Q4 is creeping ever closer and we all know what it means: a new batch of high-profile Star Wars media. What a time to be alive! 2015 Q4 brought us The Force Awakens and rebooted Star Wars Battlefront. Last year we got Rogue One.
This year we’re in for a double treat. In December Luke will finally take his lightsaber from Rey’s outstretched hand, and in November we’re getting bigger, better, richer Star Wars: Battlefront 2.
Let’s take a look at what waits for us in the galaxy far, far away this year.
Significant changes to multiplayer
While multiplayer was the previous Battlefront’s main offer, for the lack of singleplayer campaign, it had some area left for improvements. Clearly the developer, DICE thought so as well, because SW Battlefront 2 features a number of changes, mostly centred around two things.
Possibly the biggest change/improvement is the introduction of classes to the online dynamic. There are going to be four of them total, and they won’t be quite as rigid as one would expect. Each class will have access to a number of cards, equippable in ability slots to customise your experience and adjust it better to your playstyle with a particular class. That said, what are the classes even going to be?
- Assault – Assaults are the regular soldiers you see pushing the frontlines. With decent mobility and suited for short to medium range combat, they will probably the easiest to get the hang of. In addition to automatic rifles, they can pull out a devastating shotgun, or toss a couple of thermal detonators
- Heavy – if you want to trade mobility for firepower and survivability, you’ll likely decide to roll a Heavy class. They handle powerful rifles, can deploy energy shields, and use heavy repeating blasters to cut through anything sticking out too much
- Specialist – this class is going to appeal the most people who enjoy playing snipers and scouts. Specialists have long-range rifles, traps, and have additional stealth abilities to help them harass enemies. They also have improved melee damage, for close-range humiliation
- Officer – in general Officers will be focused on providing AoE buffs to allied soldiers, including HP bonuses and better recovery rate. They’ll also be able to deploy an automated turret to plug holes in the defences
Getting better makes you stronger
In the previous games to get into the shoes of special units you had to find a token somewhere on the map which would transform you into Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett or Emperor Palpatine like it’s a weird Power Ranger spin-off. These times are over now.
In Star Wars Battlefront 2 the way you’re getting to play as awesome character rather than generic grunts is directly tied to working towards your team’s success. Working towards the objective, killing enemies, drawing enemy fire away from allies, or anything worthwhile is going to net you points. Once on the respawn screen, you’ll spend them to spawn as something special next time.
This system is simple and rewards playing with your team, an always preferrable thing in games like these. It’s not a Free For All deathmatch, after all.
Let me tell you a story
The previous Battlefront was dreadfully short on any kind of storytelling, which was one of its biggest flaws, because environments and visuals like those deserved getting enough time to shine, something that is typically in short supply in multiplayer. Well, that’s been corrected for the sequel. Star Wars Battlefront II is getting a full story campaign, developed by Motive and penned by Walt Williams, who wrote Spec Ops: the Line.
That last credit is important, since we’re going to play as Imperials for a change, and experience gained writing a video game version of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness can only be a plus here.
In Battlefront II’s campaign we’ll follow the Inferno Squad, an imperial black ops squad, led by Iden Versio. In the last days of the Empire she received a special order from old man Palpatine, and her squad was on Endor when the second Death Star got blown up.
The storyline is said to cover the thirty-year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, and will hopefully explain how the First Order came to be. We’ll also get to visit several planets, including Versio’s homeworld, fully committed to serving the Empire.
There’s no telling how all these changes will work when the final product is launched on November 17, of course. What can be said, however, is that they are promising, interesting, and appear to make actual sense. What’s left is trying to make it to November to play it when it comes out.
Will we see you on the battlefields? Dark or Light Side?