Long-time video game players may remember the 2004 LucasArts game Star Wars Battlefront. Released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Windows platforms, its launch coincided with the Star Wars trilogy. Its sequel, Star Wars Battlefront II, appeared a year later.
A decade later, in 2015, video game giant Electronic Arts revived the franchise with a rebooted Star Wars Battlefront. Last month, it followed that up by releasing the new Star Wars Battlefront II, just in time to coincide with The Last Jedi movie (opening in cinemas here tomorrow), the second instalment of the current Star Wars trilogy.
The 2015 Star Wars Battlefront, a multiplayer-focused game, was visually breathtaking. But many gamers wanted a single player campaign experience. Their wish was fulfilled when Battlefront II was unveiled at video game convention E3 in June, alongside the announcement that seasonal content will be provided at no additional charge.
Battlefront II's single-player campaign puts you in the boots of Iden Versio, an elite Imperial special forces officer. Along with two other members, she is deployed for covert missions assigned by her father, a high-ranking admiral. The game lets you play the campaign in either the first or third person view, which is a welcomed option.
In the single-player campaign, you also get to play familiar characters such as Princess Leia, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Everything unfolds in a five-hour experience. The good news is the first season of downloadable content is due for release today and will include Finn and Captain Phasma.
As for the game's multiplayer gameplay, developer DICE has raised the bar on that as well. Most of the battles are epic, with much attention being paid to the environment, troopers and vehicles. There are various modes, but I reckon Galactic Assault, which allows up to 40 players to participate in one massive battle, will get the most attention. Every mission feels like a part of a Star Wars action sequence as in the movies. The sight and sound of multi-coloured blasters never get old, while the hum and swing of lightsabers in the distance make you cower or cheer, depending on whose side they belong to.
Electronic Arts has applied the popular card-based upgrade system found in the Fifa games to character progression here. Each assault trooper, tactical officer or specialist has a unique loadout of upgradeable weapons and abilities. And as you play, the game will reward you with loot crates or credits to purchase more.
PRICE: From $69.90 (PS4, the version tested; XBox One, PC)
GENRE: Adventure shooter
These loot crates unlock items at random. Hence, progression speed will differ for different players even if they clock the same number of hours. The accumulated credits can be used to unlock your favourite personas such as Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and others. So each player's playthrough journey is unique.
If you are a Star Wars fan looking to get a headstart with enhancements and upgrades, the Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition is worth checking out as it comes with many loot crates.
• Nizam Mohd is a freelance writer.
• Verdict: Star Wars Battlefront II is like a young padawan - it needs time to get better but there is much potential within.