Since last the first Star Wars Battlefront beta in 2015 happened, I was amazed with how DICE made one of the surreal Star Wars gaming experience thus pushing the bar higher for Star Wars games. Star Wars Battlefront II is better in many ways, and it has brought back what the franchise has been known for – big scale Star Wars battles!

The beta just began, and we were able to get our hands on the beta early thanks to Electronic Arts. So, what does Battlefront II proves at this point? Will it redeem the rebooted franchise from the dark side of the Force? Or is it forever lost into hyperspace?

Platform Previewed: PC, PS4
Beta: October 6 – October 8
This preview is based on the early access beta code provided by EA.

PC Specs
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
CPU: Intel Core i5-4440 3.1GHz
Video Card: MSI GTX 1050Ti Gaming X
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1600MHz (2x4GB)
Resolution: 1920×1080
Settings: High Presets

The open beta will start today and for those who pre-ordered Star Wars Battlefront II got the chance to head into battle with other Star Wars fans and gamers 2 days early.

As the beta still wages on for the next few days, the experience I had with Star Wars Battlefront II yesterday was just, again, surreal. And adding to that surreal experience was the exciting Starfighter Assault and the small scale objective-based Strike mode on the planet Takodana (from The Force Awakens). While the beta is limited to only three modes Galactic Assault, Starfighter Assault, and Strike, the moments I had with the beta made me want to fast-forward to its launch date to play the long-awaited campaign.

So, let’s talk about the modes offered here in the beta. First, what’s Galactic Assault? It’s similar to the first game’s Conquest mode but with more emphasis on objectives and teamwork than running to points and capturing them. What was shown at E3 this year was the mode that’s playable in the beta – the assault on Theed. One team will have the objective to take down the Separatists’ MTT (Multi-Troop Transport) with ion launchers before it reaches the Palace, while the other team defends the vehicle until it reaches the targeted location. If the invading team successfully reaches the end point, it goes directly to phase 2 where the opposite team will have to defend the Throne Room.

It’s a fun mode and it provides a lot intense moments in the battlefield, however, I feel that the mode is imbalanced at its current state. The chances of the Droid team players in winning are slim. We usually get to the end point where we have to take control of the Throne Room but never really got to the part where we won. And after we switched to the Republic faction, we consistently win. If DICE can put some quirks and a little tweak on the unit count for the attacking team, then it would probably partially fix the imbalance issue.

With Strike, it’s quite similar to Galactic Assault but smaller. The planet players can play the mode on will be in Takodana – where Maz Kanata’s castle is located in The Force Awakens film. Players can play the roles of the First Order Stormtroopers or the Resistance fighters. Similar to the film, Resistance players will have to defend a device that’s apparently targeted to be stolen by the First Order players. While it’s not as big and imbalanced as Galactic Assault, Strike is pretty much in the midway of providing a fair match between the two teams.

And lastly, Starfighter Assault. This is probably the most awaited mode that I’ve been gearing for so long. It does live up to expectations. Players are freely given the chance to take full control of how you fly your fighters; you can roll your ships more organically and the controls are much fluid this time around where you can swiftly destroy ships without worrying about the flight controls. However, on the PC version, there’s one thing to point out when controlling Starfighters – it doesn’t do well with a mouse and keyboard. For some reason, I can fly and control the fighters with ease using a controller. The mouse sensitivity feels loose and even if you reconfigure the sensitivity slider, you can only notice a slight change and it doesn’t get any better than using a controller.

Star Cards are back, and this time it’s refined and better than the previous installment’s iteration of the feature. These cards are obtainable through Loot Crates where other unlockable like weapons and crafting points stored. With the abomination microtransaction in place, I’m glad to say that it doesn’t affect the multiplayer gameplay as much as I thought it would. That’s a good thing.

But what I’m pleased with is the comeback of the classes. Just like in the 2005 Star Wars Battlefront II, players can now choose the role they want to have! Be an assault trooper, a heavy trooper, an officer, or a specialist who can gun down opponents from a distance. This brings more balance to game unlike its predecessor where players can just get the most powerful weapons and abuse them.

Heroes, elite classes, fighters, and tanks are now accessible than it was in the first Battlefront game. You don’t have to race with other places to obtain the Hero and Vehicle emblems around the map. The transition from emblems to a point-based system is a great decision, this grants other players the chance to experience being heroes or elites in the battleground. Players will have to earn these points when doing objectives and shooting down other players.

The only thing that I’m disappointed with is the limited maps each mode has in the beta. But at some point, I have a feeling that there will be one more beta weekend before the game goes out from hyperspace next month, and hopefully we get to have more.

Overall, it’s still early to say if Star Wars Battlefront II is going to be the Battlefront we have been wanting and waiting for at its current state. But it’s safe to say this time that it’s indeed better than the first Battlefront, and we’re excited for what’s in store for us in the epic campaign that is waiting in the stars beyond the galaxy far, far away…