Star Wars Battlefront II is coming to Xbox One and PC this November, bringing new features and expanding the scope of the previous Battlefront. At E3, we played a pre-alpha build of the PC version's Galactic Assault multiplayer mode, and it looks and plays great.
In the press area of the EA Play event, EA and Dice helpfully had two huge circles of desktop PCs set up with a pre-alpha build of Star Wars Battlefront II. We got to participate in several games of Galactic Assault, always on the Assault on Theed map. This map dramatizes the invasion of the Droid Army on Naboo's capital city of Theed during the Star Wars prequel films. But don't worry, it's much more fun and exciting than the battle in the movie!
Galactic Assault is a large-scale, team-based multiplayer mode. We played on the side of the Battle Droids as they fought against the Clone Troopers. But before jumping into the fray in Battlefront II, players must select a class – a feature brought back from the original Battlefront games.
On the Battle Droid side, you have your choice of Assault, Heavy, Officer, and Specialist. Each of these classes has its own standard weapon as well as three class-specific abilities that make it excel at certain tasks in battle. My favorites are the Heavy and Specialist.
The Heavy can equip a shield or a heavy repeating blaster that will destroy any foe in seconds. Of course, the weapon counts down as soon as you activate it, so you'll want to make your shots count right from the get-go. The abilities recharge over time.
As for the Specialist, he can deploy trip mines or activate a power that reveals all nearby enemies. But the real fun in playing him simply comes from his sniper rifle. The sniper rifle can't fire too many quick blasts without overheating, but it's great for headshots and weakening enemies from afar.
The class selection screen is also where the reworked special characters come in. In the previous Battlefront, players had to seek out an item on the map in order to change into an iconic Star Wars character for a short time. In the new game, you earn a currency called Battle Points as you fight and complete objectives on the battlefield.
Once you accumulate enough Battle Points, you can opt to spend them on a special character whenever you respawn. Special characters cost different amounts of points based on their effectiveness. The 2,000-point Super Battle Droid is unlikely to survive nearly as long as the 5,000-point Boba Fett and Darth Maul (the Clone Troopers side gets heroes like Rey from The Force Awakens). The ability to choose your special character, and when to unleash it, works so much better than the system employed in the last game.
Assault on the Palace
The actual Galactic Assault mode takes place over several stages. When the Battle Droids first arrive, they're tasked with defending a hulking troop transport as it slowly progresses towards the Theed capitol building. At the same time, the Clone Troopers side can grab powerful Ion Disruptor weapons from around the map and use them to hurt the transport.
Kill enough Ion Disruptor carriers, and the transport will eventually reach the palace. Once there, it blasts the palace and creates an entry point for the droid army. The Battle Droids must then slip in and disable the palace security systems by interfacing with various terminals but without allowing interruptions from the enemy. Finally, the offensive team must climb the stairs to the palace's ornate throne room and capture it to win the match.
Better than the prequels
Even though we only got to try one Galactic Assault map in Battlefront II, it already plays significantly better than similar modes from the first game. Choosing the class that's just right for you makes it easier to find your place on the battlefield. The special characters are as fun to play as ever, but this time everybody gets a chance to play as them, as long as they're doing their part in the battle.
We still have lots more to see and learn about Star Wars Battlefront II before it launches on November 17 this year. The standard edition will cost $59.99 on Xbox One. The Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition will cost $79.99 and include an arsenal of upgrades, heroes from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and three days of early access to the game.
Are you ready for more large-scale Star Wars battles in Battlefront II? Let us know in the comments.
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