Star Wars Battlefront: Battle of Jakku

Yesterday early access for the free Star Wars Battlefront DLC, Battle of Jakku unlocked. I’ve really been enjoying my time with it so far.

This scenario (there is only 1 map for it) takes place between The Return of the Jedi and the upcoming The Force Awakens. The Empire is in full retreat and the Rebels are closing in on their base on the desert planet Jakku. This is an asymmetrical scenario: the Empire is always on defense, the Rebels always attacking.

The battlefield is a desert strewn with crashed spaceships and other debris. They gives the snipers out there some long sight-lines, but there’s also enough cover to keep you safe from them if you play smart.

At the start of a battle the Rebels are tasked with taking over one of 3 control points (it doesn’t matter which one and they only need one). When Rebels occupy the area of these control points unopposed a clock-gauge starts filling up. If it fills completely the Rebels have won that segment of the battle. At that point the 3 control points wink out of existence and two more appear deeper in Empire territory. Once again the Rebels have to take one of the control points. If they succeed, those control points vanish and two more appear even deeper. If they take one of those control points, one single final point appears and if they can take that, they win.

The Empire just defends. The Rebels have a timer (and get some bonus time everytime they take a control point) and if they don’t win before time runs out, the Empire wins.

So far I’m loving the dynamics of this mode. At the start of the match with the three initial control points the battle is quite spread out but as the Rebels push deeper into Empire territory everyone is funneled together. The battle for the last control point can get really intense.

The Empire has AT-STs while the Rebels have Landspeeders. Both of these can be tough to bring down with no big turrets. I haven’t yet seen any Tie Fighters or X-Wings, nor have I seen any hero units. It’s possible I’ve just missed them but I played about 8 matches.

If the Empire pushes the Rebels off a control point, the gauge doesn’t “unfill” as far as I can tell (or if it does, it happens very slowly). This means the Rebels can take a control point through successive assaults even if they get wiped out at the end of each assault. With no voice chat to help organized the teams the battles have a very organic feel to them as players move from control point to control point trying to capture (or defend) a point that is wavering. Having a JumpPack can be pretty handy since it’ll let you move from point to point quickly.

Battle of Jakku is arriving just in time. Walker Assault needs some balancing now that there are plenty of players who have the knack of using tow cables to bring down the Walkers. During the beta many gaming blogs commented on how unbalanced Walker Assault was in favor of the Empire. It wasn’t, it just took a few days for players to figure out how to win as the Rebels. But EA capitulated to the gaming blogs and made it easier for the Rebels anyway, and now it’s pretty tough for the Empire to win, at least until we figure out a good defense against tow cables.

It’s still fun, mind you, but when you see 1 lone player take down 2 Walkers with tow cables it kind of makes everyone else feel less relevant.

Anyway, Battle of Jakku is a nice change of pace and I look forward to playing more of it.

PS: Sorry for the lack of video. I wish the PS4 would let me capture a clip without exiting to the share menu (the Xbox One lets you do this if you have a Kinect). Every time I try to share something I get killed; as with most shooters standing still isn’t healthy in Star Wars Battlefront. So I never get around to capturing video.