EGX 2015: Star Wars Battlefront Hands-On Preview


GameSided Staff Writer Fraser G. recently attended EGX 2015 in the UK, gaining access to hands-on previews of some of the hottest upcoming AAA titles and indie games. Our EGX roundup series has now concluded, but you can find links to all of our features below.

#1 Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Hands-On Preview
#2 Soul Axiom Interview
#3 Star Wars Battlefront Hands-On Preview
#4 Aaero Interview
#5 Rise Of The Tomb Raider Hands-On Preview
#6 Indie Showcase – Fire Fu
#7 Just Cause 3 Hands-On Preview
#8 Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Hands-On Preview
#9 Indie Showcase – Just Shapes and Beats
#10 HTC Vive Hands-On Preview

As soon as the doors swung open on day one of EGX 2015, I only had one destination in mind – the Star Wars Battlefront booth. There were actually two of them, so I headed straight for the 40-player Walker Assault queue which was undoubtedly more popular than the alternative co-op missions option. Unfortunately, plenty of other people had the same idea too, and it took a good hour of standing in line before I finally got my hands on the game. Before commencing battle, we were given headsets and treated to a short video briefing from a computerized Admiral Ackbar, who explained the mechanics of the game and the aim of the Walker Assault mode.

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When I finally sat down for some multiplayer action with the other attendees at the show, I realized that no-one had been given any inclination of how to actually play the game. We had a control list on the desks in front of us, but the complexity of the game’s controls combined with the inability to pause or rest for any length of time, meant that it was difficult to get to grips with Battlefront’s control scheme.

I felt a sense of familiarity from the moment that Battlefront’s gameplay kicked into gear. Shooting mechanics were easy to get to grips with, and picking off other players with a variety of weapons was satisfying. The ability to switch to third-person mode was a nice luxury, and one which I opted to utilize multiple times over the course of my session. Running over power-ups gave me access to special abilities, and as soon as I figured out how to use them, they were effective enhancements. There were no lightsabers on display here though, as Hero characters appeared to have been held back from this particular preview.

I felt a sense of familiarity from the moment that Battlefront’s gameplay kicked into gear.

Some of Battlefront’s power-ups gave me access to a variety of ships (which appeared out of nowhere – a little disappointing) and piloting them felt natural, with an extra layer of depth than I had initially expected. In terms of the mode itself, Walker Assault was a hectic war, set in the location of Hoth.

There’s a large amount of open space on the snowy conditions of Hoth, and the sheer number of players that were involved in the battle ensured that it was difficult to stay alive. I also had a few instances in which I was spawned directly in front of the enemy which was irritating. I couldn’t tell you how balanced the mode really is at this point because so many players chose to ignore the task at hand, turning the game into an all-out deathmatch.

Despite the fact that Star Wars Battlefront’s gameplay was entertaining and polished, it never wowed me in the way that I’d secretly hoped it might. That’s probably my own fault; I’ve watched so many videos in anticipation of the game’s release that I have accustomed myself to the way the game plays and looks, and that’s exactly what I was presented with.

Battlefront’s visuals are gorgeous for the most part, especially when featuring big explosions of fire and light, and the demo cruised at a solid 60 fps. There are a few elements which look poor in comparison at this point in the development process, including demolished TIE Fighters which crash into a burst of low quality flames, or sometimes disappear altogether. Battlefront’s audio was excellent, constantly filling me with a sense of immersion. Everything sounds authentic, from the sound of a laser blast hitting a shield, to the sound of an AT-AT exploding after impact.

Battlefront’s audio was excellent, constantly filling me with a sense of immersion.

I wandered over to the second Battlefront booth later in the day and tried my hand at the game’s Tatooine mission mode. This was a co-op mission, in which we were assigned the task of disposing of waves of enemies who grew in numbers over time, which included Stormtroopers and AT-AT’s. The Tatooine map was filled with a greater variety of places to explore than Hoth (understandably), and there was a lot of detail to Tatooine’s environment. It was a nice change of pace to play co-cooperatively against AI enemies, who were fairly clever in their actions and operated at a balanced difficulty level.

There were positives and negatives to my overall experience with the preview, but I’m still planning to pick up Star Wars Battlefront on release. I enjoyed Battlefront’s style of gameplay, and the game’s ability to create a sense of immersion is the kind of experience that Star Wars fans crave, even if it didn’t leave me with a sense of amazement in the way I’d hoped it might.

You won’t have to wait long to try out Star Wars Battlefront for yourselves, as the game’s public beta will be unveiled for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on October 8th. The full game will be hitting the shelves on November 17th, 2015 for the aforementioned platforms.

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