The extremely successful beta for Star Wars Battlefront may be over, but it’s fair to say that the game is still at the forefront of many gamers’ minds. And why shouldn’t it be? Star Wars fans have been waiting a decade for the franchise to return; when you combine that with the immense anticipation for the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December, it’s safe to assume that this will easily be one of the best-selling games of the year. The response to the beta has been largely positive, as the game is not only breathtaking in terms of presentation but is also a completely competent shooter in its own right. With a little over a month to go until the full game releases, we’re now left with almost too much time to ponder the various ways in which the beta left us wanting, however. Make no mistake; there is a ton to like about the taste the beta gave us, but there were also a fair number of problems with it too. While it’s unlikely that most of the following issues will be fixed before the game comes out, if EA and developer DICE can make some key improvements to what they have already, they could very well have the best Star Wars game ever on their hands (and who knows, it could still be either way!). Here’s what we’d like to see improved upon or added to the finished version of Star Wars Battlefront.
8. A Variety of Spawn Points
The central draw of the beta was the 40 player Walker Assault mode set on Hoth because who doesn’t want to live out the most iconic Star Wars battle ever? This mode does a great job of showcasing how large battles work in the game. The problem is that, when you die (and you will…a lot), there is very little choice in terms of where you will respawn. You can either spawn in a pre-determined zone that depends on how far along the battle is or with a partner, which is a handy but often risky choice depending on what they’re up to at the time. We know this game is different from the Battlefield series (which DICE also makes), but considering that Walker Assault is structured similarly to that franchise’s Rush mode, DICE should consider adding additional spawn zones to give players more choices of where to return on their next life. After all, nobody likes dying five seconds after returning to battle.
7. A Dodge Mechanic
In the grand scheme of changes that could be made to Star Wars Battlefront as it is right now, adding the ability to dodge (say in the form of a combat roll) falls under the category “would be nice to have but isn’t necessary.” As anyone who played more than a couple matches probably quickly figured out, the game is pretty generous when it comes to aim-assist and overall accuracy. We’re actually fans of not having to rely solely on headshots to get kills in the game but unfortunately, this often leads to situations where the first player to score a hit is the one who will survive. Adding a dodge mechanic would make firefights more dynamic and allow the game to maintain its generous shooting gameplay while opening up more avenues for skilled players to get the upper hand in most encounters. We know this is almost guaranteed not to be put into the game at this point but it’s still worth bringing up, especially considering older games in the series allowed players to dodge, so we know it works in this series.
6. Online Split-Screen
With every new major title that arrives without any form of local multiplayer option, this generation of gaming is starting to feel more and more like an incredibly lonely experience if you don’t have a dedicated group of online friends to play with on a regular basis. Star Wars Battlefront is the rare new AAA title that actually has some form of local split-screen functionality, but as far as we know, it’s only relegated to the offline Survival mode. Dice has proven that split-screen is possible with the game’s engine so why is there no option for taking a couch-mate online with you? To be fair, there is likely a completely valid technical reason for this omission, but it still would have been nice to see the developers implement a feature that is so woefully absent from the majority of new games these days. Nobody should have to buy two consoles just to play a game together with friends or family.
5. Better Balancing
One of the most talked about issues with the beta is that Walker Assault is favored heavily towards the Imperial side. While Star Wars “purists” will make the claim that this is in keeping with canon, since the Empire wins the Battle of Hoth, that kind of argument doesn’t really hold up in a game that should be balanced in favor of the better team, not whoever is lucky enough to be thrown on a particular side. The problem right now is that the rebels have to accomplish a variety of objectives in order to have a chance at winning, while players on the Imperial side can get away with just treating Walker Assault like a simple deathmatch and likely still win anyway. We’re not too sure specifically how this could be fixed but giving the Imperials a more complex objective similar to the rebels’ would probably balance things more evenly and make pulling off a win a challenge for either side.
4. Vehicle Spawns
Many beta players were probably a bit taken aback by Star Wars Battlefront‘s strange approach to doling out power-ups, as they are scattered around the map. While this approach actually works really well for things like orbital strikes or bubble shields, it feels a bit odd to essentially stumble upon X-Wings in the middle of a warzone. Granted, there are pros and cons to having traditional vehicle spawn zones too, but at least it’s always clear where they’re going to be. Who knows; we might actually end up liking this new system more once the full game ships and we see it in practice more. Until then, we kind of miss the way Battlefield and even the older Battlefront titles handled vehicles. There’s just something about jumping in a starfighter and blasting off that can’t be replicated by suddenly finding yourself in the pilot’s seat mid-flight. Also, does this mean that your allies can’t jump into a vehicle with you anymore? If so, that feels like a major missed opportunity.
3. Some Actual Single Player Content
We’ve known for awhile that Star Wars Battlefront will be a multiplayer-only affair but now that we’ve gotten a taste of what the game has to offer, we have to admit that we’re a little bit worried about the game’s longevity without any sort of single player mode. We would have loved to see something like an updated version of Galactic Conquest from the older titles (which also happened to be a great split-screen experience). It’s understandable why EA and DICE would want to make Battlefront multiplayer only; it’s the main draw of the franchise and adding in a full-fledged single player mode would take resources away from ensuring that the multiplayer is top-notch. Still, games featuring just multiplayer are a risky venture nowadays (just look at Titanfall and Evolve for recent examples). For it to work, you have to assume that players will find your game compelling enough to build a sizable, dedicated community around it and even if that happens, the title’s lifespan drops off dramatically considering it’s directly dependent on players sticking with the game for a long period of time. We can only hope that Battlefront will offer an experience so fantastic that we’ll want to keep playing but right now, we’re not so sure EA and DICE can pull it off.
2. More Variety in Objectives
Walker Assault on Hoth was a blast, one that we’ll definitely return to when the full game is released. Still, even with only a few days worth of playtime, the creeping doubt started to set it that there may not be enough variety in terms of the actual gameplay experience to keep us coming back for very long. There’s no denying that being part of the hectic fray of the Battle of Hoth is a compelling experience in and of itself, but there needs to be more variety in the objectives if this mode (and the others) are going to have any staying power. Right now, Walker Assault can be boiled down to the rebels capturing points on the map, holding them, and firing everything they have at the AT-AT walkers; for the Imperials, there’s even less variety. If DICE can find a way to add some more dynamic, on-the-fly scenarios to the proceedings (such as random Wampa attacks that both sides need to fend off), it would go a long way in keeping things fresh long after the novelty of seeing X-Wings and Tie Fighters dogfight overhead wears off.
1. Get Rid of That $50 Season Pass
Season passes are, to put it bluntly, one of the worst business practices in modern gaming and unfortunately, Star Wars Battlefront has one of the most despicable in recent memory. EA recently announced that the game’s season pass would cost a whopping $50, which is almost the price of the full game. While it’s nice to know that the company is committed to supproting the game with new content post-release, it’s more than a little suspect to already be asking consumers to shell out fifty more dollars for a game that isn’t even out yet. In addition, it’s simply a disingenuous practice that gives the impression that content is being stripped from the full game in order to sell to people later. Call us crazy, but when we’re paying $60 and up for a new game, we’d like to think that we’re getting a full game before we even consider ponying up for additional content. As good as the base experience of Star Wars Battlefront is likely to be, the thought of EA deliberately withholding fan-favorite maps and characters from players until they open up their wallets some more is disgusting. While we know EA won’t get rid of the season pass altogether, it would just be nice to see them drop the price to a more acceptable level, even if we know there’s fat chance of that happening either.