At E3, fans were able to try out the Walker Assault multiplayer mode in the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront. Last month, EA traveled to Cologne to show off another multiplayer mode, Fighter Squadron, which featured aerial gameplay. At PAX Prime, Star Wars: Battlefront's presence was comparably smaller than E3 or Gamescom, yet still attracted long lines of fans hungering to play another mission mode called "Survival."
Whereas Walker Assault and Fighter Squadron allowed a large number of players, Survival only allows a two-player experience through local split-screen or online cooperation. Both players crash on Tatooine and must endure six waves of enemies before reinforcements arrive.
For a two-player mode, the Tatooine map is quite spacious. Multiple routes are carved throughout the rocks, and different elevation levels rise above the player. This provides a great vantage point to seek out enemy soldiers, but it can also be a deadly trap if the swarm of Stormtroopers becomes overwhelming.
The loadout selection is quite simple. Players must choose between five primary weapons and a special ability such as Barrage, a series of launched grenades (useful against a few Stormtroopers), or Ion Torpedo, which will be handy in the later waves when AT-ST walkers appear. Both players are also equipped with jetpacks, which are useful for traversing the mountainous area.
The first two waves are quite easy, with the Empire throwing only its low-tier soldiers at you. This allows the players to easily go on a quick scouting mission to get a layout of the land while their comrade holds off the enemy. While these Stormtroopers are rushing towards you, they do react to your gunfire. If your shot barely misses a soldier, he will duck and try to find cover, all while continually advancing towards you. That small portion of movement adds to the intensity of the battle and makes it more realistic, instead of just having soldiers just run straight at you like in the previous games.
Waves three and four ramp up the difficulty by adding in an AT-ST walker, a small number of stronger Stormtrooper units, and an increasing number of the low-level infantry. To make matters slightly more difficult, the Rebel Alliance will also drop supply pods, which contain other special abilities. Both players must first reach the pod to claim it and then defend it for a certain amount of time before it can be unlocked. These pods are dropped in random locations, but arrive right before the next wave, leaving you and your friend the option of forsaking the pod and holding out against the Empire, or delaying inevitable death for a bit longer and grabbing onto the new supplies.
In either case, chances are that either player will die. When you start the game, you have only two out of a possible six lives. As long as you have one life left, it can be used to resurrect yourself immediately, or you can wait until the wave is cleared to get back into the game. Extra lives are littered throughout the level, but just like the pods, each player risks leaving their comrade alone to face the enemy by grabbing these extra lives.
The last two waves are a combination of the previous four, mixing the power of the AT-ST walker, stronger stormtroopers, and Imperial jumptroopers (soldiers with jetpacks and protective shields). In other words, all hell breaks loose. The horde seems like it will never end, forcing you to retreat to a deathtrap and testing your abilities and patience. If you manage to survive, the Rebels will finally show up and clear the path for rescue.
Overall, the entire game took about 15 minutes. The large-scale battles incorporate even grander maps and a significant number of online players, which definitely requires a little more invested time to enjoy the game. However, Survival is an exciting alternative if players want a break from the big battles and just play a quick game with a friend. If battling other players is more your cup of tea, but you're also rushed for time, the developers also created Blast Mode, which features intense 10-versus-10 gameplay in a smaller map for only 10 minutes.