With the Star Wars: Battlefront beta drawn to a close, players received a brief look at what to expect from the multiplayer shooter, between the awesome new Drop Zone mode, the Survival Missions and the 40-player Walker Assault on Hoth. No matter which mode you experience, there's a lot to take in, as well as new abilities and weapons to unlock.
Which side is better, the Empire or the Rebellion? Is it cooler to join the resistance or the Dark Side? We have a breakdown to help you choose.
Both sides have access to three types of weapons.
Sniper Rifles: These special blasters unleash long distance shots, allowing you to pick off an opponent from long range providing you have a steady hand. They're decent for short range, but you're better off finding higher ground to get a better lay of the land.
Assault Rifles: These are the general guns you'll find in the game. In fact, you start out with one with a reliable rate of fire (about a couple of blasts per second) and moderate reloading time. They're good for attacking up close and from afar (not as far as the sniper rifle, mind you), so it never hurts to have one on hand.
Blaster: Remember Han Solo's trusty blaster from the original Star Wars: A New Hope? This gun has about the same effect. It's smaller and can fire more blasts per second than an assault rifle, making it handy for short-range combat. However, unless you're using the scope on certain models, it can be a little questionable when it comes to long range. Still, if you prefer taking out enemies from short range, this is the gun to have.
One thing to keep in mind with all guns is the reloading system. You'll see a gauge with a small highlighted area. If you hit the reload button in this range, it'll cool off quicker and give you the ability to fire again. Otherwise, you'll see your hands shake for a second (indicating the gun is too hot) and have to wait it out.
In Drop Zone and Survival Missions, the special abilities are about the same, as both sides have access to general weaponry, including the ones listed below.
Proximity Bomb: Remember the proximity mines in GoldenEye 64? If an enemy comes within range, it'll automatically blow up and take him or her out. It's a bit easier to detect than those small things, however, so it's best to keep an eye out for them as you're crossing through what appears to be empty canyons, trying to reach the next drop pod. As for placing them, look for corridors where an enemy is likely to come through, like one leading to the pod you're defending.
Smart Rocket: Using one of these, you can lock onto a nearby target and guarantee a hit once it's fired. There's a catch, though – you need to make sure your aim is good enough so the hit will take effect, and that can leave you vulnerable. Save this for when you see an enemy who isn't in a position to fight back (like if they're firing on an opponent), and then let loose with it.
Orbital Strike: Pick up one of these icons and you’re able to call in an aerial attack on enemies with the push of a button. It helps to find a good placement for these, as you can only use one Orbital Strike per summon, and a miss will result in enemies attacking you from another angle. Save this until you see enemies in a group defending a downed pod.
When it comes to Walker Assault, it seems the Empire has an advantage – and there's a reason for that. This comes in the form of vehicles. The ones available in this mode are listed below.
Rebellion Snowspeeder: As you might have seen from The Empire Strikes Back, the Snowspeeder not only has blasters on board to take out ground targets, but it also has access to a cable that when fired upon an AT-AT, can bring it crashing down if the player circles around the walker enough times. The only disadvantage to this is that it has to stay in range of the AT-AT while circling it, and an enemy can easily swoop in and take it down.
Rebellion Turret Gun: You gain access to one of these by picking up one of the icons scattered on the playfield. The Turret is quite handy when it comes to additional firepower, in case you need to bring down an AT-ST quickly or hold a defensive position. However, once you place down a Turret Gun you can't pick it up again, so make sure you want to put it in place before dropping it. Otherwise you'll need to pick up another one.
Rebellion Cannon: If you don't have a Turret Gun handy, there are cannons you can use in Star Wars: Battlefront against the Empire. They're quite good with long-range shooting, and they don't take long to recharge. However, they're big and stocky, making them key targets for attack either from the ground or in the air. One shot from an AT-AT to one of these and you’re done for.
Empire TIE Fighter: Even though it’s stockier than the Snowspeeder, the TIE Fighter is an agile fighting machine that will allow you to fire on ground troops with ease. If you're feeling cocky, you can also perform a suicide dive into a cannon or Jedi character. It'll cost you a turn, of course and you'll have to respawn.
Empire AT-ST: The smaller of the walking vehicles is useful if you're looking to bring down ground forces in a hurry. Its rate of fire is superb, although its movement is quite slow, which means most enemies will see it coming from a mile away. Still, if the pressure gets too hot and you find it's about to blow up, you can always bail and continue on foot.
Empire AT-AT: Say hello to the big boy that gives the Empire a slight advantage when it comes to vehicles. When you find the proper icon, you can summon the ability to control the AT-AT. Well, the truth is, you just pivot its head and line up long-range blasts and quick shots (depending on which you select) to destroy ground targets. It's pretty awesome, but it can take a little while to fire, and don't forget you're wide open to Snowspeeders.
To activate special characters in Battlefront (mainly in the Walker Assault mode), you'll need to find the Hero Pick-Up. Once these are activated, you'll only have a limited time to use them, so wait until you get a little closer to the action (it helps to hustle) and then activate it.
Who's better, Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader? Let's look at them both.
Lightsaber: The lightsaber is an outstanding weapon, as you can use it both for short-range melee attacks and long range strikes, with Luke's Saber Rush and Darth Vader's Saber Throw. The throws are best saved for multiple enemies that get in front of you. Practice with it, but stick mainly with melee strikes if you have many enemies nearby. It's a quick way to mow them down.
Darth Vader Force Choke: Vader’s special Force ability is the option to choke an opponent for a couple of seconds without touching him. This is an incredible ability that will take the life from even the mightiest warrior, but it may leave you vulnerable for his buddies to attack. Make sure they're taken care of first, then use it however you please.
Luke Skywalker Force Push: This can be used from a slight distance (not too far away, like sniper range) on an enemy, striking him across the level for the instant kill.
Just remember, Jedi characters are powerful, and can clean house very quickly, but they're not invulnerable. This infamous clip of Luke Skywalker biting the dust at the feet of an AT-AT is proof of that.
Although we've only seen a small portion of what the final game has to offer, it appears the Empire has a slight advantage in certain areas, namely with vehicle attacks in the Walker Assault mode and Darth Vader's merciless choking abilities. However, the final game will hold a few surprises, especially if Han Solo and his Millennium Falcon have anything to say about it; crossing our fingers for this.
Star Wars: Battlefront will release on November 17th for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.