STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II / NEED FOR SPEED PAYBACK [Hands-On Impressions]: EA Play!
E3 is upon us! It’s an exciting time for nerds around the world. I was fortunate enough to spend some time playing Star Wars: Battlefront II’s multiplayer during this year’s EA Play, which, btw, was a great event despite horrendous lines, having to pay for your own food/drinks, and limited swag. At least there was Nas. To no surprise, no game had longer lines than BF2. While the first Battlefront felt incomplete in more ways than one, I definitely can’t say the same in regards to Battlefront II. This sequel has redeemed the series by presenting itself on a much larger, polished scale; spanning over the course of three eras. Players are able to play the game through the Empire’s point of view.
The demo began in a galactic assault match. There are four classes to choose from: Assault, Heavy, Officer, and Specialist. Assault is for a more fast-paced playthrough. Heavy brings more firepower to the field, but lacks agility. Officers act as more of a buffer, whereas the Specialists snipe and lay traps. A Battlepoints system has also been introduced, where players earn points through combat, and can spend them to acquire other playable characters/heroes, jet fighters, and ships.
I joined 19 other Stormtroopers as we attempted to escort a transport through Theed, appreciatedly well-designed. Whether you’re the type to use a stealthier approach, or go in guns-blazing, there’s plenty of options for you in Theed. The planet incorporates a balance of open courtyards and back alleyways for players to get to the objective, plus Theed’s aesthetic is downright gorgeous with intricate architecture and vibrant color scheme.
It was when my team got pushed back to the throne room, that things started getting a bit more hectic. Our “final stand”, so to speak! A much more fast-paced, close quarters gameplay ensued with heroes and villains all over. Knowledge of the map is definitely key in your team’s success. Overall, I was extremely pleased with Battlefront 2’s multiplayer. It felt like the Battlefront game we were promised to begin with. The Battlepoints system was smart, seeing that players can earn more points depending on their skill in combat. While I was only able to play through one match — thank you long AF lines — I remain optimistic for the game’s launch. 4.5/5 Bibles.
Unless you want to count sports titles, these two were the big ones available to play at EA PLAY. But the GHG GOTY hype was real, where lines for a game almost a year old were twice as long as this brand spanking new racer. Uh-huh — the Battlefield 1: In the Name of the Tsar expansion had the second biggest line at the 3-day event, with another GHG GOTY runner-up Titanfall 2‘s presence not too far behind (although having the one and only T-shirt give-away at EA Play certainly helps). That said, peeps were missing out with this one!
Maybe the best thing about the Need For Speed: Payback demo I got to play this weekend were the controls. It helped I got to use my trusty Xbox One controller, yet steering around the Death Valleyesque landscapes was smooth as silk. From what I gather lurking around the menu options, racers will have five unique and fully customizable cars to choose from — Race, Drift, Off-Road, Drag and Runner. Things should get even more interesting the faster and wackier your ride gets.
The mission I played went about 10-minutes, or so… (OK, so 7 + 3-minutes of crashes/fails). Nitrous provided surprising speeds to Burnout levels a.k.a fast AF, as you can use this B button/weapon to floor enemy whips on your way to obtain your goals — in this case, catching up to and drifting behind an erratic semi. Maybe the finest moment in the demo was its second third, flying by all the flaming rubble in the road and doing the damn thing to avoid it at all cost. While some might by critical of the Ghost Games title’s simplicity, that’s actually what has me very intrigued. We already have our technical racing series in Forza and Gran Turismo, so why not give us something more Hollywood, more Burnout, more Fast & Furious? NFSP could make for a nice alternative to the hardcore racing game scene this fall. 3.75/5 Bibles.