By now it’s pretty likely you’ve already seen the Battlefront trailer, though not as likely as The Force Awakens or Star Wars Rebels Season 2 trailers, but definitely likely. Once you’re done soaking in the lush forest moon of Endor graphics from the trailer, I have details on the behind closed doors gameplay demo on the show floor, the new information released about the game, the Battle of Jakku DLC pack, and details on the tie-in novel Star Wars: Battlefront: Twilight Company.
The extended gameplay demo was basically an extension of the events in the trailer with there being a slight difference in graphics, but it was definitely a good difference, not a bad one. Anyways, the demo started in FPS mode and had a tense vibe to it, as the player seemed to be wandering the woods hoping not to run into the enemy. But it’s not long before a stormtrooper sneaks up on the player, who quickly dispatches the enemy. Much like most FPSs these days, details on the points you racked up for your kill pop up on screen near the center/aiming reticle. Then BAM, two speeder bikes whiz by at eye level and suddenly you’re in the much large battle running through the woods. As most demos of this nature tend to be, it was easy to tell how highly staged the entire encounter was, as there’s no way most average players you’ll run into online for Battlefront would be this organized (or disorganized). A jetpack trooper blows up an AT-ST, the AT-AT shows up and the player must activate a device to call in the Y-wing airstrike, and eventually the troopers run into Vader in one of the bunkers.
The game looked absolutely great and watching, through a first-person POV, Darth Vader calmily walk up to you to kill you is a frightening and enjoyable thing to watch. Never has such an encounter looked so real and felt so scary as it did in the demo and for that alone I applaud the team. It also helped we were listening to the game in Dolby ATMOS, their most comprehensive speaker system yet, which the game will support if you have the correct speaker system (for PC only, at this point). It’s hard to argue against getting it now, after hearing just how rich a sound experience you can get after watching the Battlefront demo.
There was a lot of verticality, depth, and size to the map, something I look forward to exploring. The map feels built to scale, as if running from one side to the next would take you a long time because it is such a big distance. From troopers up in the Ewok villages to the bunkers below, what we saw of the Endor map was impressive not just in its detail, but the scope as well. Now how big the map actually is, we don’t know, but I have a good feeling fans won’t be disappointed.
As for other details that have been released: split-screen co-op has been included; it’s basically online only, with a few “Missions” for a more single-player-like experience; no classes for characters; switch between first-person and third-person at will; the “Partners” system allows you to buddy up with someone, spawn on them, and if you’re feeling really nice, give them your unlocks to help them progress; Vader is playable, but no word yet on how you get him or what other Force wielders there are, if any; special power-ups are spread across the map; no space battles, which is a pretty big bummer in my book. As long as everything else plays solidly enough, I can do without space combat, but there is at least in-atmosphere vehicle combat, though it’s unclear if they’ll be part of the same map as the ground combat or separate battles.
In a cool usage of the new storytelling era of Star Wars, there is a free DLC level connecting to events in The Force Awakens and a novel to compensate for the lack of a single-player campaign. Remember the downed Star Destroyer at the start of the stunning new teaser (of course you do!)? Well in the DLC level, Battle of Jakku, you’ll get to take part in the battle where that comes crashing down, as the level plays out events from just after the Battle of Endor. If you pre-order the game, you’ll get access to the Jakku level by December 1, otherwise everyone else gets it December 8. Twlight Company, written by Alexander Freed, will follow the footsteps of the every day solider and is set between Ep. IV and V (impressions from its excerpt in the 2015 Del Rey Sampler). UPDATE: Full review!
While it was already quite a bit of information regarding Battlefront, expect more at E3 2015 in mid-June. In the mean time, did everyone enjoy the trailer? Does a lack of single-player campaign ruin the game for you? What did or didn’t you like? Leave your comments below!
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