While it was announced just a week ago, we just got a chance to check out the new Imperial Agent class from The Old Republic in action. The new class can be looked at as a strategic assassin type of character, laying traps and using guile to take down enemies. The agent’s storyline gives players a view of the underbelly of the Imperial side; they live and work in the shadows and carry out the black-ops missions that may be too dirty for other classes. The Smuggler (on the Republic side) has a similar flavor, but the parallels don’t stop there. The Imperial Agent also utilizes a cover mechanic in battle and is proficient with ranged weapons.

In our short demo of this new class, we saw some of the ranged battle skills that are available to the Imperial Agent. While infiltrating a factory on the planet Hutta, the agent pulled out a powerful sniper rifle and quietly took down a few enemies from behind cover. In areas without any cover, the agent can use a stealth unit to escape detection and sneak up to silently take out enemies with a blade at close range.

We also saw other tools in the agent’s arsenal, like the probe and a few special darts. The sleeping dart puts an enemy into a quick slumber, which gives players ample time for a charge attack or to focus on another enemy. The poison darts do damage over time attack, removing a significant amount of health while you blast away with another weapon. The probe, on the other hand, can be thrown toward your target, where it will hover until you start doing damage…at which point it explodes.

The Imperial Agent seems like a good class choice for players who enjoy preparing for a fight. Instead of charging into a fight with a lightsaber blazing, the agent’s style of play seems to focus on setting traps, exploiting weaknesses, and controlling the flow of battle. It looks like fun, so maybe the world of The Old Republic won’t be populated solely by Jedi when it hits shelves…though LucasArts and BioWare still haven’t announced a release date.