Star Wars: Battlefront Impressions: Learning to Survive or Die Together

In the Star Wars: Battlefront Survival mode, a team of two Rebels fighting to survive against 10 waves of Imperial Stormtroopers. Things heat up quickly, especially on Tatooine. We see if we have the skills to see this through to the end.

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The upcoming Star Wars Battlefront isn't just about Rebel vs. Empire multiplayer battles. As revealed at this year's E3, the game will include a cooperative multiplayer mode, where up to two players work together to repel waves of incoming Stormtroopers. We put our rebellious teamwork skills to work at the EA Summer Showcase in New York City. We'll either escape the Empire's efforts to crush us, or take out as many of them as we can before our epic death scene monologues.

At the start of the match, players get to choose their equipment, such as your main weapon and a star card. The star cards determines your special equipment loadout, and we were shown two at the demonstration. The first is designed for defensive play and includes an Ion Torpedo that homes in on enemy vehicles like the AT-ST, a jump pack for getting to higher ground, and a personal shield that renders the player temporarily invincible can unable to fire. Also, players can't shoot while the jump pack is in use. The second card is for more offensive players, and has the Barrage grenade launcher and Ion Shot, which temporarily enhances your main blaster to make it more effective against vehicles.

The scenario we played was pretty straightforward. Two Rebels crash land on Tatooine and must survive against incoming waves until help comes to pick them up. As expected, the area has a lot of rocks and ridges to run or jump on, with opportunities for enemies to come streaming in from almost all sides. The mode supports up to two players in either couch co-op through split-screen or online. Less social players may also choose to play the mode solo.

Generally speaking, there isn't a whole lot to the mode. You and a teammate must hold out while a ridiculous number of Imperial forces come running in to kill two people. There are a fixed number of lives shared between the two players, and one can choose whether or not to respawn during a wave or wait for the wave to end so that they'll be revived for free. Stormtroopers generally try to win with their overwhelming numbers, but they come in many varieties. They also come running from unexpected places. For example, while I was busy shooting at the bulk of Stormtroopers coming in from the top of a ridge, a trooper took a moment to ambush me from the bottom. Snipers enter the picture during later waves, camping from afar and waiting for you be caught unaware.

Additionally, some of the Stormtroopers are equipped with some of the same gadgets you have. Stormtroopers would hit their personal shields immediately upon seeing us, which can get really annoying, because they continue to run straight up next to you to... what? Block your shots and protect their squad mates? Have a staring contest? Whatever the reason, there can be three shielded troopers up in your face, and your only option is to put up with them until their shield timers run out.

Every once in a while, a task will be presented to players, like scanning a nearby drop pod for supplies, Of course, these pods are almost always located in an open space where Stormtroopers can easily surround you, but successfully scanning one gives the player a unique special weapon like calling in an orbital strike or a powerful grenade to quickly take out a group of Stormtroopers. Each pod has a selection of three different weapons to pick up. These special weapons carry over from one wave to the next, so there's no pressure to use them unless you have to.

AT-STs start walking in during the final waves. It can feel like the Ion Torpedo takes an inordinately long time to get a lock, especially when you're dodging blaster fire or just trying to avoid the tall vehicle's notice. Additionally, it takes more than one shot to take one down, which made me wonder if we weren't better off setting up some sort of Ewok inspired trip wire trap.

I ended up dying a lot, and we had to restart a few times, but we eventually managed to survive across 10 waves. I also learned the hard way that there is falling damage if you boost jump too high. In the end, it was worth it, because we made it to victory and escaped the desert planet with a pile of Stormtrooper bodies in our wake.

The cooperative mode might be a little on the simple side, even with the challenging number of Stormtroopers looking to overwhelm you, but the developers promise that more mission modes will become available. Each Survival scenario will involve two Rebels fighting against ten waves of Imperial Stormtroopers. Furthermore, playing in cooperative mode contributes towards character progression, like unlocking more star cards.

We'll find out if additional missions help add more complexity to an otherwise straightforward wave survival scenario as we draw closer to the Star Wars Battlefront release this fall.

Star Wars Battlefront will arrive on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on November 17.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 23, 2015 2:00 PM

    Steven Wong posted a new article, Star Wars: Battlefront Impressions: Learning to Survive or Die Together

    • reply
      July 23, 2015 2:07 PM

      That looks incredible.

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      July 23, 2015 2:11 PM

      I wish it was a non edited version of the gameplay =\

      I still vote no confidence. They still haven't fixed BF4's netcode.

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        July 23, 2015 4:05 PM

        What does that mean for you?

        BF4 has had about a thousand "netcode" fixes. Personally, I find it is a little better but I was never that bothered by it in the first place (PC).

        While I don't have a ton of confidence in DICE taking all those fixes into BattleFront, I wonder what about BF4 still bothers you.

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          July 23, 2015 4:39 PM

          The netcode for bf4 has been an issue since the beginning. It's still not fix. Getting shot around corners sucks. Seeing blood splatter on the wall as you shoot the other guy, but the game shows him at 100% health. Shooting rockets and seeing the flash, but if you die immediately after, the rocket disappears. The vault continues to be bugged. Sometimes you'll do the vaulting motion but fly backwards, only to land where you started the vault. Sometimes when you try to vault over something, you'll go prone instead. Moving up a step causes you to lose speed when you're sprinting (your crosshairs actually gets more accurate).

          These are just some of the bugs since the beginning and some they introduced in later patches. While I don't believe that SWBF is going to have the exact same issues, I do believe that the issues it does have, aren't going to be resolved, ever.

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      July 23, 2015 4:48 PM

      I want to survive together with you, Esteban

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      July 24, 2015 4:45 AM

      Someone please give these people a mouse. That floaty-horizontal-aiming looks horrible

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        July 24, 2015 8:01 AM

        They're heavily promoting the game for PS4. They're never going to show the PC version in promotional videos like this.

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