Star Wars Battlefront is a game that showed real promise but was massively let down by a publisher who was out to make a quick buck. The game absolutely nailed the look and feel of the Star Wars universe. However, the gameplay was shallow, and there was a real dearth of content. The lack of content was corrected by DLC, but you had to pay for that and just felt like a complete money-grab. EA and DICE are going out of their way to correct that this time with the sequel featuring a full singleplayer campaign, frantic space battles, and a decent number of multiplayer maps at launch. What’s more the DLC for the game will be free to everyone for at least the first 12 months.
The demo on display at EGX was the same level featured in the E3 2017 and Gamescom demos. Set on Naboo, from Episode I, it was Separatists vs. Clonetroopers. As a Clonetrooper we were tasked with stopping the Separatist troop transport from moving towards a temple. You can choose between being a standard Clonetrooper, a Heavy Trooper, an Officer, or a Specialist. I started off with the standard configuration. He wielded a decent rifle that was good for short-medium range combat and some useful grenades. I set off to try and protect our objective and was met with stiff resistance. Moments after getting my first kill I was greeted with two droids turning the corner and gaining revenge for their lost colleague.
On the respawn, I decided to give the Heavy Trooper a play. This character has a spray and pray style gun, but he also has a shield in place of grenades. This extra protection means that your team can stack up behind you and provide a hail of blaster-fire while your circular projected shield provides a decent layer of cover. In the open areas that the game starts in, this isn’t the most useful ability, however in the latter areas when you’re inside the temple it becomes a real game changer. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for our opponents to force their way into the Temple.
It’s around this time that people really started using their battle points to unlock more powerful characters. Unlike the previous game where there was a mad rush every game to pick up the special tokens that unlocked the super characters. Every positive thing you do will add to your battle points. Just being near your squad will earn you points. Score a hit on an enemy, and you will earn points, killing them will grant you a load more. You can then cash these battle points in so you can respawn as a walker, spaceship, jump-jet trooper, or a hero character like Han Solo or Darth Maul.
Speaking of that deadly, horned, Lord of the Sith. One of the players on the opposing team had been saving up their battle points, and once the fighting entered the temple, he unleashed him. It’s one thing to face off against another character blasting at you from across the room, it’s another to see Darth Maul spinning his double-ended lightsaber and flipping towards you. It really is one of those heart-in-the-mouth moments that you can get in a really good game. With the acrobatic Sith unleashed, it didn’t take our opponents long to capture the remaining points and the game was soon over.
My disappointment at losing was tempered by a couple of things. First of all, the game looks absolutely gorgeous. I played the game on a PlayStation 4 Pro in 4K, and the visuals were crisp, bright, and made Naboo look better than it does in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The draw distance is impressive, the textures look realistic, and there’s some great layout design. The other thing that tempered my disappointment was that I kept going back to see who won other matches. Whenever I saw people coming out of the demo, I would try and ask someone which team won. I managed to ask about ten other matches, and every one of them had the same result. Whether the issue is that there’s something that we all missed where we’re coming in as beginners or if the game needs more balancing, I don’t know. What I do know is that for over 250 people to have the same experience, that’s the experience that is there.
Despite this, I am more excited than ever to get my hands on the full game. With the gameplay and visuals being so good, I can’t wait to try out everything that will be available in the game. The fact that there is now a full singleplayer campaign just makes me even happier. Personally, I will be picking the game up on day one and can’t wait to dive in.