Of Star Wars: Battlefront II we have already spoken to you from Orlando, in whose Convention Center last April the Star Wars Celebration was held, that is the forty-year celebration of the most famous sci-fi saga of all time. On that occasion, objectively the best possible, EA presented its next blockbuster which is not only the sequel to the famous 2015 reboot, but one of the many games that the American giant has in the pipeline to make the most of the certainly not cheap license. of Star Wars.
There are many innovations compared to the previous episode, but the most striking is undoubtedly the presence of that single player campaign that had ended up in the dock at the time. Not because it was badly done, but because it wasn’t there at all. The result was in fact a half game, capable of satisfying only multiplayer lovers and therefore lacking that other half that would have certainly given it greater depth.
A defect, this, which will remedy Star Wars: Battlefront II, which for this purpose has ‘recruited’ the Motive Studios, directed by the well-known Jade Raymond, former executive producer of Assassin’s Creed II, Watch Dogs and The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. The developers, who met only in July 2015, do not yet have games under their belt but the fact that they are working with Amy Hennig, ex Naughty Dog, on another Star Wars title developed this time by Visceral Games, bodes well for their qualities. .
Film fans get ready to play epic battles, not just in singleplayer.
What is certain, however, is that Battlefront II will represent a clean break with the past starting from the protagonist, the intriguing Iden Verso, an imperial Storm Trooper who will see the second Death Star explode live during a mission on the planet Endor. Needless to say, his goal will be only one, and that is to make the Rebels pay, and it is in this reversal of roles that perhaps lies the greatest interest of a shooter whose plot was likely to be similar to that seen in other titles in the series.
Will we then be able to identify with an Imperial? Will we be able to see and understand what the ‘bad guys’ par excellence feel? “I hope to convert many people to the dark side of the force,” Mark Thompson said at a press conference in Orlando, and that’s where the success of the writers at Motive Studios will lie or not.
Without a doubt Iden Verso starts off on the right foot: not only, as a chosen soldier, she is trained to infiltrate enemy lines and pilot imperial fighters, but on her back she carries a droid that will allow her to neutralize enemies with an electric discharge, hit them or create a protective shield. It therefore appears clear that the game will have new mechanics, but no one expects a game with stealth mechanics.
During our test at EA Play, the Electronic Arts showcase organized in the days before E3 in Los Angeles, we were able to take the Rebels by surprise once they boarded their cruiser, but we noticed the lack of any visibility indicator or the possibility to proceed crouched. Not that anyone expected Battlefront II to be a Deus Ex setting, but we still needed an area electric shock from our droid to take out three enemies at a time. Understanding when to use it in this sense, however, is quite simple: just wait for the symbol of a lightning bolt to appear on the enemy’s head.
But the droid can KO enemies even during face-to-face combat, and in these moments we have to accept that none of the Rebels ever thought to shoot him rather than keep aiming at us. A problem, that of artificial intelligence, which we also noticed in the rest of the mission on foot, with the enemies who, if they had a cover nearby, tried to exploit it, but who otherwise stood still to be riddled with shots without moving a muscle.
If we add to this a certain linearity (and brevity) of the only single player map shown to us, it can be deduced that Star Wars Battlefront II needs a more in-depth test before committing to more in-depth judgments. Because it will also happen to fight in space, and in that case the game takes on those shades of X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter (who played it is good) who re-evaluate the single player component.
Furthermore, it is not yet clear how long the campaign will last, although we are heartened by the words of Paola Jouyaux, producer of Motive Studios, who said that “the duration will be satisfactory, telling a story that will cover several historical periods starting with the end of the ‘episode VI and go up to episode VII “.
What is certain, however, is that the father of the protagonist is Admiral Vardo and that after the death of Palpatine he will send us on a mission to avenge the Empire. In this regard, we cannot help but notice that the cutscenes we have seen have left us speechless for the quality of the graphics and the expressiveness of the digitized actors. In fact, their virtual counterparts seem in some cases to shine with a life of their own and those who love acting cannot fail to notice some really convincing details.
Naboo, in all its glory, will be the backdrop to a multiplayer map.
The news regarding the single player have therefore been said. But what about multiplayer? Well, even in this case the developers have not spared, as Star Wars: Battlefront II will cover the three cinematic trilogies, as well as The Clone Wars. This means that the characters, settings and periods most loved by fans of the series will be present in the game, which therefore is proposed as a real extension of the first Battlefront, roster included.
Spanning 40 years of history is a big factor, and so is the way the heroes will appear on the battlefield. “In the last chapter the ability to use heroes was the prerogative of the best or the luckiest, while now we want everyone to have a way to do it, with a system based on the collection of resources”, said Bernd Diemer, creative director of DICE when we interviewed him in Orlando.
Here in Los Angeles, at EA Play, we were able to try a 20 vs 20 mission called “Assault on Theed”, which in many ways reminded us of an Overwatch mission. Depending on which side you are fighting for, you have to escort a troop transport vehicle, an MTT, through the enemy lines of the city of Theed, which is very reminiscent of the capital of Naboo, the planet where Princess Padmé Amidala lived. Or, of course, to avoid in every way that it reaches its destination.
The opposing factions were those of the droids against the clones of the then Republic of the second trilogy, which generated no little confusion when the heroes took the field were Boba Fett and Darth Maul for the first, and Han Solo and Rei for seconds. Both because it is strange to see the captain of the Millennium Falcon fight alongside the Storm Troopers, and because the historical periods do not coincide.
The game will run through all three trilogies, as well as the Clone Wars.
Net of these details, which only the purists of the series will notice and understand (after all, Sheev Palpatine has not yet officially become Darth Sidious), the multiplayer of Battlefront II has proved to be compelling, at times exciting. The mission is in fact divided into three phases in which you must first escort the MTT through the streets of Theed, protecting it from the assaults of the defenders, up to the royal palace. If you manage to break down its defenses, you then enter inside fighting for luxurious rooms clearly inspired by the royal palace of Caserta.
The incredible quality of the graphics, combined with the suggestiveness of the location, risked overshadowing the four classes available (Assault, Heavy, Specialist and Officer) and the system of equipable Star Cards (of common, uncommon, rare quality). and epic) that will define the capabilities of our alter egos. In the final version of the game you can equip up to 4, while in the demo here at EA Play you could only use 2 at a time.
As usual, by fighting we will earn our team battle points which can then be reinvested to buy units and vehicles capable of changing the outcome of the battle. In the case of the Assault on Theed mission these were fearsome Clone Jumptrooper, N-1 Starfighter and V-Wing aircraft, and AT-RTs. If we combine this with the possibility of changing class with each death, we understand how the multiplayer of Battlefront II, at least in this first release, appeared to us the right structured and engaging.
There is not much more to say about this highly anticipated title, except that in the course of our multiplayer career, aircraft called “hero ships” such as the Millennium Falcon or the Slave 1, for which none other than Criterion has been involved, will be piloted. Which must surprise up to a certain point, if you think that EA, in order to better exploit the Star Wars license, has mobilized in addition to the aforementioned Motive Studios, also BioWare, Respawn Entertainment, Capital Games and Visceral Games.
Also be prepared for aerial battles over the head of the infantry.
The latest addition to Star Wars Battlefront II is a skirmish mode that will allow players to fight against artificial intelligence. This is a feature that many will consider ancillary but which according to the developers was instead loudly requested by those fans who poorly digest online competition against real-life opponents.
In conclusion, that of Star Wars is a license with unimaginable potential, which if exploited properly could also subvert the current market order. Try to imagine, in fact, what would be a Destiny set in the lore of Star Wars. Or a Knights of the Old Republic-style BioWare RPG. In the absence of a Battlefield, will Battlefront II be able to bother Call of Duty: WWII, which this year will return “boots on the ground”? We’ll find out on November 17, when Star Wars: Battlefront II will be released for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.