, and you can’t prone at all from what I know. Unreal. Not to mention that even for a beta the weapon variety is terrible. DICE has made no indications that the full game will include more than one class for each side (meanwhile, SWBF2 had six), meaning the pathetic four guns on display here might be all you get in the final product. What the fuck. Also, a nitpick on the controls: you have to manually swap from first person to third person every time you respawn. I had to click and hold “c” every damn time. Why can’t we just set a first or third person preference like in Strike Vector?
So that’s the shooting. Moving on to vehicles, well, good luck even getting in one. DICE had the brilliant idea to make every rare item, vehicle and hero a power-up unlockable that appears completely randomly somewhere on the field. Do you love the memories you have of SWBF2‘s intense dogfights? Well, good luck finding a fucking power-up token on the ground to even access the goddamn ship, let alone learn its controls and pilot it tactfully. The same goes for the AT-AT and the AT-ST.
To be fair, the one thing I actually liked about this beta was the idea they were going for with the AT-AT. Had that been the ONLY vehicle to require a power-up token to access, I would’ve loved the idea. Since in SWBF1 whoever piloted the AT-AT was a bit of an overpowered jerk-off, it was a nice idea DICE tried to implement to limit any individual’s time with the most powerful vehicle on the map, constrained also by the fact that it’s on rails. But, to reiterate, DICE fucked up when they made every vehicle restricted by this token gimmick.
This also means I didn’t get a single chance to play as the hero or villain, that’s right. Not one minute of Vader or Luke action to be had, because it’s all based on randomly spawning token bullshit rather than skill. You know, skill, that concept SWBF2 rewarded you for performing by letting you play as a hero or villain after pulling off incredible battle feats. Not just randomly doling out the reward to whatever moron was lucky enough to stumble across a fucking token.
Last major complaint is how unbalanced the main mode on display is. Walker Assault HEAVILY favors the empire side. I won both my matches on both sides, but as rebels our team pulled out a victory with literally seconds to go. On the empire side, we won virtually hands down without much of a struggle. In other words, the empire side has a gross advantage. Does DICE even play test this shit?
UPDATE 10/9/15: I’ve gone ahead and created a list of simple suggestions for how DICE can fix Walker Assault mode. My expanded thoughts on the beta, especially the vehicular gameplay, are included as well.
As for the other modes, there’s some tacky 8v8 COD-wannabe mode I gave one whirl. It’s essentially a smaller, vastly less interesting TDM mode which emphasizes the weak gameplay on display in this beta. The only marginally cool part was how the map was on Sullust, a map SUPPOSED to be on a volcanic ice planet. Yet, the map has no lava. Or volcanoes. Or ice/snow. It’s a fucking mud-crater map. Laaaaaaaaaaaame. Like, seriously, it’s as though DICE went out of their way to make a cool concept for a planet the most boring thing possible.
The other mode in the beta is survival, a single player or co-op experience where you defend yourself against waves of generic stormtroopers and once in a while an AT-ST. It’s six waves of utter meh, the same survival/horde mode nonsense you’ve seen in dozens of third person shooters over the last decade.
So, yeah. I’m gonna be honest, I’m getting good enough at this “reading E3 footage” to accurately figure out my opinions on a game just by watching, as my impressions when I posted my Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront Will Suck post turned out to be entirely accurate to how I feel now, fresh off having played the beta firsthand. In fact, I’m slightly more bitter about the game now after having found out every vehicle, useful power-up and hero character can only be accessed through fucking tokens. That is the worst idea I’ve ever seen implemented in a multiplayer game, like, honestly.
Who wants to bet if you spend $3.99 in-game EA will grant you a five-pack of hero tokens?