Kris Wall reports from EGX 2015…
EGX offered gamers the chance to have a play at two different modes of Star Wars Battlefront and I was lucky enough to be able to go hands on with both. Up until now, I had never played a game in the Battlefront series, but I’ll admit to getting swept up in all the hype for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Battlefront essentially dominated the central floor space of this years venue with its imposing TIE Fighter model looming large over the event. The first mode available to players was a survival type, tasking two players to last as long as they possibly could against ever increasing waves of imperial forces in a Star Wars variation of the now classic horde mode.
However it was the Walker Assault mode which was the main attraction and was consistently the longest queues for the whole event. After a short video introduction from Admiral Ackbar briefing gamers on the mission at hand and how to play, we took our places in a 20 vs. 20 player battle across the planet of Hoth. As part of the rebels it was up to us to repel a twin AT-AT assault on the rebel stronghold, backed up by Imperial ground force troops and AT-ST walkers.
The first thing that strikes you is just how stunning this game looks in motion. Screenshots simply do not do it justice and it blurs the line between playing a game and feeling like you’re part of the movies. At no point of this intense 40-player action, with ground and air battles taking place all around you, did the frame rate even drop slightly which is a hugely impressive technical achievement. It looks absolutely gorgeous and the draw distance across the highly impressive amount of Hoth you have to battle across has to be seen to be believed.
Anyway, back to the mission. The AT-AT Walkers have near impenetrable armour for ground forces to blast through, so we were tasked with holding uplink points around Hoth that called in Y-Wing bombers which take out the AT-AT shields. From there, players could pile in and start delivering some serious damage against the walkers, and it was a thrilling sight to see the shields on a walker come down and your whole squad racing across the battlefield together with blasters and rocket launchers trying to take it down.
Scattered around the level were power ups which granted me access to rocket launchers, squad shields and the chance to pilot an X-Wing, which was definitely my highlight of the demo. As I flew over Hoth, diverting my power resources between thrust and weapons, there was a genuine thrill of feeling like I could really turn the tide of this battle. But that was before I went and flew straight into the legs of a Walker and saw my dreams explode into flames. At least I can say I died a hero’s death.
From the moment I picked up the controller, Star Wars Battlefront had me hooked. The sights and sounds, the way it looks and feels like Star Wars, the excitement of taking part in such a large scale battle in that iconic universe, it was easily one of my highlights of EGX 2015 and I can’t wait to get back to the frontlines when the beta goes live in October.
Star Wars Battlefront is out November 17th for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. There will be an open beta going live from October 8th.