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Epson Home Cinema 5040UB has Game + Star Wars Battlefront 2 Early Access Teaser

Star Wars Battlefront 2 officially comes out on November 17, 2017, with early access for those who pre-ordered on November 13th. I was one of those people. The early access date happened to line up perfectly with my new Epson Home Cinema 5040UB’s arrival, which graced my doorstep on the Thursday prior. We got everything set up with a new bookshelf, our speakers, our record player and the best of our record collection, as well as all our movies and video games, and some Star Wars Legos to top it off. Awesome. The setup is a millennial dream.

For those of you who don’t know, the Epson Home Cinema 5040UB is a 2,500 lumen home theater projector that accepts 4K content, has great color and excellent black levels for a mere $2,699. This 1080p pixel shifter (1920 x 1080 x2) won the top award in our 2017 Best Home Theater Projectors Report for the $2000 to $3500 range, and was featured in our 2017 Holiday Guide to Four Great Home Theater Projectors Over $2000. Since it’s a pixel shifter, it takes the already phenomenal 1080p graphics of Star Wars Battlefront 2 and doubles the pixels for a beautifully sharp image. That the HC5040UB has such great black levels is a major plus for all of those space scenes in the game, which all look really “wow.”

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB Home Entertainment Setup
Our home entertainment setup is complete with the Epson Home Cinema 5040UB.

The video above shows just one example of the excellent black levels provided by the Epson Home Cinema 5040UB. This is near the beginning of the campaign mode, right after the second Death Star is destroyed. Here, your Tie Fighter is flying through the wreckage. It was shot on an iPhone 7 rather than my DSLR, because this is the moment when I had the idea to write this blog for you guys. I noticed it overexposed some areas when the camera was adjusting to light differences in each scene, so the next video is shot with a DSLR.

The Game

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB Gaming Star Wars Battlefront 2 Han Solo
The previously-reviewed Epson 5040UB, projecting a cutscene from Star Wars Battlefront.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a great improvement upon its predecessor. Previously, there was no campaign mode. You could battle at Hoth, in the Junland Wastes, on Endor, and a few other planets alone with bots or with a friend and bots. Alternatively, you could dual as heroes like Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, etc., which was fun but always the same. Of course, there was the online mode, where you could get wasted by other people or your friends, and waste them in return.

The new one has a campaign mode, and it is canon. You start out the game as the Commander of Inferno Squad, a special forces squad for The Empire. I won’t spoil too much, but I will say that you do also get to play as heroes in campaign mode like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. The story takes place right at the end of Episode 6, with the destruction of the second Death Star. That the story is canon is awesome, because you get to find out what happened following the victory in Return of the Jedi. As an added bonus, you can read the book, “Inferno Squad,” to extend your knowledge of Star Wars lore even further.

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB Gaming Star Wars Battlefront 2 Maz
The previously-reviewed Epson 5040UB, projecting a cutscene from Star Wars Battlefront.

If they kept everything else the same, Star Wars Battlefront 2 would still be a better game than the first. But they didn’t. There’s multiplayer co-op and dual, where you can choose from many planets and scenarios, as well as choose to dual as heroes, one on one, versus with bots, co-op with bots, and no longer have to find a “Hero Power Up” to play as a hero – you can simply choose from several heroes when you start the game and switch when you respawn, if you desire. To be honest, we’ve only just scratched the surface of the game, and we bought the one with all the extras – the Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition. There’s a lot there to wrap your head around. So far, it’s an awesome, fun experience and totally worth the purchase for diehard Star Wars fans.

Gaming on the 5040UB

To say the picture projected by the Epson Home Cinema 5040UB is gorgeous would be an understatement. Art raves about the projector being the best value 4K capable projector for the price, and now that I have one, I’d have to agree. Textures are incredibly detailed. I can count the pores on the Star Wars Battlefront 2 characters’ faces. Their uniforms, the environments, the lightsabers… the graphics are truly next level. But it’s not just the graphics of the game that make everything look so good – it’s the projector.

We played on the calibrated Cinema mode, with BT.2020 color space selected, and Preset 2 turned on. The already-cinema-quality cutscenes looked phenomenal projected by the HC5040UB, so much so that we constantly are in awe of the beautiful image. The projector has a mild input lag of 30.9 ms, which means it’s essentially one frame behind on 30 fps games, two frames behind on 60 fps games.

With 30 frames in a second, being one frame behind is not going to make much of a difference for most people. The only time it may be an issue is with hardcore gamers who play team games online, like Call of Duty WWII, though when we played that game online, we didn’t detect the lag. Any lag under 50 ms is considered acceptable in most cases, so consider the HC5040UB to be a serious gaming projector for all but the pros.

Below, I have a short video of co-op mode on Mos Eisley, Tattoine. We played as The Dark Side (our go-to). I’m a pro at sword fighting in games, so I favor the lightsaber-wielding types. Darth Maul is my favorite – I’ve heard complaints that he’s too strong, but I think that’s just something people say when they’re losing (we’ll see) – and my teammate was Kylo Ren. This game mode is interesting – each kill you make adds time to your clock, so games can be pretty long or fairly short. I started the video a ways in, where most of the action was happening. Enjoy the video, and get yourself the game when it comes out tomorrow!

The Review

Check out our review of the Epson Home Cinema 5040UB, written by Art Feierman. Art goes into detail about the many, many special features, tours the hardware, discusses picture quality and performance. He raves about the black levels, favoring the HC5040UB over some of the newer, higher-resolution 4K UHD projectors like the Optoma UHD65 because of it. He says that with the 4K UHD projectors, you get a slightly sharper image, but the black levels can’t compete with this Epson. After having viewed those 4K UHD projectors myself, and spending the last week with my new HC5040UB, I’d have to agree.

So, read the review, and also check out our 2017 Holiday Guide to Four Great Home Theater Projectors Over $2000. This award-winning projector is fantastic for watching 4K movies, regular 1080p content, and for gaming. I am extremely happy with my purchase, and don’t even have resolution-envy of those 4K UHD projectors. The Epson Home Cinema 5040UB has a great value proposition, and would look good in your home theater this holiday season.

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