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A final pre-launch hands-on with Star Wars Battlefront on PS4


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After spending almost eight hours with the final game, it’s clear that

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is reaping the benefits of developer

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, veteran multiplayer designers and creators of the Battlefield series.

Star Wars Battlefront sits in a unique niche in the current FPS landscape. The controls are simple and streamlined, making the game accessible to players of varying experience levels.

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But its deep character progression, sprawling mode selection, and tight gunplay will satisfy the veterans, too. Thanks to the expanded arsenal in the final game, the combat is far, far richer than last month’s (excellent) multiplayer beta.

Of the 11 or so weapons, my current favorite is the T-21B Targeting Rifle, a high-damage, high-range blaster with a deliberate firing rate and murderous accuracy. Very satisfying.

The CA-87 Shock Blaster is another standout, shredding armored targets with its shotgun-like spread. Fans of Destiny’s pulse rifles will love the burst-fire EE-3 Blaster Rifle, while Han Solo’s iconic DL-44 Blaster Pistol is, shot for shot, one of the most deadly blasters in the game.

They all look great, sound great, and feel great. Mechanically, DICE hit the bullseye here. As a shooter, Battlefront is a joy to play.

Rounding out your arsenal are Star Cards, specialized secondary gear that can briefly tilt the odds in your favor. Chewie’s signature weapon, the Bowcaster, excels at zapping several infantry at once, as does the Barrage grenade launcher. A new Ion Torpedo dominates enemy vehicles with homing rockets.

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And those are just the tip of the lightsaber; there are so, so many unlockable abilities and collectible power-ups in the final game that I had a hard time cataloging them.

And that’s not to mention the Charged Star Cards, which are consumable items you can deploy as needed. These introduce interesting tactical wrinkles, allowing you to deploy a short-lived personal shield or briefly eliminate blaster overheating.

Then there are the playable Heroes and Villains, an undeniable part of Battlefront’s charm. My early favorite may be Boba Fett, with his jetpack and mix of long- and close-range firepower. Princess Leia takes a bit of getting used to, with skills best suited to a support role. As you’d expect, Emperor Palpatine’s Force Lightning makes him a crowd control expert.

I particularly loved the new Hero Hunt mode, an asymmetrical battle which casts one player as a random Hero or Villain and pits him against the other players. Only the Hero or Villain can score points, and the only way to play as a Hero or Villain is to kill one. This leads to entertaining and energetic matches, with Stormtroopers scrambling frantically after a fleeing Luke Skywalker or Boba Fett.

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I also enjoyed Battlefront’s fun spin on Capture the Flag, Cargo mode, which sees two teams battle over control of 10 packages. And the new Droid Run mode is basically Conquest with mobile capture points.

Visually, the game is a knockout on PS4. The entire game is peppered with loving details, from squealing Ewoks fleeing indoors on Endor, to the Sarlacc pit on Tatooine, to the wide array of colorful alien species you can unlock for your Rebellion trooper.

Star Wars Battlefront launches on PS4 next week. Have questions? Let me know in the comments!

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