‘STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II’: OUR FIRST TAKE 

With Star Wars: Battlefront II, developer DICE is taking its opportunity to fix the most disappointing issues in its 2015 predecessor.

The first Battlefront rebooted the franchise, which puts players in the stormtrooper armor of soldiers on the ground in iconic Star Wars battles. And though it’s liked well-enough by players, it had plenty of problems. It got the scope and look of Star Wars down, but it felt rushed to release and thin on content.

It was also sometimes hard to enjoy. Battlefront mostly puts players on huge maps with long sight lines, where half of any battle is actually finding people to shoot — without getting blasted from hundreds of yards away by an unseen member of the opposing team.

Battlefront II is addressing those issues, much to the franchise’s benefit. At EA’s E3 2017showcase, EA Play, journalists and players had a chance to hop into a match in the new and improved Star Wars title. It’s already clear there’s a lot more depth in gameplay, coupled with at least one interesting, shifting map — Theed, the capital city of Naboo seen in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

DON’T WORRY, CLASSES ARE BACK

While the first game often felt haphazardBattlefront II  seems to be placing more thought into its mechanics. Players can choose from one of four character classes each time they spawn into the game, and those classes have different traits. Where the last game was primarily about unlocking different blasters and “Star Cards” — special abilities like wielding a rocket launcher or throwing a thermal detonator — Battlefront II lets you specialize your gameplay from the jump.

Battlefront II has reworked a lot of the systems in Battlefront that felt haphazard and not particularly satisfying.

Each of the classes lets you think about how you can help your team, rather than just handing you another generic body to chuck into the fray. Specialists lay down traps and snipe at enemies. Assault characters are front-line fighters who carry explosives and mid-range blaster rifles. Heavy fighters wield big guns and have personal, forward-facing shields to let them wade into battle. Officers lay down turrets and buffs that give other players a boost.

Battlefront II uses these elements to push team-based play in ways the last game struggled with. When you’re killed, you’re placed into a squad of other players (somewhat similar to the last game’s random-feeling “partner spawn”), and the game attempts to put you all together every time you drop back in. That means you’re always with a team, and you can see what classes your teammates are bringing to bear — giving you a chance adjust your own so you can help out.

Specializing the helps bring back the teamwork present the Battlefield series that was lost in Star Wars Battlefront. The first game offered too few options, and it took a long time to unlock and learn the various weapons that eventually became available. In Battlefront II, you’re able to mix up gameplay and specialize right away, and that’s to the game’s benefit.

Also changed are the “tokens” that appeared in the prior Battlefront. These pickups let you do things like hop into a starfighter, drop a turret, or even become a powerful hero character like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. It’s not a bad idea, but in the first game they were just waiting around the map for anyone to grab, regardless of ability or usefulness. Needed a TIE fighter? Well, too bad — a blaster turret dropped, so that’s what you had to use.

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT IIBattlefront II throws that system out for “battle points,” which you earn for doing well in battle. Protecting or attacking objectives earns you points, as well as killing players. You don’t have to be the most dangerous player on your team to access to cool Star Wars toys, so long as you complete the objectives. As you accrue points, you store them up until you decide to spend them. Earn enough, and you can spawn as characters like Rey from The Force Awakens, or Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace. Like character classes, there’s strategy in how you deploy your battle points.

A MAP TO A BETTER GAME

Lastly, Battlefront II improves its maps — or at least seemed to, given what was available in the match playable at EA Play 2017. It centered on Theed, a city bristling with buildings, alleys and side paths, in which one side, the Separatist droid army, tries to escort a troop carrier to the queen’s palace, while Republic clone troopers work to stop them.

Theed outshines everything in Battlefront for one simple reason: You get shot from 300 yards away much less often.

The map outshines everything in Battlefront for one simple reason — you get shot from 300 yards away much less often. Sight lines are constrained, with corners and structures in the way, and the overall layout of the streets allow for strategic approaches, like flanking.

Theed is an “Operations” map, which means it has multiple objectives for the attacking team to clear while the defending team tries to offer resistance. The map changes when the first objective is clear, forcing the defenders into its giant palace to guard critical locations from attackers. If those rooms fall, it moves again, to a last desperate stand in the throne room.

What’s significant about the palace in Theed is that it continually constrains the battle further and further, which means the tension is always ramping up. Rather than spawning in and running to catch up with the fight, you’re always in the thick of it, and there’s a lot less opportunity to get taken out before you’re even ready to start shooting.

All these elements are improvements to Battlefront that were sorely needed. But not everything is better. Blasters weapons still feel insubstantial and rather unwieldy. The Star Card system returns, with its cool down timers for weapons like explosives. And piloting a starfighter remains extremely challenging, a fact that will continue to frustration players who don’t have time to master their finicky controls.

But even in only 20 or 30 minutes of trying Battlefront II, it already felt better than its predecessor in almost every way. If more maps are like Theed, Battlefront II’s changes to its classes and strategy will go a long way to making its battles feel less like random chaos, and more like Star Wars.

A NEW ‘STAR WARS’ STORY

In addition to checking out Battlefront II‘s revamped multiplayer, EA Play gave us a chance to look at the feature players have been asking for since before the first game’s release: A full Battlefront single-player campaign.

Single-player Battlefront II tells the story of Commander Iden Versio and her Inferno Squad, a group of elite Imperial commandos. The game starts at the Battle of Endor and the destruction of the Death Star, and bridges the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Its main focus is on what the Empire got up to in the aftermath of the deaths of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader.

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT IIPalpatine, Machiavellian strategists that he was, didn’t go into the Battle of Endor without a contingency plan for losing. The exceedingly vague but spooky-sounding “Operation Cinder” is his last order, and the Empire’s last bid to try to beat back the Rebellion.

The portion of the game we played saw Inferno Squad heading to an Imperial shipyard to prepare for Operation Cinder, when it suddenly comes under attack by a small Rebel armada. We hopped into a TIE fighter to take the fight to the Rebels as its cruiser started bombarding a docked Star Destroyer with ion cannon bursts. The idea, Versio suggested over her radio, was the Rebels meant to capture the destroyer by disabling it, rather than destroying it.

‘WE’LL HAVE TO DESTROY THEM SHIP-TO-SHIP’

The battle starts in space. In the TIE, we mixed it up with X-Wings and Corellian corvettes similar to the Tantus IV that’s seen at the beginning of A New Hope. After darting through the space station Return of the Jedi-style to take down an X-Wing tailing one of our squaddies, it was off to board the cruiser and shut down the ion cannons.

Single-player mode doesn’t differ significantly from multiplayer, at least when it comes to running, gunning and flying spaceships.

The actual gameplay of single-player mode in Battlefront II doesn’t differ significantly from multiplayer, at least when it comes to standard running, gunning and flying spaceships. Once we’d boarded the cruiser, it was a lot of gunning down rebel troops and chucking grenades into tight corridors. Fans of the 2005 Battlefront IIwill recognize what boarding is like — flying in through open hangars to blast defenseless ships and personnel before hopping out of your craft. Inside, it was tight corridors and intense fighting.Developers on hand from DICE said the idea of this particular section was to call back to the Rogue One scene in which Darth Vader cuts his way through a hallway full of rebels at the end of the film. You feel suitably overpowered as you make your way down the halls, hammering rebel soldiers with thermal detonators and blaster rifle fire as they flee before your might. Before long, you get to the ion cannons and blow them up as rebels stream in to stop you.

Versio has a few extra tricks from standard Battlefront II soldiers. She brings along a droid that can “slice” (which is Star Wars for “hack”) computer terminals to open doors, kind of like R2-D2, and can also fly toward unsuspecting enemies and electrocute tight groups of them. In a neat character nod, the droid has no name — Imperial troops are too hard-nosed to get attached to their tools.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY

In practice, though, Battlefront II single-player feels like a fairly standard shooter, something of a hybrid of Battlefront‘s standard soldier gameplay and controlling its amped-up hero characters. And it alters the Battlefront formula a bit by making using a stealthy approach an option at certain points. When we approached the ion cannon bay, we were able to open a side path with the droid’s help that let us slip in undetected. That gave a few opportunities to sneak up behind soldiers and perform stealth melee takedowns to thin the heard.

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT IIBut DICE said stealth is more of a preamble to the real fight than a method to play most of the game. You might be able to take out a few of the more irritating enemy soldier archetypes, like heavies, by sneaking around, but eventually it’s going to be a run-and-gun fight like Battlefront is in multiplayer.

Though the demo only lasted a few minutes, it’s worth noting that it felt fairly standard, as far as shooters are concerned. A little stealth, some corridor action, and alternating between grenades and rifle fire all come with a Star Wars paint job, but didn’t feel especially different from the rest of the shooter market.

WAITING FOR THE ‘BATTLEFRONT’ PART OF ‘BATTLEFRONT II’ SINGLE-PLAYER

That might change in the wider game (and stay up to date on Battlefront II news with Digital Trends), when Battlefront II gets into the thing that Battlefront is known for: Larger, army-scale engagements. DICE said players can expect larger battles to deal with like in the rest of Battlefront II, like on the starting planet, Endor. In fights like that, you might have objectives, but see Imperial troopers engaged in smaller skirmishes where you can help out. If you are willing to be side-tracked to other things happening on the battlefield, you might find rewards, like rooms you can open for secret upgrades that you’d otherwise have missed.

We’re still waiting to see what the single-player campaign of Battlefront IIwill offer that will feel more unique to DICE’s Star Wars franchise.

The example that struck me from asking questions was the original Halo, in which players sometimes see Covenant engaging with Flood as they run by in some levels. Soldiers will mix it up and you might be able to intervene if you feel like, but don’t expect that to make major alterations to the experience. For the most part, the game will be driving you toward clear objectives, similar to shooters like Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

And that’s what the Battlefront II campaign felt like. It’s great to be able to go immediately from well-designed starfighter dogfighting to boots-on-the-ground blasting, and we’re excited about DICE’s commitment to working with Lucasfilm on a Star Wars story that continues to build the franchise.

With Star Wars: Battlefront II, developer DICE is taking its opportunity to fix the most disappointing issues in its 2015 predecessor.

The first Battlefront rebooted the franchise, which puts players in the stormtrooper armor of soldiers on the ground in iconic Star Wars battles. And though it’s liked well-enough by players, it had plenty of problems. It got the scope and look of Star Wars down, but it felt rushed to release and thin on content.

It was also sometimes hard to enjoy. Battlefront mostly puts players on huge maps with long sight lines, where half of any battle is actually finding people to shoot — without getting blasted from hundreds of yards away by an unseen member of the opposing team.

Battlefront II is addressing those issues, much to the franchise’s benefit. At EA’s E3 2017showcase, EA Play, journalists and players had a chance to hop into a match in the new and improved Star Wars title. It’s already clear there’s a lot more depth in gameplay, coupled with at least one interesting, shifting map — Theed, the capital city of Naboo seen in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

DON’T WORRY, CLASSES ARE BACK

While the first game often felt haphazardBattlefront II  seems to be placing more thought into its mechanics. Players can choose from one of four character classes each time they spawn into the game, and those classes have different traits. Where the last game was primarily about unlocking different blasters and “Star Cards” — special abilities like wielding a rocket launcher or throwing a thermal detonator — Battlefront II lets you specialize your gameplay from the jump.

Battlefront II has reworked a lot of the systems in Battlefront that felt haphazard and not particularly satisfying.

Each of the classes lets you think about how you can help your team, rather than just handing you another generic body to chuck into the fray. Specialists lay down traps and snipe at enemies. Assault characters are front-line fighters who carry explosives and mid-range blaster rifles. Heavy fighters wield big guns and have personal, forward-facing shields to let them wade into battle. Officers lay down turrets and buffs that give other players a boost.

Battlefront II uses these elements to push team-based play in ways the last game struggled with. When you’re killed, you’re placed into a squad of other players (somewhat similar to the last game’s random-feeling “partner spawn”), and the game attempts to put you all together every time you drop back in. That means you’re always with a team, and you can see what classes your teammates are bringing to bear — giving you a chance adjust your own so you can help out.

Specializing the helps bring back the teamwork present the Battlefield series that was lost in Star Wars Battlefront. The first game offered too few options, and it took a long time to unlock and learn the various weapons that eventually became available. In Battlefront II, you’re able to mix up gameplay and specialize right away, and that’s to the game’s benefit.

Also changed are the “tokens” that appeared in the prior Battlefront. These pickups let you do things like hop into a starfighter, drop a turret, or even become a powerful hero character like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. It’s not a bad idea, but in the first game they were just waiting around the map for anyone to grab, regardless of ability or usefulness. Needed a TIE fighter? Well, too bad — a blaster turret dropped, so that’s what you had to use.

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT IIBattlefront II throws that system out for “battle points,” which you earn for doing well in battle. Protecting or attacking objectives earns you points, as well as killing players. You don’t have to be the most dangerous player on your team to access to cool Star Wars toys, so long as you complete the objectives. As you accrue points, you store them up until you decide to spend them. Earn enough, and you can spawn as characters like Rey from The Force Awakens, or Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace. Like character classes, there’s strategy in how you deploy your battle points.

A MAP TO A BETTER GAME

Lastly, Battlefront II improves its maps — or at least seemed to, given what was available in the match playable at EA Play 2017. It centered on Theed, a city bristling with buildings, alleys and side paths, in which one side, the Separatist droid army, tries to escort a troop carrier to the queen’s palace, while Republic clone troopers work to stop them.

Theed outshines everything in Battlefront for one simple reason: You get shot from 300 yards away much less often.

The map outshines everything in Battlefront for one simple reason — you get shot from 300 yards away much less often. Sight lines are constrained, with corners and structures in the way, and the overall layout of the streets allow for strategic approaches, like flanking.

Theed is an “Operations” map, which means it has multiple objectives for the attacking team to clear while the defending team tries to offer resistance. The map changes when the first objective is clear, forcing the defenders into its giant palace to guard critical locations from attackers. If those rooms fall, it moves again, to a last desperate stand in the throne room.

What’s significant about the palace in Theed is that it continually constrains the battle further and further, which means the tension is always ramping up. Rather than spawning in and running to catch up with the fight, you’re always in the thick of it, and there’s a lot less opportunity to get taken out before you’re even ready to start shooting.

All these elements are improvements to Battlefront that were sorely needed. But not everything is better. Blasters weapons still feel insubstantial and rather unwieldy. The Star Card system returns, with its cool down timers for weapons like explosives. And piloting a starfighter remains extremely challenging, a fact that will continue to frustration players who don’t have time to master their finicky controls.

But even in only 20 or 30 minutes of trying Battlefront II, it already felt better than its predecessor in almost every way. If more maps are like Theed, Battlefront II’s changes to its classes and strategy will go a long way to making its battles feel less like random chaos, and more like Star Wars.

A NEW ‘STAR WARS’ STORY

In addition to checking out Battlefront II‘s revamped multiplayer, EA Play gave us a chance to look at the feature players have been asking for since before the first game’s release: A full Battlefront single-player campaign.

Single-player Battlefront II tells the story of Commander Iden Versio and her Inferno Squad, a group of elite Imperial commandos. The game starts at the Battle of Endor and the destruction of the Death Star, and bridges the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Its main focus is on what the Empire got up to in the aftermath of the deaths of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader.

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT IIPalpatine, Machiavellian strategists that he was, didn’t go into the Battle of Endor without a contingency plan for losing. The exceedingly vague but spooky-sounding “Operation Cinder” is his last order, and the Empire’s last bid to try to beat back the Rebellion.

The portion of the game we played saw Inferno Squad heading to an Imperial shipyard to prepare for Operation Cinder, when it suddenly comes under attack by a small Rebel armada. We hopped into a TIE fighter to take the fight to the Rebels as its cruiser started bombarding a docked Star Destroyer with ion cannon bursts. The idea, Versio suggested over her radio, was the Rebels meant to capture the destroyer by disabling it, rather than destroying it.

‘WE’LL HAVE TO DESTROY THEM SHIP-TO-SHIP’

The battle starts in space. In the TIE, we mixed it up with X-Wings and Corellian corvettes similar to the Tantus IV that’s seen at the beginning of A New Hope. After darting through the space station Return of the Jedi-style to take down an X-Wing tailing one of our squaddies, it was off to board the cruiser and shut down the ion cannons.

Single-player mode doesn’t differ significantly from multiplayer, at least when it comes to running, gunning and flying spaceships.

The actual gameplay of single-player mode in Battlefront II doesn’t differ significantly from multiplayer, at least when it comes to standard running, gunning and flying spaceships. Once we’d boarded the cruiser, it was a lot of gunning down rebel troops and chucking grenades into tight corridors. Fans of the 2005 Battlefront IIwill recognize what boarding is like — flying in through open hangars to blast defenseless ships and personnel before hopping out of your craft. Inside, it was tight corridors and intense fighting.Developers on hand from DICE said the idea of this particular section was to call back to the Rogue One scene in which Darth Vader cuts his way through a hallway full of rebels at the end of the film. You feel suitably overpowered as you make your way down the halls, hammering rebel soldiers with thermal detonators and blaster rifle fire as they flee before your might. Before long, you get to the ion cannons and blow them up as rebels stream in to stop you.

Versio has a few extra tricks from standard Battlefront II soldiers. She brings along a droid that can “slice” (which is Star Wars for “hack”) computer terminals to open doors, kind of like R2-D2, and can also fly toward unsuspecting enemies and electrocute tight groups of them. In a neat character nod, the droid has no name — Imperial troops are too hard-nosed to get attached to their tools.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY

In practice, though, Battlefront II single-player feels like a fairly standard shooter, something of a hybrid of Battlefront‘s standard soldier gameplay and controlling its amped-up hero characters. And it alters the Battlefront formula a bit by making using a stealthy approach an option at certain points. When we approached the ion cannon bay, we were able to open a side path with the droid’s help that let us slip in undetected. That gave a few opportunities to sneak up behind soldiers and perform stealth melee takedowns to thin the heard.

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT IIBut DICE said stealth is more of a preamble to the real fight than a method to play most of the game. You might be able to take out a few of the more irritating enemy soldier archetypes, like heavies, by sneaking around, but eventually it’s going to be a run-and-gun fight like Battlefront is in multiplayer.

Though the demo only lasted a few minutes, it’s worth noting that it felt fairly standard, as far as shooters are concerned. A little stealth, some corridor action, and alternating between grenades and rifle fire all come with a Star Wars paint job, but didn’t feel especially different from the rest of the shooter market.

WAITING FOR THE ‘BATTLEFRONT’ PART OF ‘BATTLEFRONT II’ SINGLE-PLAYER

That might change in the wider game (and stay up to date on Battlefront II news with Digital Trends), when Battlefront II gets into the thing that Battlefront is known for: Larger, army-scale engagements. DICE said players can expect larger battles to deal with like in the rest of Battlefront II, like on the starting planet, Endor. In fights like that, you might have objectives, but see Imperial troopers engaged in smaller skirmishes where you can help out. If you are willing to be side-tracked to other things happening on the battlefield, you might find rewards, like rooms you can open for secret upgrades that you’d otherwise have missed.

We’re still waiting to see what the single-player campaign of Battlefront IIwill offer that will feel more unique to DICE’s Star Wars franchise.

The example that struck me from asking questions was the original Halo, in which players sometimes see Covenant engaging with Flood as they run by in some levels. Soldiers will mix it up and you might be able to intervene if you feel like, but don’t expect that to make major alterations to the experience. For the most part, the game will be driving you toward clear objectives, similar to shooters like Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

And that’s what the Battlefront II campaign felt like. It’s great to be able to go immediately from well-designed starfighter dogfighting to boots-on-the-ground blasting, and we’re excited about DICE’s commitment to working with Lucasfilm on a Star Wars story that continues to build the franchise.

Statements: Some of the contens of this site are from the internet, if these contents infringe on your copyrights, please contact me, I will immediately delete. All contents doesn't represent my points.