Iden escapes after leaving countless Rebel bodies behind, and does so with intel about what’s about to occur – the climax of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi where The Emperor fails. The Rebels had a plan and succeeded in destroying the Death Star 2.0, the last great hope of the Empire alongside its leadership. Iden’s the type of character, while loyal, isn’t afraid of saying it as it is, even if it sounds treasonous.
The story of Star Wars Battlefront explores the gap between trilogies and from where it really begins on Endor, afterwards in Chapters 1 and 2, and beyond, players get a glimpse into what certain elements of the Empire did after the Rebellion “won” and how Palpatine’s influence lived on. It’s currently an era in the Star Wars timeline that remains mostly unexplored outside of the Aftermath trilogy of novels by Chuck Wendid but the Battlefront II does manage to include Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren at some point. It does so however, from the unique perspective of the Imperial side. It doesn’t paint the Empire as the “good guys” necessarily, but the narrative does shed light on their inner workings and to some extent, their line of thinking.
Chapter 1 sees players stretch their legs, so to speak, using longer ranged weapons and running through forests and larger areas of combat along its linear path. Chapter 2 however, will please starfighter pilots of the first game by bringing them into space for an epic battle. It may take a little time to master the controls in this segment, but it’s a lot of fun and straight-up gorgeous. These two missions are about the beginning of Operation: Cinder, acquiring and deploying superweapon-style experimental tech.
The gunplay and gameplay is generally the same as Battlefront 1 somewhat to the detriment of the campaign. Iden can take out soldiers while unarmed, but inexplicably cannot pick up their blasters, nor can she lay prone while sniping (or at any time). The Star Cards system from multiplayer, makes a return in their new form, and offer arcade-like rechargeable abilities and power-ups in the story mode as well. So, while the game’s story, sounds, environments, and visuals are authentically Star Wars, note that the gameplay is very much an arcade-like in style by design with the goals of letting players fulfill their Star Wars fantasies while also having the same gameplay features they’ll have in multiplayer. It’s a teaching ground for the other modes.
What we saw and played was polished and intriguing, and we can only hope the unrevealed story elements offer new experiences and locations with a plot we can get behind. In the first three segments and teases we saw of what comes next, Star Wars Battlefront paints the Empire as an over-the-top evil force and consistently failing, with Iden seemingly being its only competent officer. There needs to be more to it than the Empire continuing to just be bad and ruling through fear based on hurting the innocent. We suspect there could be some twists and turns, though we have no idea how Kylo and Luke factor in later. For the hour or two we let Iden Versio unleash though, she quickly proved to be a wonderful addition to the Star Wars universe and someone to be feared on the battlefront.
Stay tuned for our interview with single player game director Mark Thompson.
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