Star Wars Battlefront 2 Hands-On Impressions at EGX 2017

Does Star Wars Battlefront 2 improve on it’s predecessor? Small Screen went to EGX 2017 to find out.

At EGX 2017, the playable demo for Battlefront 2 was a map set on Theed, with the Separatists fighting the Clone troopers. Theed looked more vibrant and colourful than anything we saw on Battlefront 1, in part because the Original Trilogy era  necessitated more muted colours in its maps, but also because DICE have really stepped up their game with the sequel and produced their best Star Wars map yet.

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The game mode we played mixed a variety of objectives. Playing as the Battle droids, we first had to escort a tank through the streets of Theed. There were a couple of flanking routes if you wanted to try and avoid combat and take a more stealthy approach, but the map is designed so that everyone eventually converges in the middle for big set-piece battles.

We succeeded in escorting a tank, and ended up at the staircase to the Theed Royal Palace, where we then had to hack into two terminals on opposite wings of the building and guard them so that the Clone troopers couldn’t stop us. There was much more close combat here and we seemed to have the advantage as we had a good hold, but we were outmatched in the next area as we had to climb a huge sprawling staircase where the defenders had the high ground. We didn’t complete this objective so I’m not sure if anything would have happened next, but the map is great fun to play and Naboo truly looks like it did in the movies.

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A big change in the playable demo from the base game is that you can no longer completely customise your class. You choose from 4 or 5 set classes, much like in the original game, and cannot change the weapon loadout to whatever you desire. Star Cards do still exist and I believe there will be some customisation here, though I get the feeling that each class will have different Star Cards at their disposal. I played a Droid Heavy Trooper which gave me a shield that I could shoot through, which is a huge upgrade on the personal shield that was available in the first game. Charges no longer exist, and all three Star Cards are on cooldown.

The other big change is the way that pickups and heroes work in the game. Pickup icons are gone from the game, and instead, you earn points through playing the objective or getting kills. You can then spend these points on heroes among other things such as super battle droids and troop transports. Darth Maul cost 5000 points in the demo, but it didn’t take long to gain those points. Only one person can play Darth Maul at the time though, so if you want to play a hero you’ve got to rack up those points fast. Someone was Boba Fett while I was playing Maul though I believe, so you can have multiple heroes on the field at any one time.

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Heroes function much in the same way that they used to, dominant forces on the battlefront, with the two big changes. The first is that heroes take a lot more damage than they used to, so a co-ordinated, concentrated team effort on the enemy hero will take them down fairly quickly. The other change is that heroes now have passive health regeneration outside of combat, so if your team doesn’t finish off the kill, they can retreat and regain their health.

I didn’t get the chance to try out any other heroes so it may be the case that Maul is the only hero with passive healing, but it would make sense for heroes to have passive healing across the board because of how quickly they can die in a gunfight. This being said, I was able to keep playing as Maul for a solid 5-10 minutes by playing smart and not just running into a room full of enemies.

If DICE wanted everybody to get a chance at playing the heroes then it might make sense to take away the passive healing so that more people to get a chance to play the heroes, but it would take away the epic feel of the heroes if they died extremely quickly and everyone was just cycling through them.

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Elsewhere, there have been changes to the partner system. Players are now sorted into squads of 4, and get bonus points for staying near their squad and playing objectives together. This will hopefully mean we see a lot more co-ordinated teamwork in Battlefront 2, and this is a very welcome change for parties of friends who want to play together, but who often had one person left out without a partner in the first game. 

Overall, Star Wars Battlefront 2 is shaping up to be the fantastic game that Star Wars fans hoped Battlefront would be. Battlefront 2 will have maps from across all eras, all DLC maps will be free so as not to split the playerbase, and you can even play new trilogy heroes on old trilogy maps (for example, Rey is one of the playable heroes for the Clone troopers on Naboo). With compelling multiplayer and an exciting-looking campaign to boot, the Force is looking very strong with this one.

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