E3 2017: Star Wars Battlefront 2 Hands-On

It's E3 week here at Darkstation and have we got a treat for you! Electronic Arts invited us to their EA Play event in Hollywood, California and gave us some time to play Star Wars Battlefront II.  The footage below, presented as a raw, unedited capture of the play session, features a mode called Galactic Assault and set on the lush, Venetian-styled planet of Naboo. In it, the Droid army must escort a multi-troop transport to the Theed Palace while the Clones must use Ion Disruptors to destroy the vehicle before it reaches its target.

Right off the bat, there are a lot of things I like about Battlefront II so far. First and foremost is how DICE created character classes. The structure of class-based characters, as it is presented in the game, isn't particularly original but the game is much better for it. This is because classes give players clear, distinctive roles and responsibilities during the match. The original Battlefront gave everyone a gun and did little to differentiate them from any other player in the game outside of cosmetics. As an Assault, Heavy, Officer, or Specialist, each player in the group can carry on and assist with the objective in their own unique way. As a trade off, classes come preloaded with special gear and abilities a la Star Cards. The practice of picking up floating blue icons that give the player a random special weapon seems to have been taken out of the game entirely. I love this change. It takes away the frustration and annoyance of having to break off an attack and race another player to the special weapons (and risk being saddled with something you don't really want).

This also applies to piloting vehicles and controlling Hero units. Just like special weapons, it could get hard to fly an X-Wing or play as Darth Vader because the really good players often memorized their spawning locations. For Battlefront II, players earn points from kills, completing mission objectives, and staying with the group and spend them to access vehicles and advanced units, such as the MTT and Super Battle Droid, as well has Hero characters like Darth Maul and Boba Fett. This is a fantastic revision that's sure to give everyone a much better and fairer shot at being the hero. 

The changes coming to Battlefront II show that DICE has listened to the community and created a Star Wars game with a much broader appeal to the FPS community. Then again, if DICE was going to create what ultimately feels like Battlefield game in a Star Wars suit, why didn't they just do that in the first place? The first Battlefront had a sort of playfulness to itself whereas Battlefront II comes off as being far more technical and robust. Regardless, I came away from the preview event feeling really impressed and excited with Battlefront II's new direction and can't wait to explore the finished product in November. 

Teen Services Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.