“Playing as a Battle Droid was totally awesome” is a phrase I never anticipated saying in my lifetime, yet here we are.
At E3, I had the pleasure of trying out EA’s upcoming shooter, Star Wars: Battlefront II. Sony graciously allowed us to sit in on an afternoon session, and it did not disappoint.
The game covers all 3 major eras in the Star Wars timeline, including the Prequel Era (Episodes I-III), the Original Trilogy Era (Episodes IV-VI), and the Sequel Era that features The Force Awakens. The session we tried took us to Theed Palace on Naboo. I know what you’re thinking, and I even said this on a recent episode of Geeks Got Game – THIS is what DICE is showing off? The battle from The Phantom Menace? Boy was I wrong.
My team was the Separatists, the opposition the Republic. Our goal was to peel back Clone enemy forces one by one until we were able to ascend to the Theed Royal Palace, former home of one Queen Padme Amidala. As the Separatist army, you were able to choose from four Battle Droid classes, all with varying skill sets. After a brief introduction as a Scout class Droid, I decided to try out the heavy weapons specialist of the group. I found a high level of success during my time with this class. You gun is essentially a laser canon, which can belt out bolt after bolt in high succession with devastating damage, though it needs a cool down time. My special weapon consisted of grenades, 3 of which I could carry at any given time. The grenades were super useful, particularly as the throne room became the center of the battle. I was able to launch the grenades at a long distance and with robot-like (see what I did there?) precision. In the throne room, the quarters were a bit cramped, so hurling a handful of these into a group of Clones was entirely satisfying. In addition, this class of Battle Droid featured the ability to use a shield, with a brief recharge period. The shield is the same material as the big bubble from TPM’s Gungans vs Battle Droids sequence, even replicating that high pitch sound of a laser bolt hitting the force field.
As you perform tasks on the field, you can gain points. These tasks range from taking down an enemy, to protecting your armored transport. The bigger the enemy, the more points you earn. On our side of the battle, you could spend points on a Super Battle Droid, or even fly a ship overhead to take place in planetary atmospheric combat. Those were both intriguing options, but my sight was set on one thing from the onset: playing as Darth Maul. Once I saved up enough points, it was rampage time. As Maul, who feels and sounds extremely authentic, I was nearly invincible. Force-jumping took me far through the air, gaining drastically more ground than I could if I were running. Hurling my double bladed Lightsaber through the air like a boomerang was my favorite part about the whole demo; it worked just as it did in the cinematic trailer. There’s something to be said for feeling so powerful in a game, much less a multiplayer arena. Sadly, my spree came to an end not due to my enemy’s hand, but because I ventured inside a respawn door that I shouldn’t have. It was a Republic respawn site for the Clones and once inside, the door would not open again, and I received the dreaded “return to the battlefield” message, with countdown timer at the ticking and nowhere to go. At least I can say I wasn’t killed, right?
After I saved up enough points again, I had my turn as Boba Fett, the other villain available. Fett plays much like he did in the first Battlefront game, and I never quite got the right feel for his style. If used properly, he is a deadly force to be reckoned with, able to Jet-pack to safety while reigning fire down on his opponents. DICE has a little bit of work to do in terms of balancing the heroes out before the final product ships, but it’s really just a bit of tweaking.
The points system is a welcomed addition to the sequel. In the first game, players would have the ability to be a hero after a period of time but not truly have the ability to select which one you wanted to be. Thankfully, Battlefront II’s points system gives players a benchmark to reach and gives a fair amount of customization. For the sake of this battle, the Republic’s heroes were Rey & Han Solo. Han appeared much like he did from the original Battlefront’s DLC, with the Cloud City outfit and swagger. Rey fights just as she did in The Force Awakens, and let me tell you, it is a phenomenal specimen. The voice acting across all of the game’s heroes is remarkable, with DICE achieving such authenticity in both appearance and sound.
Though my demo ended in defeat, I finished just shy of the top ranking on the Separatists in both Kill-Death Ratio & overall points scored, after holding down that spot for the majority of the battle. I expected to play Battlefront II and not feel any significant upgrades. Most annualized or semi-annual sequels don’t do much other than slightly tweak the gameplay (Destiny 2, Call of Duty, Battlefield, or even the major sports franchises like Madden and FIFA are guilty of this). Thankfully, Battlefront II doesn’t fall into those tropes. It appears DICE will be able to deliver the Star Wars game we’ve been dreaming of for a millenia. You can be sure it won’t be leaving my console once November 17 hits.
Star Wars: Battlefront II was my game of the show for E3 2017, not to mention The Geekiverse’s. For all coverage on the game leading up to its release this Holiday season, keep it locked right here to The Geekiverse.
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Josiah LeRoy is the Founder of The Geekiverse. He had the time of his life at E3 and cannot wait for Star Wars: Battlefront II to grace his console later this year.
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