Star Wars Battlefront II
Star Wars Battlefront fans were incredulous that there wasn't a single-player campaign in the first title, but EA is addressing that with this November's sequel. We got our hands on an early mission in the game with protagonist Imperial special forces commander Iden Versio.
Versio is picked up after the Battle of Endor and the death of the Emperor aboard the Star Destroyer under the command of her father. It's a brisk reunion, however, as he has a special mission for her and her Inferno Squadron unit. The Emperor may be dead, but he's developed a contingency plan called Operation: Cinder. His messages are conveyed via holograms projected by special sentinel droids, and Versio's father is one of the privileged few entrusted with the Emperor's posthumous plans to see the Rebellion destroyed.
What's very clear in this cutscene is the Frostbite engine's incredible graphical detail. Iden's face carries very natural expressions, and it's important things like this that could aid her portrayal as a protagonist and help players become sympathetic to her story.
But before Iden can start Operation: Cinder, Rebel forces surprise attack her location at the shipyard at Fondor. Iden – an excellent pilot – takes to her TIE fighter to repulse the Rebels. EA studio Criterion (Burnout) is in charge of revamping the series' vehicular combat, and one of the striking things about the ships is that the left analog now controls evasive maneuvers like rolls versus the d-pad in the last game. The extra control feels good, and makes Iden's fighter feel like a nimble TIE should.
Overall, the speed of the TIE itself seems on the slow side, although pressing L1 and R1 together activates a speed boost special ability. The TIE also has a homing missile (R1 to lock and R1 again to fire) and amplified cannon damage (L1), all of these are on cooldowns.
Iden takes out a corvette, targets random X-Wings, and protects her squad mates as they come in danger. She notices that a Rebel cruiser is prepping its ion cannons, meaning they plan to capture a star destroyer. Iden quickly formulates a plan – she's going to board the ship and take out those cannons herself. She flies her TIE into the ship's hanger, dispatches some Rebel personnel and X-Wings (in a somewhat staged sequence), and lands. Previous Battlefront have had this kind of ship-to-ground combat action before, but the interior of this Rebel cruiser is obviously larger than ever.
Once on foot, she encounters clusters of Rebel resistance, but her droid drone electrocutes a few of them and opens some doors for Iden. As she approaches the area where the cannons are housed, she stealth kills a few unaware soldiers and later on dispatches larger groups rushing in with thermal detonators. Your loadout can be tweaked (and your droid can have other abilities), but the demo featured the detonator, a one-use Thermal imploder, and your droid. The cooldown timers seemed to refresh at a good clip, perhaps quicker than in the last game.
Iden takes out the three cannons while also taking care of the Rebel soldiers coming into the area, but before she can escape, a burnt-out blockade runner crashes into the side of the cruiser, sucking Iden out and leaving her fate an unknown until the next chapter of the campaign.