As someone who hated the first Battlefront reboot, I'm 100% on board with Star Wars Battlefront 2. It legitimately feels like the team sucked up all the negative critique the first game received and worked to make sure that would no longer be a problem moving forward. Don't let that fool you into thinking they've rehashed the game to be more like the classics though, but rather polished their original idea into an experience I put right up there alongside the original Battlefront games.
In our demo I played the Separatist army as we looked to lead an assault on Theed. Yes, the mode still moved like it was on rails like in the game prior, but while the objective was slowly advancing the battle progressed in a fluid way that made you feel like what was happening was more than just a slow progression of a siege. A lot of the credit for that goes towards the incentive of squad based battle.
Spawning with squad mates and following them into battle as opposed to going solo offers big rewards as points are accumulated towards getting advanced vehicles, troops, or the game changing heroes we've heard so much about. Sticking with a squad also allows for that cinematic quality of a big fight encounter that no entry in the series ever had. Put simply, it's much more satisfying to take a section of the city with 3 or 4 soldiers alongside you than it is trying to go Rambo and sneaking along the corners.
The Rambo portions are still possible, but you'll have to wait until you accumulate enough points to grab one of the many heroes available to you. Slashing through Clone Troopers like jelly is super satisfying as Darth Maul, and his multi character force choke ability makes you feel as though you're a God amongst men. In fact, and I hate saying this because I don't want him nerfed, but Maul did feel way more OP than some of the other heroes we saw in battle like Rey and Han Solo. That said whoever was playing Rey on the other team was just shredding our forces in the second phase of the assault, so I can't really diss her character all that much.
We were teased with a lot of customization for characters for cards and weapons, but there was only a limited amount of things you could do with the playthrough. I cycled through a couple things and noticed small changes, but nothing groundbreaking between switching guns. That said, I'll reserve my full judgement until I see how many weapons each class can obtain before I critique it too much.
The air battles, while hard as hell to navigate, are a blast. I took down three ships before I lost my sense of direction and took a nose dive straight into the ground. It's definitely something I could get with practice, but during the whole assault I only had the opportunity to take to the sky once. The main takeaway is that the space battles alone, while a great inclusion to land battles, are fun enough that the mechanic works as a standalone game mode that you can enjoy just as much as the main game.
Overall I was super impressed with what I played of this game, and I can't stress enough how much I disliked the first entry in this series. I'm glad DICE stuck to their new formula and shaped a game its audience will like while still maintaining the identity of the game for the folks who may have like the new direction the game went into. I'm not one to encourage pre-orders, but this game already looks primed to be one of the stand outs of 2017, and I can see the game having a strong community for years to come if they can make every battle as fun as the mode I played today. I can't wait to pick it up this fall.