Mul­ti­for­mat + PC

De­vel­oper EA Motive, Cri­te­rion, DICE Pub­lisher EA For­mat PC, PS4, Xbox One Re­lease Novem­ber 17

EDGE - - GAMES -

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

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