I’m always quick to own up to being wrong. This week, EA launched the open beta for Star Wars: Battlefront, a game that I’ve been looking over the fence at with caution since its initial unveiling. My past experiences with EA Dice that weren’t Bad Company related have generally been negative, and with Battlefront, I had nothing but low expectations of a lagtastic, Battlefield reskin that would constantly crash and send me back to my console’s home screen. I couldn’t have been more wrong in this instance (and I’m happy to be proven so here), however, I am still giving this one a pass when it hits retail on November 17th.
The beta has actually been a lot of fun so far. The levels on display look gorgeous and, man, it is cool as hell hearing blaster shots firing all around you! I didn’t personally experience any crashes or lag and, most importantly, it didn’t feel like a Battlefield reskin. The action feels fast-paced, and getting back into the thick of things after dying is almost instant. Dice has definitely created a fun environment for gamers who love competitive multiplayer games to roll around in. So, with all of this praise I’m heaping upon the game, what’s the problem? Well, part of it has to do with my own personal gaming habits – I’m not a big multiplayer participant – and the other part of it is a growing problem I have with online-only games because of this.
My gaming preferences tend to favor more story driven experiences. Obviously, Destiny is a huge exception to this as we all know how lackluster the story was in that game to begin with (Year 2 has started out much better in this respect). I also can’t help but to recall another title that I had been enthused about prior to launch, Titanfall. Titanfall was an absolute blast when it first came out. From the giant robots raining down from the skies above, to the fast-paced combat and momentum-boosting wall-running (which I loved chaining into a jump kick on unsuspecting pilots), matches played out with almost never a dull moment. However, after about a week of play, I had felt like I had my fill of the action. That’s not to say it’s a bad game, but I couldn’t help but to feel just a little cheated having dropped 60 bones on it, only to shelve it a week later. I have that same sense having played Battlefront.
Aside from having only one big aspect to it (multiplayer), it’s coming out at a terrible time. The holiday season is ridiculously crammed with so many great games each year that those at the tail end kind of get lost in the shuffle. As it currently sits, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate will all be out prior to Star Wars: Battlefront hitting the market. These are all games I have an interest in, and guess what? I know I won’t have the time to sit and play each of these as it is.
My hats off to EA Dice for building a fun and frantic shooter! I really am having fun with the beta so far, but I also know that once it ends, something else will come along and I’ll move on feeling like I’ve had my fill of what Battlefront has to offer. To Star Wars and competitive gaming enthusiasts (especially the casual crowd), I think you’ll have a great time with this game when it comes out. Maybe at some point, when I have that urge to just sit back and play something that doesn’t require much more than laying waste to the rebel scum, I’ll pick it up and give it a whirl. But until then, may the force be with you!