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Beta Impressions

Posted on Oct 6th 2017 08:49:29 in Updates, Opinion

Today marks the opening of the beta to the general public and the third day that I've played. I feel like I've played enough to give detailed feedback. Star Wars Battlefront II has changed many things from the 2015 game. The most important change is the change in the gunplay. The 2015 game had almost no recoil, no spread, no hipfire penalty, and no penalty for shooting while strafing. Star Wars Battlefront II adds recoil, spread, a small hipfire penalty, and a small penalty for shooting while strafing. Despite this change, I have still found it perfectly viable to hipfire from close and medium ranges. Only at long ranges did I find the need to aim down the sights/zoom in at all. The biggest issue with the gunplay is that the blaster bolts are too small in Star Wars Battlefront II. In the 2015 game the bolts were large, easily visible, and made an obvious impact on an enemy. In the new game they are almost invisible and don't provide sufficient feedback when hitting an enemy. I've found that this change alone accounts for most of the tangible change in gameplay to me. 

I played several rounds of Galactic Assault in the beta so far and I have some reservations about the map Theed. The first stage feels too sparse; there is a distinct lack of contact with the enemy. The interior stages are too narrow and funnel conflicts into chokepoints, which isn't ideal. I also played several rounds of Strike. This mode I found much more fun. It could use some tweaks, winning as the attacking team is magnitudes more difficult than the defending team. The map, Takodana, is fantastic and perfect for the size of the mode. I did play one round of Starfighter Assault, but I couldn't get a feel for the fighters this time around. I will need much more practice to get a hang of it, it looks gorgeous though and the addition of flyable Y-Wings and TIE Bombers is very welcomed. 

As for the classes, they require some more balance. Assault is viable most of the time, the default Clone blaster has too much recoil and does poor damage. The default blasters for the Droid, Resistance, and Frist Order Assault classes are much better and satisfying to use. The Heavy class is the most powerful right now, they tank so much damage and throw so much firepower downrange, it's the easiest to do well with them. The unlockable heavy blaster is one of the best blasters in the beta. The Officer class is severely underpowered. The reliance on blaster pistols puts the Officer on a distinct disadvantage and it's hard to earn points with them. Finally the Specialist class, once you have the Stealth card, is very effective at range. The sniper blasters fire fast and are accurate, in a good position a Specialist can hold down a chokepoint. I did notice that there is scope glint, so it balances pretty well. 

Reinforcements (Special Classes) are a mixed bag. The Wookiee Warriors and First Order Flametroopers are fairly underwhelming. They don't tank a lot of damage and they don't put out a lot of damage to make up for it. The Super Battle Droid is absolutely fantastic. It tanks a ton of damage and puts out a lot as well, but it can still go down quickly if you aren't careful. The jumptroopers on all sides are fairly good classes. I've found the most success with the First Order Jumptrooper as seen in the video above, but they are all very usable. They don't take a lot of damage, but their blasters are very accurate and their rocket provides a good surprise bang for enemies grouping together. 

Earning heroes is rather difficult, it takes 5000 battle points to get them and I only got to play as one, Maul, once. That said, Maul was an absolute beast. Playing carefully I lasted the entire match as Maul and ended up with over 50 eliminations. In the right hands, like the last game, heroes are extremely powerful tools for both suppressing the enemy and breaking their lines. 

Now, onto the most controversal aspect of this game, the lootboxes that can be bought with real money or in-game currency. Some say that its pay-to-win, but I do not see it that way. The lootboxes have a chance of giving you a Star Card, blaster, customization, or crafting parts. At first this may seem like pay-to-win, but there are no exclusive Star Cards or blasters in the lootboxes. All Star Cards, their upgrades, and all blasters can be unlocked without paying any real money through normal gameplay. We don't know what the final grind will be, but I would be very surprised if it is egregious. On the upside, all new maps, modes, heroes, vehicles, weapons, and star cards will be free. So it's a tradeoff, have microstransactions or have a season pass. We all know how capitalism works. I don't see these lootboxes as significantly different from the Shortcut Kits that you could buy for the previous game and every Battlefield game since Bad Company 2 to unlock all weapons and abilities for specific classes. 

In summation, after some initial hesitation and a change in gunplay that threw me off a bit I am very much enjoying the beta. I am still excited for the final release and I still plan to update this site as often as I can. Between this weekend and launch of the final game this site will see everything new we have learned about the game added. Let me know what you think about the beta in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, 

~ SG-17