When people talk about their favorite Star Wars games, they usually mention EA’s Battlefront series. Originally released for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, these multiplayer games, developed at the time by Pandemic Studios, generated plenty of excitement for fans of George Lucas’ sci-fi franchise, thanks to exceptional gameplay and variety spread across both trilogies. The series has been dormant for a while now, but it’ll make a triumphant comeback in time for Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
The new Star Wars™ Battlefront™, produced by Battlefield developer DICE, has a lot in common with the games of old, but with a superb presentation that sends player into the iconic galaxy far, far away. Gamers will remain happily engaged in the multiplayer action while taking in numerous sights and sounds from the films.
Players will choose between the classic third-person perspective from the previous games or a new first-person viewpoint on the fly with the press of a button. Whether you prefer to take out Stormtroopers while watching your on-screen persona, or zoom in through a sniper rifle to score some headshots, the choice is yours. Better still, no matter what perspective you choose, the action moves extremely fast.
Taking place in the forest of Endor, we watched the Rebel strike team run into several skirmishes with Stormtroopers, using blasters, sniper rifles and more explosive weaponry (like the classic thermal detonator) to take them out. The game rewards points depending on how effectively they take down foes, and multiplies that score on what kind of kill streak they’re on.
In addition, more powerful weapons become available and you’ll need these items to combat bigger adversaries like Imperial walkers and an AT-AT. If missile launchers don’t get the job done, you can call in an air strike to bombard enemies, which is quite useful for turning the tide.
Not only will you be able to take out adversaries on foot, but you’ll also have access to vehicles. Speeder Bikes, Walkers, X-Wings, TIE Fighters and others (we caught a glimpse of the Millennium Falcon) will be accessible throughout the game, and set up some epic sky battles to go along with the ground action. In addition, various characters can be used with different vehicles, so if you ever wanted to go for a joyride with Boba Fett on a Speeder across the frozen tundra of Hoth, now’s the chance.
As you get better with the in-game combat, you’ll unlock rewards. These include more powerful weapons, the ability to generate shields that keep you temporarily safe from harm and in traditional Battlefront fashion, the ability to unlock a legendary hero or villain. Darth Vader made an appearance, Force choking one of the player’s Rebel allies before striking down another character with a swipe of his lightsaber.
Furthermore, DICE promised that each hero and villain will be loyal to characters from the film, so expect Jedi and Sith to act accordingly.
In terms of multiplayer, Star Wars™ Battlefront™ will have plenty of options. DICE promised that the game will feature full-on 40-player battles, although different modes will offer variations, should players prefer a smaller number in more confined areas. There’s also a single player component called Missions, where gamers take on challenges that span across the Star Wars universe, including Endor, Hoth, Tattooine and other levels. From there we have co-op support for this mode, either online or through two-player split-screen.
That brings us to the new partner system, where two players remain tethered as a co-op based team. These players will be able to watch each other’s backs in combat, as well as share power-ups and weapons when someone needs them the most. We haven’t seen this in action yet, but it sounds like a promising feature.
Although the gameplay footage was brief, it set an exciting tone for the finished product. Star Wars™ Battlefront™ features shooting action that’s wonderfully in-tone with the older games, while the presentation, backed by the Frostbite engine (the same tech behind Battlefield 4) and Dolby Atmos surround sound, should elevate the experience.
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Thankfully, the first piece of downloadable content for the game will be free, and it’s based on events that occur in the forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Titled The Battle of Jakku (it takes place after the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi), the content will be available in early December to all players, and those who pre-order the game receive it earlier, starting on November 1st.
Thus far, Star Wars Battlefront shows incredible promise by staying loyal to the theme of the original games while at the same time, presenting something new. Plus, the multiplayer and co-op options should make it stand out, even if you prefer to fight on the Dark Side.
Star Wars Battlefront will release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 17th.