5 Reasons We’re Loving the Star Wars: Battlefront Beta

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cargo hold for the last year, you’re well-aware that Star Wars is about to blow up in a big way. With blockbuster-to-be “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” landing in a little over two months and EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront hitting Xbox One on November 17 (or even sooner if you’re an EA Access member), the Force will soon be stronger than ever. Thanks to the latter’s beta, though, we were able access an early transport to the galaxy far, far away. Here are five reasons why we can’t wait to return.

Beautiful Battlefront
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you – the game really is that gorgeous. Fueled by developer DICE’s polygon-pushing Frostbite 3 engine and powered by all those horses beneath the Xbox One’s hood, Battlefront’s breathtaking presentation is one of the prettiest to ever grace a game console. From the detail-drenched character models to the eye-popping environments, Battlefront would be stunning even if it wasn’t unfolding in pop-culture’s favorite science fiction universe.

Fun for Padawans and Jedi Masters Alike
Those who adore Star Wars, but are daunted by competitive online shooters, needn’t worry about being treated like Bantha fodder. While seasoned sharpshooters will want to dive right into Walker Assault’s epic 20-versus-20 battles, newcomers can have a blast – solo or with a co-op partner – in Survival mode. Once they’re comfortable killing six waves (15 in the final game) of Stormtroopers and AT-STs, Rebel recruits can graduate to the objective-based Drop Zone’s 8-on-8 matches.

Be a Hero (…or Not)
Battlefront‘s beta is packed with fan-pleasing content, but getting behind the lightsabers of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader may be the best time we had on Hoth. During Walker Assault’s large-scale skirmishes, we were lucky enough to pick up Hero and Villain power-ups and temporarily feel the true power of the dark – and light – side. On top of effortlessly carving through adversaries with the laser swords, we were able to Force-push Snowtroopers as Luke and use the Jedi power to crush throats as Darth. Tossing the latter’s lightsaber like a Rebel-slaying boomerang was also a power-tripping highlight.

Feel the Force
From the scream of TIE fighters overhead and the sense of scale that consumes you when gazing up at a towering AT-AT, to the very Star Wars-specific “pew, pew” that accompanies every blaster discharge, Battlefront oozes with authenticity. And while hearing John Williams’ stirring theme or swinging a lightsaber will hit your nostalgic nerves like a thermal detonator, subtler details – such as the crunch of snow beneath your boots on Hoth, or the way Stormtroopers fall and die just as they do in the films – will also give life to your childhood fantasies.

DICE has Built Another Winning Shooter Experience
Given that DICE developed the game, many were wondering if Battlefront would merely be Battlefield with a pretty Star Wars paint job… but the developers gave Battlefront its own distinct feel and identity. While the gunplay feels as tight and responsive as it does on Battlefield‘s front lines, shooting laser bursts –rather than bullets – yields a very Star Wars-y vibe. Blasters can zoom, but don’t have iron sights… and reloading is replaced with a weapon-overheat mechanic that can be circumvented with an active reload. The result is a faster, more accessible, and arcade-y experience that feels spot-on for a Star Wars shooter.

While the final version of the game is available on November 17, we can’t wait to be the first to get our hands on it starting on November 12, with EA Access early trial on Xbox One.