Even though Star Wars: Battlefront has been given plenty of screen shots and trailers over the past couple of months, there’s nothing quite like seeing it in person.
And at E3, EA gave fans in attendance a chance to actually take control of the Rebellion once again with a hands-on demo on the show floor. I got to spend 20 minutes with the game, as I took control of a Rebel ground troop taking on six waves of Stormtroopers on Tatooine.
This is Battlefront, after all, so there is no story to speak of. I was just instantly thrown right into the action with no idea what I was actually doing. After nearly 10 years of waiting, all I wanted to do was fire my blaster and hear those Original Trilogy sound effects again. Unfortunately I had no idea what I was doing and accidentally set off my rocket pack, sending my player 50 yards into the sky and earning me a sharp side-eye from the much younger player next to me, who I was teamed up with.
But once I got my feet under me, and reassured Jr. that I have played a video game before, Battlefront played like a dream. The gunplay is so simple, yet spot-on, and the animations and collision detection add a weight behind every shot. When you nail a Stormtrooper in the head with a well-placed blaster shot, sparks fly, their feet fly out from under them and they crash to the ground in a pile of cheap plastic.
The weapons are no surprise: you have various blasters that range from light to heavy, depending on your preference. It’s in the villains, though, that the game adds variety. At first, my partner and I were placed against generic troopers, but as the waves moved on, armored troops, sniper troops and AT-STs joined the fight.
I had the distinct honor of blowing an AT-ST off the map, and thanks to the impressive visuals, damage effects and explosions, the feeling was one of pure satisfaction. Unlike older games, where an AT-ST would just stand there until it received enough damage to explode, these models feel every blast and get rocked back and forth until the end.
Like previous games in the series, the firefights are hectic and tense, as laser blasts fly and grenades are going off all around you. It was only a demo, and the map could have used more people and more chaos, but you can see how intense these battles will be when enough players are involved.
The only downside about the demo is that the canyons of Tatooine are pretty generic in the game. The planet is sprinkled with some Star Wars goodness, such as the infamous dragon skeleton and Sand People huts. But it doesn't feel quite "alien" enough. If the final game features more maps that put an emphasis on the diverse side of Star Wars, we should be in good shape.
If you had any doubts about Battlefront—at least from a pure gameplay perspective—your fears are completely unfounded. Battlefront isn’t just a Battlefield clone. It’s not a quick cash-in. And it’s certainly not a step backwards from the original series.
Stay tuned for more E3 2015 coverage all week from TechTimes and T-Lounge.