Electronic Arts’ constant investment in the talented team behind Frostbite is continuing to pay off. We played a few rounds of Star Wars Battlefront 2 and our first impressions are very positive: it is an exceptionally beautiful game.

At this point, it looks like this could be, visually, the most impressive Frostbite-based game we’ve seen so far. Not a small feat, considering that developer DICE is still aiming for the 60fps target, while BioWare’s Anthem showed us what this technology might be capable of at 30fps. We haven’t seen the console code yet but our test was hosted on a high-end computer running an Nvidia GTX 1080 (not the Ti version). The settings were all set to ultra, which means that this is the maximum that Battlefront 2 can achieve, obviously at this point in development.

The most extraordinary aspects are the lighting system and the materials, the result of DICE’s renewed physics-based rendering system, a key component among the tools available to the Frostbite, which debuted for the first time in the previous Battlefront. Our test took place in a new map set in Naboo, which allowed us to showcase a rich variety of materials, from the stone of the city streets to the reflective marble of the interiors. The metal of the droids and vehicles also looks sensational, and despite your relationship with Star Wars Episode 1, Naboo’s architecture and style represented one of the film’s highlights and the reproduction made by DICE is incredible.

But the lighting system is the real protagonist. The parts set indoors, in particular, are incredibly realistic thanks to the excellent use of reflections, which gives each scene a natural tone. The way the light pours into the building from the bright outdoor environments is impressive to behold and demonstrates the strength of the engine. Particle effects also fit well into the discourse of light, with the bright, colorful blaster rays penetrating and illuminating clouds of smoke. As a result, the explosions are also made remarkably. Star Wars Battlefront 2 makes extensive use of screen-space reflections in combination with lights and materials to further enhance each scene.

Another impressive element is the level of detail on the screen. Compared to the previous chapter developed by DICE, Battlefront 2 presents a more detailed urban environment, with a large amount of richly decorated buildings and structures filling the map. When operating a drone, for example, you can fly high over the city and experience a great sense of size as a result, marred only by the visible pop-in of detail levels, something that might be even more evident on consoles. Curiously, this kind of visual is reminiscent of the Rogue Squadron games of Factor 5 on GameCube but, of course, with a decidedly improved degree of fidelity.

There are also elements such as ambient occlusion on many surfaces, which help produce detail on a smaller scale and in widespread vegetation. Particles also caught our attention, swirling for each level. The debris that moves smoothly around the environment as you play really helps to produce lively scenes, even when you’re not fighting. It would also be interesting to see how the other maps were made and what other tailor-made effects characterize them.

We played on a GTX 1080 and were able to capture 1440p images with a stable 60fps frame rate most of the time. The graphics settings were ultra-level and we could not change them during the test. We obviously tried to play in native 4K but in this case the performance dropped to 30fps and even worse. This is still a non-definitive code and everything could change but as things stand now, richer graphics at maximum settings may require a muscular GPU. Consequently, it will be interesting to see what the console versions will turn out to be, because there could be a big difference between games based on the Frostbite at ultra settings and the corresponding versions for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

At this point it’s clear that, from how it’s coming up, Battlefront 2 could be one of the best games of the year, which wouldn’t even be a surprise considering DICE’s exceptional experience. However, it is commendable that the studio is continuing to raise the bar. It should also be noted that we only got to try out a multiplayer map and that Battlefront 2 is more ambitious than its predecessor, with a campaign based entirely on the story that usually offers superior graphics and presentation compared to multiplayer. We hope to see more of Star Wars Battlefront 2 soon, which we will tell you through our impressions.