For anyone who is even remotely familiar with Star Wars, 2015 is the year of its return. Some of the more hardcore fans may claim the franchise hasn't gone anywhere thanks to the Extended Universe books and other facets, but with the release of Star Wars Battlefront on November 17, 2015 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 18, 2015, this marks the return of a phenomenon.
While we can't offer much in the way of help as you wait for The Force Awakens to hit theaters, we can give you a helping hand when it comes to Battlefront. Electronic Arts has been kind enough to offer a beta for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (via Origin) starting on October 8 and running until October 12. There are three modes of play available in the beta that should give eager gamers a taste of what's to come in November.
The first mode of play is Walker Assault on Hoth. This is basically the E3 2015 demo that ended with an epic tease of a Darth Vader showdown. Up to 40 players can participate in this battle between the Empire and the Rebel alliance. As the Rebels, you'll have to fend off the Imperial AT-ATs using Y-wing bombers. On the flip side, you can join the Empire and use a variety of weaponry to crush the insolent Rebel troops.
Drop Zone on Sullust is the second gameplay mode available in the beta. During this battle, escape pods are constantly crashing down to the ground. It's up to you and your team of eight players to fight against another team of eight to control the pods as they land. Think of this like a Star Wars version of capture the flag. You'll have to strategize to keep your troops alive long enough to hold each pod on your path to victory.
The third and final mode in the beta is Survival Mission on Tatooine. This is a more intimate battle, featuring co-op or split-screen with you and one friend. You must stand your ground as you fend off AT-STs, TIE fighters, elite Stormtroopers and a bevy of other enemies. Your strategy will change considerably here compared to the other modes because you won't have a full team to rely on for assistance. With you and only one friend, it comes down to communication and raw talent to make it through this gameplay mode.
The beta on the consoles and PC is not the only thing you'll get to try out October 8-12. If you head over to the official Star Wars Battlefront website you can test out the companion experience as well. Electronic Arts is taking a page from the Square Enix book, as the Star Wars Battlefront Companion experience features the Base Command strategic card game.
Playing Base Command will allow you to earn in-game Credits that unlock new weapons, Star Cards and more within Star Wars Battlefront. This is also where you can find in-depth stats and player progression, as well as create custom load-outs, change the appearance of your character, share with friends and strangers alike, and more.
While the beta will offer a taste of Star Wars Battlefront, you will be able to reach level five. Once you reach that point you won't be able to level up any higher, but you will still be able to unlock various items and gear. If you're playing on the PC, you can pre-load the beta via Origin starting at 1am PT on October 7.
If you still haven't signed up for the beta, be sure to create an EA account at the official Star Wars Battlefront website. Unlike other betas, there's no need to pre-order the game to access the beta. In the meantime, be sure to check out additional details on the Walker Assault and Fighter Squadron modes.