The force is strong with this one.
When I first heard that DICE was developing Star Wars Battlefront, it was like the gaming gods looked into my mind and discovered my wildest gaming fantasy. I've sunk countless hours into every single Battlefield game as well as both Star Wars Battlefront games, and I even belonged to a Battlefield 1942 clan. After playing Star Wars Battlefront at E3, I'm really looking forward to playing the full version.
Offline modes in these two series are lackluster at best since they're basically the same as multiplayer modes but with poor to non-existent AI controlling the enemies. DICE changes that by offering co-op (online and couch) that is much different than their online multiplayer modes. Co-op modes include Battles, Hero Battles, and Trials, but the one I played at E3 was Survival. It's similar to other series' survival modes, but there's more to do than simply killing enemies. The AI is quite challenging, and of course the entire mode has a welcome Star Wars twist.
My battle took place with one teammate (Nick Tan) in the rocky desert hills of Tatooine, and we played as rebels fighting against waves of stormtroopers. Before the match began, I was able to select a main weapon and an ability loadout. Weapons included the iconic blaster rifle and laser pistol, so I chose the blaster rifle. Each loadout gives players three special abilites such as magnetic grenades, personal shields, and jetpacks, each with different charging timers. We entered the battle and proceeded to defend our crash site against the Empire, who was arriving via space ships.
At first I found it difficult to locate enemies because the map has several vertical levels. It became much easier once I started using my jetpack, and after taking out the first wave, a rebel escape pod was sent down to the planet to give us supplies. One of them was a rocket launcher, which came in really handy when an AT-ST was sent in with another wave. Another power-up was an orbital strike that unleashes a devastating AoE blast from space. The action was fast and furious as enemies attacked from all sides and the waves grew stronger and stronger.
Walker Assault was vastly different than Survival, mostly because it supports up to 40 players and lets everyone control different vehicles such as AT-ATs, tie-fighters, and X-wing fighters. This mode is filled with non-stop action as players don't have to go very far to find enemies to kill, and gunfire sprays everywhere from every direction. This mode seems incredibly chaotic at first, but it only takes a short while to get the hang of it. Certain strategies become apparent; for example, traveling around in groups is a no-brainer, but defending turrets and activating orbital strikes gives players a big advantage.
Once again I played as a rebel, but this time I had to defend our base on Hoth from advancing AT-ATs. Power-ups were found in random locations that reward players with things like a Smart Rocket or the ability to pilot a vehicle. It's cool how the terrain was varied instead of flat because it didn't let players snipe enemies from the other side of the map. I decided to choose the loadout with the jetpack so I could get around easier, and it was fun to fly over enemies and shoot them from the air. I would have loved to get behind the controls of an AT-AT, but alas, that will have to wait until the game is released.
I was impressed by the high level of detail in the visuals and complete lack of slowdown in this early build. Even with Tie Fighters and X-wings fighting above me, and AT-AT and AT-STs on the ground and numerous explosions and special effects, I didn't encounter any frame-rate issues. Anyone who likes the Battlefield or Battlefront series will surely enjoy Star Wars Battlefront, and those who like both will love it when it release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on November 17, 2015.