Beneath the hanging Tie-Fighters and Rebel Starships at the EA booth at gamescom sat a large amount of PCs with the latest version of the Star Wars Battlefront series. It was the first chance players in Europe had to get their hands on the game—and it did not disappoint.
Star Wars Battlefront lit the gaming world on fire when EA Sports announced the title back in E3 2014. The Battlefront series of games made by Pandemic and Lucasarts for the PS2, Xbox, and PC in the 2000s was a much beloved franchise.
EA was looking to remake the series and cash in on that nostalgic charm but really failed to deliver on what could have been a masterpiece. The end product was a mess that sapped the fun and enjoyment out of the original games. The matches themselves were unenjoyable. They were little more than repetitive slugfests, and the game as a whole felt like a money grab rather than a love letter to the fans.
In short, the game received a lot of negative feedback—something that EA and DICE have clearly been listening to. At E3 2017, EA delivered an impressive keynote talking about how it was looking to change the game heading into the sequel based off of feedback from the previous installment.
For starters, the team looked at things they could implement into the new game, such as space battles, fighting as droids and the republic which you couldn’t do in the original game, objective warfare, and free-DLC are just some of the few things that EA has revealed are coming to the new game since its reveal. There will also be a long-awaited single player campaign—something which the original game glaringly lacked.
All of these new features based off of existing game modes are melding together to create a bigger, better, and more entertaining experience that feels like a true successor. The game is finally starting to become something that older fans of the series can embrace.
At gamescom, EA showed off space battles for the first time, pitting two teams of 16 players against each other. One team had to defend their star destroyers by killing the opposing team’s players over 100 times, while the other tried to destroy vital choke points in order to win the map.
Space battles feel super responsive—the lightest touch on the joystick makes your spacecraft move, barrel roll, and dodge out of the way of enemy fighters. The controls themselves are easy to pick up with each different spacecraft having a unique set of abilities that match the ship’s design.
Spacecraft that are mainly used to destroy enemy fighters are equipped with homing missiles and a speed boost while bombers are slower and equipped to deal massive damage to objectives as well as having a healing ability to keep them in the fight for that much longer.
The gameplay itself is also very forgiving. When a player gets locked on by an enemy homing attack, they’re given all the information they need on where the missile is coming from. A missile locked onto you does not mean instant death if you are a great pilot.
The showmatch could preview the game’s main competitive mode if EA has any ambitions of taking the game to an esports stage in the future. Ships dodge, weave, and work together on a chaotic map. The mode is simple to learn and hard to master—and, of course, exhilarating to watch as a spectator.