During Electronic Arts’ E3 2017 press conference, the company waited until the last 30 minutes to reveal online multiplayer gameplay in the upcoming game Star Wars Battlefront II. The scene: 20 players serving for the Separatists and 20 for the Galactic Republic, battling for control over the Theed Royal Palace on Naboo. The battle spanned three stages, with the Separatists first plowing through the Clone Army on the open streets of Theed, then fighting to gain access to the palace in the second stage. The showdown proved successful for the Separatists as they cleared out the Clone Army.
The battle, called Assault on Theed, was epic to say the least, with players both on the ground and in the air. On the ground, we saw the AAT-1 Hover Tank (Separatists), the Multi-Troop Transport (Separatists), and the AT-RT used by the Republic. In the air, players took control of the V-Wing (Republic), the N-1 Starfighter (Separatists), and the Vulture Droid (Separatists).
In the first stage, the Separatists had to push back the Galactic Republic on the streets of Theed so that the MTT and AAT-1 could reach the palace front doors. In one scene, we saw the hover tank enter siege mode, which locks the vehicle down into one position, but boosts its firepower so it can do more damage.
The first stage was complicated given the air support. While players were fighting each other using various weapons on the ground, they were having to avoid attacks from the sky, which would wipe out an entire group with one hit. Meanwhile, these assaulting vehicles in the air were both on offensive and defensive mode to make sure the Separatists do or do not (there is not try) reach the palace, depending on the team. All the while, these 40 players were earning Battle Points as they play
Battle Points can be used to purchase weapons, vehicles, special characters, heroes, and so on. This system replaces the pickup tokens provided in the original Battlefront game. For example, once the battle moved into the second stage, players began to use the B2 Super Battle Droid, Darth Maul, Boba Fett, Rey, and even our favorite scoundrel himself, Han Solo.
For the record, Darth Maul is just what you would expect: a deadly two-bladed force with a spin attack, choke hold, and a “furious throw” ability. Ray has a special mind trick that confuses opponents, and Boba Fett has a few new abilities up his sleeve (gloves) as well.
Note that the B2 Super Battle Droid’s specialty is to consistently attack thanks to a unique cooling system. It has a high durability, but only a medium range of fire. Another special class is the “death from above” Clone Jump Trooper, which has the much-loved jump jets from the original Battlefront, and joins Boba Fett on the backpack-wearing roster.
As for player classes, we first saw the Assault class, which is considered the best entry for gamers new to the Star Wars Battlefront arena. They’re the frontline flanker attacker, providing the typical run-and-gun action. However, the Assault Class’ signature ability is a shotgun for going in and clearing out a batch of opponents rather quickly.
We also saw the AT-RT in action, which is extremely quick on foot (like a chicken, honestly) and has an Ion charge ability for doing heavy damage. This could become troublesome if the Clone Army manages to pull out three of these walking vehicles to quickly exterminate the Separatists like fleeing bugs in the light. The drawback is that they’re not enclosed, so expect a quick death if you’re knocked off in a firefight.
Also shown during gameplay was the Officer, which serves as a support class. The Officer can buff up the player’s stats as well as his/her teammates, such as extra health for pushing through the oppression faster. The Officer can also use a turret that’s placed on the ground to mow down the enemy in waves. Meanwhile, the Specialist class is capable of deploying various traps (trip mine, etc) in addition to wielding a sniper-type weapon.
Along with the Assualt on Theed campaign demo, Electronic Arts said that Star Wars: The Last Jedi content will be free for Battlefront II owners after the movie hits theaters. The company said Finn and Captain Phasma will be playable characters in free downloadable content for Battlefront II this holiday season.
What’s important to note here is that Electronic Arts set out to address all the complaints stemming from the 2015 Star Wars Battlefront. That meant bringing in some of the best Battlefront players to help shape the sequels’ outcome. This move led to revamped gameplay, revamped weapons, and ripping out the token-based system for Battle Points. If the Assault on Theed demonstration is any sign of things to come, Star Wars Battlefront II will be an epic experience for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC on November 17.
Until then, everything you need to know about the game can be found here.
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