In Milan we say that certain things are like trams: either no one passes or three in a row arrive. The same thing, on closer inspection, we could also say of Star Wars: Battlefront II, game we are talking about for the third time in a few months.
The first time we covered it from Orlando, Florida for the Star Wars Celebration, while the second time we covered it at E3 in Los Angeles. And let’s be clear, we use the plural maiestatis for purely stylistic reasons, because in reality I have always treated the game, which in this way I find myself curiously to have become the Battlefront II little man within the editorial staff.
This then explains why as soon as the Electronic Arts press conference ended, a sign of understanding was enough between me and Luca (Forte). To me the article on the Star Wars game, to him (and who else?) The one on FIFA 18.
Team play would be essential in space battles.
The first thing to note is that, finally, EA has also unveiled the multiplayer in space of a game that, until now, had only been shown in the ground fighting. And let’s be clear, given its origins it was easy to imagine that the American giant here in Cologne would have put us in the ___pit of an X-Wing or a Tie Fighter.
Which should not make us forget that Battlefront II will also have a single player campaign created by Motive Studios directed by Jade Raymond, and which will see us take on the role of Iden Verso, an imperial Storm Trooper animated by a burning desire for revenge after seeing it explode the Death Star orbiting the moon of Endor.
Simply, however, in Cologne it is not the time to talk about it, having EA preferred to put the spotlight on space combat, one of the strengths of the game that is so elevated, in terms of gameplay variety, even higher than that Battlefield 1 with which Battlefront shares much more than a simple assonance.
So let’s focus on what we saw at Gamescom, able in a few seconds to bring back the glories of the times that were, when LucaArts was synonymous with masterpieces and X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter led us to experience firsthand those sensations previously limited to the cinema.
In the eternal struggle between good and evil, we find the Rebels engaged once again to try their luck by facing none other than a Star Destroyer. The assault, however, is not as easy as we see it in the films, and sees us intent on gradually breaking down the imperial defenses by first destroying the guard turrets, then the generators, the shields and finally the couplers.
The Imperials, of course, are busy trying to foil the attack, waiting for reinforcements that will inevitably arrive after a certain time. And the entry on the scene of a second Star Destroyer, coming out of the hyperspace jump behind the Rebel forces, is capable of taking your breath away the first time you see it.
As in the ground missions to face each other we find different units, each with its own characteristics and special abilities. The Rebels thus have at their disposal the X-Wings, equipped with Astromech Repair, Proton Torpedo and Weapon Overcharge. The first ability allows us to repair our aircraft a little, saving it (not always) from certain destruction; the second allows to unhook the enemy with automatic search missiles after having locked it for a few seconds; the third ability, on the other hand, allows you to get a boost to weapon damage.
Yes, you can also fly the Millennium Falcon.
Then there are the A-Wings, equipped with Target Lock, Concussion Missile and Afterburner, with the latter suitable for reaching an enemy far from us or, on the contrary, useful for getting out of the way from pursuers. Unlike the X-Wings, the classic aircraft suitable for all seasons, the A-Wings are extremely agile and equipped with great firepower but, as you can easily imagine, they are rather fragile.
This brings us to the iconic Y-Wings, bombers with great firepower, excellently armored but slow. On their side they have Astromech Repair, Dual Proton Torpedoes and Ion Cannon Turret. If there is little to say about the former, the last skill is essentially a turret capable of firing at 360 degrees, excellent when we have the enemy in the ribs and we want to encourage him to turn his attention to someone else.
The Imperials respond to this firepower with the classic Tie Fighters, equipped with Afterburner, Proton Torpedo and Laser Barrage, which, as can be deduced from the name, enormously increases the volume of fire. Then we have the Tie Interceptors, equipped with Afterburner, Target Lock and Concussion Missile and the devastating Tie Bomber. The latter, the equivalent of the Y-Wings, have Electronic Countermeasures (to make enemies who want to launch a missile lose the lock), Multimissile Lock and Dual Proton Torpedoes.
Some ships have abilities that help get enemies off their heels.
As in PvP on the ground, every few points you can call on the battlefield some of the characters who have made the history of the saga, when you fight in space you can resort to the services of Darth Maul’s Earth Maul Scimitar, equipped with a concealment device; Boba Fett’s Slave One, Poe Dameron’s Wing and Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon, fast and armored. Because the game embraces the three Star Wars trilogies, and therefore it shouldn’t be strange to find spaceships belonging to different eras of the universe created by George Lucas together on the battlefield.
Whether playing with the Rebels or the Imperials, the task is always the same: escort the bombers to their target and stick together. It goes without saying that obviously this rarely happens, especially if there are dozens of journalists who have never played together in space.
The result is therefore initially confusing, and finding your way through clouds of laser beams and missile broadsides may not be easy. But then you get the eye and the fun emerges overwhelmingly, also because the pace of space fights is slower than those on foot, and so even the most elderly player like myself can have fun without being seduced by the reflexes of ‘ teenager on duty.
This is the map shown at the Electronic Arts event.
There are still many weeks to next November 17th and unbalancing now could be premature, but if we had to take stock of the first three releases of the game developed in 6 hands by DICE, Criterion Games and Motive Studios, this would be largely positive.
In the battle on the shelves against Call of Duty WWII it is difficult that Star Wars Battlefront II can not so much prevail, but also only repeat the numbers of last year’s Battlefield 1, the fact remains that it is one of the most promising titles of the next season Christmas.