The re-introduction of Star Wars Battlefront in 2015 was a refreshing splash of nostalgia. Taking its name from the much beloved Star Wars Battlefront games for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC, EA and DICE's new Star Wars Battlefront made changes modern in execution, but old school in intent. The final product would be something people liked well enough, but there was definite room for improvement.
Star Wars Battlefront II’s multiplayer beta, live all last week and setting the internet on fire, looks to wholly be an improvement on EA's first Star Wars Battlefront reboot attempt in every way, thanks to fully embracing the rich design history of the series.
The best change in Battlefront II is actually a throwback to, well, the last Battlefront II. The original multiplayer design put two teams of players against one another in massive conflicts, where players could choose among a smattering of different classes to diversify your squad. Combined with ride-able vehicles and playable hero characters from the movies, the original Battlefront II’s multiplayer had all the necessary features to become a well-remembered triumph in Star Wars video game history. EA and DICE are taking great steps to make sure that history repeats itself this November.
The classes do a lot to add tactical depth to the ever-changing objectives in the beta’s big siege scenario. The assault class is perfectly designed for transitioning from mid range to close range firefights often, like you’ll be doing while running through the side streets of Theed while invading the Royal Palace. Specialists have the long ranged capabilities to clear the wide open streets that the Trade Federation is forcing their siege weapon down. Heavies can shield your squad from oncoming fire by taking point and activating their shields. Officers can provide the squad support in numerous ways, both directly and indirectly. They all add their own sort of flavor and advantages to the landscape of battle, and it a well appreciated return to form.
When spawning into a game, you can potentially do so in a small squad of up to three more people. This little squad of yours doesn’t really change your overall goals, but I found that working together with them is the best way to maximize earning the game’s new currency, Battle Points.
Battle points comes to you in a number of ways. Sticking to objectives and scoring kills and assists (or even simply damaging an enemy) are the most straightforward ways, while Officers and everyone in proximity to them gain bonus victory points passively by simply existing. When doing all of these things with your squad, you gain even more points. Considering what Battle Points grant you, scheming on how to earn them quickly is an acceptable strategy.
Much of what you used to gain access to via pick-ups in 2015’s Battlefront you can now buy mid-match via Battle Points. Thankfully, there is no longer any need for mad sprints across the map to try and become a hero character. The better you do in game, the faster you’ll get to fill the dusty boots of Boba Fett or scramble an A Wing. This adds a much needed sense of focus and purpose during any given round. You still have something to work for if you get boxed out of a hero choice.
On top of the expanded collection of special characters and vehicles to choose from, each side also has access to special classes of troops. They are slightly more powerful than your standard classes, often have unique access to weapons and equipment like jet packs and rocket launchers, and aren’t limited by field allowances like the vehicles and heroes are. Another victory for tactical depth.
On top of having all of these new classes you fiddle with, there are a few ways to further customize them to make them your own. As with the previous game, weapons and equipment can swapped to change your capabilities. But now, some equipment can be further customized, adding zoom range or changing the damage it does to particular types of enemies in the form of weapon mods.
Star Cards make their return from the last game, too. They are all class-specific, and can be equipped to further alter your classes capabilities. Star Card alterations seem to be more dramatic than simple weapon augments, though. They come in two forms, ones that boost your abilities, and ones that change them. These exist for everything, from standard troops to heroes to starfighters. Boba Fett is deadly as is, but with the proper card he will take reduced damage whenever he jetpacks around or uses his Rocket Barrage.
There is a head-spinning amount of variables each character has at their disposal, but you’ll have to be ready to play a lot to get the most out of it. Equipment and Star Cards are only available in loot crates, which are purchasable with both in-game currency and real money. Also available in crates are spare parts, which is a resource used to craft cards, a la dust in Hearthstone.
When Star Wars Battlefront II launches November 17, EA may find that they have real magic here. For more information about the classes, vehicles and heroes included in the upcoming game, check out the Star Wars Battlefront wiki.
Jarrett shares his love of video games and geek culture through feature articles on Gamepedia. He prides himself on his deep attraction to Japanese beat-em ups and his god-like Bushido Blade talents.