FOR THE QC
Shortly before writing this piece, I woke up this morning and went about my usual routine. I made my coffee, poured myself some cereal, and sat down to watch some videos. As I was scrolling through my recommendations, something caught my eye. Only an hour before, EA Star Wars had released a new advertisement entitled “This is Star Wars Battlefront II”. I was intrigued, and I clicked on the video. Soon blasters rang out and battleships collapsed in on themselves in fiery explosions. So far, nothing too out of the ordinary. Then, I was greeted by a familiar voice – John Boyega (Finn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens). I may or may not have squealed in fanboy delight. Boyega walked me through all of the additions and changes to the game, pointing out new locations, heroes, and vehicles to play with. It was enough to get the Star Wars junkie in me suitably hyped. Yet, as the video ended, I was left with a strange feeling. I was excited, and definitely thrilled by all the new gameplay footage and promised content. I couldn’t shake this strange feeling, however. I still had many reservations. Let’s say it left me cautiously optimistic.
Now, I have played my fair share of EA’s first Battlefront. I remember eagerly downloading the beta with my friends for that first taste of Walker Assault on Hoth. We were all thoroughly impressed with the game’s audio and visuals, which remains top notch nearly two years after it’s release. However, the lack of customization, story mode, and sense of progression in the released game left me unsatisfied. The fact that I had to shell out more money in order to play new game modes on maps I felt should have been available at launch left a sour taste in my mouth. Not to mention that, in order to play as some of my favorite Star Wars characters, like Lando Calrissian or Chewbacca, I had to also purchase characters I would have never put in the game in the first place (I’m looking at you, Dengar). This further dissuaded me from sticking with the game.
It may be surprising, then, that I remain optimistic about the game’s sequel – albeit cautiously. DICE, the developer behind the game, seems to have taken a lot of the criticism to heart. There are many new features, additions, and changes to the game that I would have liked in the original. For starters, Battlefront II will feature an original story, revealing the events immediately after Return of the Jedi and leading up to The Force Awakens. According to EA’s website, players will join Inferno Squad, and step into the boots of elite commander Iden Versio shortly after the destruction of the second Death Star. The introduction of a new officially canonized story was enough to get me excited, but exploring this narrative from the perspective of the Empire allows for a whole range of interesting thematic concepts and gameplay moments, which I am eager to explore.
It’s not just the single player, however, that has been updated. DICE is keen on keeping player’s attention this time around, with the introduction of four unique classes to choose from (Assault, Heavy, Officer, and Specialist). There is also a new emphasis on squad based gameplay. Hopefully, this will add more depth and strategy to the series, requiring more teamwork and skill to truly dominate on the battlefront. This time around, players will be able to participate in battles from all three eras of the Star Wars Universe: The Clone Wars, the Galactic Civil War, and the Rise of the First Order.
These battles will take place across 11 worlds, including fan favorites such as Naboo, Endor, and Starkiller Base. Gamers will have the option of playing across five game modes including Strike, Galactic Assault, Heroes vs Villains, a revamped Starfighter Assault, and arcade (the game’s primary offline attraction). On the battlefield, players will earn points which unlock specialty units. Players may become First Order flametroopers, pilot N-1 Starfighters, and play as Rey and Darth Maul, among many others. What’s more, according to one Gamestop article, EA promises that the DLC for the game will be free, ensuring that players have more maps to play on, more modes to enjoy, and more heroes as the year progresses. Taken together, it is an ambitious step forward for the series, and one which may have players coming back for more.
The question remains: Am I going to be purchasing Battlefront II when it releases in November.
Not immediately. Personally, I am going to wait for the reviews to come out and hear what other people have to say before spending $60 (or more) on the game.
If DICE can deliver on all of their promises, crafting an engaging single player experience coupled with an addictive and satisfying online multiplayer, then I’ll happily dive back in. Until that time, however, I will wait and see whether this game is worth my galactic credits, or if it is just another piece of Bantha fodder.