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EGX | Hands On: Star Wars Battlefront II
Emma Kent gets hands on with DICE's latest Star Wars instalment, Battlefront II, to find out whether the hype measures up to reality
Amongst the many booths at EGX, there was one game that beckoned to me over all others. Secretively enclosed behind dark walls, ominous Storm Trooper murals and a long queue, lay the preview for the hugely anticipated Star Wars Battlefront II. Having enjoyed the previous game by developers DICE, I was eager to see how Battlefront II had improved on its predecessor. Most importantly, I wanted to kick ass in a galaxy far far away, and thankfully I was not disappointed.
When the game began, we were first met with a beautiful sweeping shot of the city of Theed on Naboo. I was stunned by the remarkable quality of the game's visuals, which really brought Theed's glistening domes and elegant architecture to life. The beauty of the visuals made the action feel almost cinematic in nature, contributing to the epic experience of the battle.
It soon became clear, however, that Battlefront II is more than just a pretty face. Playing as the Separatists, our team escorted a tank to the gates of the palace, blowing open the doors to begin a final fight against Clone troopers in the throne room. The level was varied and well-designed, beginning with open courtyard areas before funnelling the action into a frenzied close-quarters finale. By late game, many players had accumulated enough battle points to become Heroes such as Rey and Darth Maul, which only added to the intensity. I myself saved up to be Boba Fett, which was well worth the wait just for the experience of flying around the throne room blasting the Clone troopers below.
Unlike its predecessor, Battlefront II made me feel like part of a team during the fighting, which was a welcome development. Re-spawns occurred in waves so you could follow your teammates into battle, allowing you to watch their backs and overpower enemies with sheer numbers. This came with a bonus of additional points if you stayed with your team, thereby providing an enticing reward to encourage cooperation in the field.
The new class system was also intriguing, consisting of four main classes (Assault, Heavy, Officer and Specialist) which all had unique abilities. Officers, for instance, provided team buffs, while Specialists were snipers who could also lay trip mines. This allowed for tactical changes mid-battle and great variety in the gameplay.
Although Battlefront II had many great features, there were still a few issues that came to my attention. One of these was the way in which the battle seemed to end too abruptly, with little explanation as to how we lost. A more obvious information feed or voiceover would have helped to relay battle information to the player. Another issue was that the inclusion of some Heroes, particularly Rey and Han Solo, jarred with the setting of the battle and broke my immersion. While it was somewhat entertaining watching Darth Maul destroy Rey, ultimately it felt just a little bit weird.
These problems, however, remain only small flaws in what is otherwise an extremely promising game. At its core, Battlefront II's multiplayer mode is a fun, immersive and exhilarating experience and I await the full release in November with great expectation, and a large dent in my wallet.
Written By Emma Kent