It’s E3 time again! The time of year when every game journalist literally goes mad with excitement and anxiety as the biggest publishers, and game developers roll out a smorgasbord of delectable digital delights.
EA has just recently put on their annual EA Play event, an early E3 presentation that showcases the best that EA has to offer. One of those games just so happens to be the sequel to 2013’s big E3 announcement, Star Wars: Battlefront II.
2015’s reimaging of the classic Star Wars: Battlefront was received as a generally mixed bag. On the one hand, critics loved the graphics, sound, and overall gameplay, but lamented the distinct lack of content and variety. In Battlefront II, EA DICE has taken all the feedback they received from their first foray into the Star Wars cinematic universe and come back with a new offering that aspires to be better than ever.
It looks like they’ve learned quite a few lessons from the original, and are going to make a sequel that’s worthy of the Star Wars name.
For those of you that missed it, here’s 15 things you’ll love about the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront II.
15 There Will Be A Story Mode
One of the largest complaints surrounding the original Battlefront is how it was a strictly multiplayer game. That’s not to say that multiplayer games can’t be successful - just look at Overwatch - but even the successful ones will always have that group of people that just want to sink their teeth into a good story rather than get blown up by people they’ve never met.
Well, EA has listened, and Star Wars: Battlefront II will feature a full single-player campaign.
The story of Battlefront II will be told from the viewpoint of Imperial Inferno Squad commander Iden Versio, and will take place between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. So far we don’t have many details on what’s going to happen, but as a special forces group, the Inferno Squad will likely get up to some nefarious deeds against the Rebels, punctuated by explosions and cinema-quality cutscenes.
14 New Characters!
Along with a new story comes a new cast of characters. As revealed during the EA Play event on Saturday, the new story is being modeled on the successful Rogue One movie, which introduced brand new characters to the Star Wars universe.
We already know one of the new characters - Iden Versio, the intense leader of the Empire’s Inferno Squad - but who else might share the spotlight is a mystery. We do know that some existing favourites will finally find their way to the Battlefront series, with Boba Fett, Darth Maul, and Rey all making appearances in the brief pre-alpha footage seen yesterday.
13 Three Times The Content!
Another complaint levied against the original Battlefront was that it seemed a tad light on the content. Sure, it was the best simulation of those iconic Star Wars battles the world had ever seen, but after you’d played the maps a few times it just seemed there wasn’t a whole lot of game there.
That’s going to change. EA has promised that Battlefront II will be stuffed to the gills with stuff, from new weapons to new vehicles, and all of it from all three eras of the Star Wars universe. If the first game suffered from having too many battles play out the same, the sequel will feel fresh and exciting every time you play.
12 More Customization
In the first Battlefront, your options for customization were somewhat limited. You could choose your gun, you could choose an asset card or two to give yourself a bit of surprise factor against your foes, and you could choose between a few very similar character classes, but that was basically it.
In Battlefront II you’ll still be able to do all that, but way more of it. There will be more character classes to choose from, more asset cards to buy and beef yourself up with, and far more guns to get your trigger finger excited about. You’ll be able to customize your loadout to your heart’s content, which should make things way more interesting.
11 Was Tested By Real Battlefront Fans
DICE and EA listened to a lot of feedback before starting development on Battlefront II. To help make the game EA brought in some of the best Battlefront players in the world to help playtest and create the sequel.
Called the “Gamechanger” program, it was essentially just EA tapping Battlefront players to secretly fly them to Stockholm and assist the game designers with making the best, most balanced, and most fun multiplayer experience ever seen in Star Wars. A lot of them also just happen to be YouTubers, so I’m sure they’ll hype the game to death as it approaches its November’s release date.
10 Revamped Class System
Let’s be honest — there was no class system in the first Battlefront. You spawned as a random Rebel or Imperial soldier, picked your blaster, and went off to join the fray. Battlefront II will be taking a far more nuanced approach.
There are now 4 classes to choose from before you spawn in: Assault, Heavy, Officer, or Specialist, and each one affects your starting health, abilities, and weapon options. The Assault class will play much like the regular soldiers did in the original, with a little more health to help them out. The Heavy class will have the options of heavier weapons and tank busters. The Officer is a support calss who will be able to buff allies while laying traps or turrets to help out. Specialists will have a variety of special weapons to choose from, allowing them to determine how “special” they want to be before every fight.
9 Redone Guns, Son
I’ve already mentioned there will be a ton more weaponry to choose from, but DICE has also revamped the weapons to look and feel more like actual guns. Getting hit will have a real impact; throwing off aim and disorienting the player. Sniper rifles will have massive kickback that will punish players for firing shots frivolously. Also, your blaster will have recoil, and you’ll have to fight your heavy assault blaster from just shooting wildly in all directions.
Everything that 'worked' about the original game is being kept - like the authentic sounds and models - but now they’ve factored in the missing emotions that were lacking in the original gunplay. And I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s really the best way to describe the missing character of the guns from the first Battlefront.
8 Battle Points Let You Buy On The Fly
Battlefront II will feature the introduction of a brand new Battle Point system that determines what you can equip over the course of each fight. You start each game with a set amount of points that will allow you to customize your character, but from there the sky’s the limit.
Once the game starts (and you start racking up kills) you’ll also start racking up points. Those points will allow you to respawn with better weapons, more powerful ability cards, battle-deciding vehicles, or even as ultra-powerful hero units. Battle Points will be an essential factor in determining the winner of every match.
7 SPACE BATTLES!
Y’know, the Battle of Hoth and Endor were nice and all, but Star Wars was never really about those ground-pounding battles. It was about furious dogfights with swarms of starfighters, capital class Star Destroyers in epic naval combat, and plucky pilots diving into the jaws of space beasts. I mean, the word “star” is in the name! There’s gotta be space battles!
In Star Wars: Battlefront II there will be way more space-based combat, with entire maps being devoted to zero-g mayhem. The story mode will even begin with a space battle, just like every good Star Wars movie should. It's about time. The original game was certainly lacking in space combat, despite having vehicles that could be piloted.
6 Free Content!
Battlefront II isn’t going to be like most games. There won’t be any DLC, no season pass, no pay-later content. Battlefront II is going to give away all its content, and it’s going to do it for free.
That’s right; as reported by Jaina Gavankar during the EA Play presentation, “All post-launch heroes, maps, weapons, and vehicles will be free for everyone who owns Star Wars Battlefront 2.”
The new content will come in themed seasons to be released regularly “post-launch for all players at no additional charge.” The first season will be based on the upcoming movie The Last Jedi and will have skins and weapons straight from the film.
5 Pre-order Bonus Goodies
While everything post-launch will be given away for free, that doesn’t mean EA isn’t going to try and entice you with some pre-launch swag.
Those that pre-order Battlefront II will get access to exclusive content, such as new skins for Kylo Ren and Rey, two epic ability modifiers that alter the abilities for both Ren and Rey to be more powerful, and epic ability modifiers for the Millenium Falcon as well as a new First Order hero ship.
That’s not all: pre-order Battlefront II and you’ll also get early access to the multiplayer beta. No word yet on when that beta will be exactly, but it should be coming up later this Fall.
4 More Phased Battles
Remember the Battle of Hoth from the original Battlefront? Remember how the first phase was to overrun the Rebel’s front lines, then the second phase was to destroy the shield generator? Well, there’s going to be more of that in the sequel.
The 30-minute long multiplayer demo at EA play featured the Assault on Theed map, which is the capital city of Naboo. In it, the first phase was for the droid army to occupy the city, followed by the second phase of invading the palace, and finally the third phase of taking over the throne room. Each phase is distinct. The first phase is very open and allows for vehicular combat. Each subsequent phase is more enclosed — a better environment for lightsabre duels.
3 Tons More Vehicles
You can’t have more space combat without more spaceships, but DICE didn’t stop there. They also loaded up on more ground-based hardware to make this the most technologically laden Star Wars game since the 2005 version of Battlefront II.
As stated before, we know that the vehicles featured will be from all eras of Star Wars, with the multiplayer demo having a full garage to choose from. There was the V-Wing, the N-1 Starfighter, the AAT-1 Tank, the MTT, Vulture Droids, and the AT-RT — and that was just on one map. You can expect to multiply the number of vehicles a few times with each new map released.
2 There’s A Healer Now!
Part of the reason the original Battlefront’s combat was predictable was the fact that everybody was essentially the same. But more than that, everybody did one thing and one thing only: damage.
Battlefront II changes that dynamic in a way that should be familiar to anyone playing multiplayer MOBAs today: they added a healer. The Officer class can actually heal units around him, drastically changing the battlefield math and giving their side the edge in a protracted firefight.
Both sides of every map will now feature the Officer class, so expect to take team composition seriously as soon as Battlefront II is released.
1 The Game Is Gorgeous
One thing that cannot be overstated is just how gosh-darned pretty this game looked. During the demo, you could see this game was a cut above the competition when it came to graphics and textures, but it went way deeper than that. An extraordinary amount of work was spent to make the scenery come to life, even without the benefit of a raging battle.
In the assault on Theed, the leaves would fall from trees and settle gently on the ground. The birds would fly away in flocks as soldiers or tanks rushed past. The sky was as true to life as our very own, indistinguishable from a picturesque photograph of a sunny day. The battlefield smoke, the spark of blaster fire, the shadows of passing starfighters — all of it comes together in a gorgeous package that will be a must-have for gamers when it releases on November 17th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.