Multiformat + PC
Developer EA Motive, Criterion, DICE Publisher EA Format PC, PS4, Xbox One Release November 17
Star Wars Battlefront II, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Metro Exodus, Ashen, Anthem, The Swords of Ditto, Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite, The Darwin Project, A Way Out, Call Of Duty: WWII, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Dragon Ball FighterZ, The Artful Escape, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Last Day Of June, Metal Gear Survive, Transference, Absolver, Skull & Bones, Need For Speed Payback, Destiny 2, Ooblets, Starlink: Battle For Atlas, Beyond Good & Evil 2, Deep Rock Galactic, Indivisible, Laser League, The Evil Within II, The Last Night, Monster Hunter World, Far Cry 5, Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, Lawbreakers, Life Is Strange: Before The Storm, The Crew 2, Code Vein, Hello Neighbor, Strange Brigade, Middle-earth: Shadow Of War, Quake Champions, Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night, FIFA 18, Griftlands, Lone Echo
EA has struck an oddly apologetic tone when discussing Battlefront II. The lack of content in its predecessor’s launch incarnation was always going to be the elephant in the room, but it’s been strange to see a company normally so sure of itself go to such lengths to reassure everyone that it has learned from its past mistakes. On stage at EA Play, the publisher’s CEO Andrew Wilson said there’d been plenty of feedback to 2015’s Star Wars Battlefront: “A lot of it positive, and a bunch of it… constructive.” He even paused for the laugh he knew was coming.
The EA Motive producer who guides us through a demo toes the party line, assuring us that Battlefront II will ship with three times the content of its predecessor. That includes what, for many, was the most damning absence from the original, but is the main draw of the sequel, and forms the focus of our demo: a singleplayer story campaign.
The action kicks off early in the game, just after the destruction of the second Death Star at the end of Return Of The Jedi. As Imperial special commander Iden Versio, we race to shut down a Rebel destroyer. It’s an
effective choice for a demo mission, explaining the narrative setup while offering a broad spread of mechanics. First we’re in a TIE Fighter, chasing after a Rebel corvette, dogfighting with X-wings along the way, the controls much improved over the first game’s multiplayer equivalent. Then we work through the ship’s innards to a control room, which we must first capture, then hold while our drone sets about disabling its systems.
There’s a little flexibility to proceedings through your drone’s abilities – it can deploy a shock field that electrocutes enemies in range, for instance. And once you reach the control room, options unfurl. A Motive staffer plays through the section first, enters through a side door and dispatches enemies from the shadows. When it’s our turn, we head straight through the front door, all guns blazing.
The whole thing looks and feels indistinguishable from the multiplayer component: the HUD is identical, abilities are still governed by cooldowns, and Motive has resisted the temptation to tinker with character movement speeds to make Versio feel more powerful. It’s an effective showcase of EA’s mission to fix the first game’s transgressions, but we leave our demo with one concern: we just don’t buy the premise. For 40 years, Star Wars has been a battle of good versus evil; now, for the first time, we’re being asked to root solely for the bad guys. When Versio is told that the Death Star has been destroyed and the Emperor is dead, she looks heartbroken – but our empathy is in short supply. An Imperial soldier would have seen the Sith in action; they would have seen entire planets destroyed in a heartbeat. Lord Vader… are we the baddies?
The campaign may be the main draw, but there are changes planned for Battlefront II’s multiplayer, too, including a new class-based structure