There has been an awakening...

I emerge from hyperspace bang in the middle of the original trilogy. The Rebel Alliance are defending Echo Base and here I am, blaster in hand. It feels like a dream, but that dream comes to a sudden stop as two Snowtroopers appear round the corner and blast me before I can really take it all in.

Say what you want about DICE but they have really captured the original trilogy in this game for me. I have heard a lot of talk about the Hoth level being unbalanced, and in all honesty it is. But that is part of the fun of it, I am a diehard Star Wars fan and I know that at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back the odds are well and truly stacked against the rebellion. This isn't Call of Duty or Battlefield re-skinned (as some have accused), every fight isn't balanced but that shouldn't take away from the fun.

This isn't to say that there aren't issues with the game, come on it is a beta, the guns can feel very same-y, apart from the cycler rifle which was extremely overpowered. Hoth is a barren wasteland covered in snow and this lends itself to some of the more game-y players sitting at the back of the map trying to pick off their opponents with low recoil weapons. Hey, if you like shooting black specks on your screen so that your K/D ratio jumps through the roof then more power to you, but don't expect me to sympathise with you when you get bored after five minutes.

This truly feels like a game for the fans and to make the most of that you need to be in the heat of the action. But the action is not limited solely to the ground, oh no. Lock S-Foils in attack position, we're going in!

The naysayers will tell you that there are no space battles, how can you have Star Wars without the STARS... To them I say, did you never play Rogue Squadron!?!? All the old favourites are here, X-Wings, A-Wings, TIE Fighters and Interceptors, you even get to use harpoons and tow cables in a Snowspeeder! Aerial combat is here to stay and don't let anyone tell you differently. You may even see space combat return in the £40 season pass, which currently feels like a rip off, where EA promise to deliver 4 DLCs to you within a year from release.

But enough of Hoth, you're probably going snow blind by this point, let's move onto the next planet included in the beta. Sullust.

An inhospitable world, developers took inspiration from the volcanoes of Iceland when designing this world, although I hear it is a lovely place to visit (Iceland not Sullust). A maze built of basalt, your first few runthroughs will probably see you get lost a number of times. But while Hoth seems to stretch as far as the eye can see, the Drop Zone missions on Sullust are a tightly packed, adrenaline fueled affair where you are always one step away from the next firefight... Unless you spawn on the far side of the map. Spawning is another small issue that I expect DICE will address after the number of comments made about it throughout the beta process.

Your mission is simple on Sullust, capture the flag... or claim the pod. First to 5, or whoever has the most after 10 minutes, wins. During the first couple of days of the beta I found myself completely outmatched by the more experienced players who raced ahead to the max level (5) and had access to all the best toys. I didn't expect much less, I don't have the time to dedicate to the FPS skills required to compete with the gamers who can spend hours every day playing. While this was frustrating I still managed to find some enjoyable games where the teams balanced out, by the end of the beta period I was even starting to hold my own against some of the better players, and placing respectably in the postgame scoreboards. This gives me hope that I will be able to enjoy the full release and not end up stumped by a steep learning curve where I have to battle level 60 opponents with my level 2 pistol before I can really get into the game.

Looking at my storage I still have a good few gigabytes of data to go, so I expect to be posting some more of my Star Wars: Battlefront Beta over the next few days (anyone know why it takes so long to transfer data off a PS4?) and hopefully there will be some videos up on YouTube. Just don't expect me to provide any tips on winning, if you want tips on new ways to die then I'm your man!


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