The Versatile Iden Versio: Star Wars Battlefront II First Impressions

Girls on Games got the chance to to play the first three chapters of Star Wars Battlefront II’s campaign at an exclusive event in Montreal earlier this week. And boy, was it wonderful experience! For Battlefront II, three of EA’s divisions – DICE, Criterion and Motive, came together and each focused on a individual gameplay aspects to appeal to all type of gamers: multiplayer, arcade, and single-player campaign respectively.

Motive’s game director, Mark Thompson, described Battlefront II’s single-player campaign as “diving into an unfamiliar perspective that fans of the Star Wars franchise have yet to see.” In the series’ vast library of canon media, the stories told are often focused on what motivates the heroes, the ones we know will do what is right. But what if what is right to you, isn’t what is right to an audience who grew up rooting for the Rebel Alliance? What if you were raised to believe in the Empire? The goal of Battlefront II is to step across the line between good and evil.

The game follows Iden Versio (played by the talented Janina Gavankar). Versio is Commander of the Inferno Squad, a special forces commando unit of the Empire. She’s extremely versatile, excelling in most skills and a hard-ass leader and dutiful soldier to the Empire. What does this mean for players? Being the commander of a unique squad means having access to wide variety of different weapons and experiences that you wouldn’t get from playing a regular soldier.

The game opens with Versio is being questioned by Rebel leaders for information on the Empire. In the first couple of minutes of the game, you control Versio’s droid as it makes its way through air vents of a Rebel ship to rescue her. Once you make it into her cell (without alerting any guards), you take control of Versio herself. As you escape her cell, the ship is on high alert and you will have to fight your way through its halls with waves of guards hot on your trail. Playing on the easiest mode, it only took one or two shots to down enemies and I recommend using her droid to electrocute enemies that are out of reach to help speed up the process. There is no downtime between shooting and sending out the droid and the combination of the two made it easier to clear areas.

(via EA)

The basis of the game’s narrative takes place after the Battle of Endor; Empire troops on the moon excited to have finally defeated the Rebels when suddenly, the second Death Star explodes in space above them. That is the end of their celebration – the Empire has actually fallen. Versio is ordered to escape the planet but on her way to the airbase, you encounter several groups of Rebels who need to be taken out along the way. Endor is a beautifully designed area. In between fallen trees and hills, there are debris from the battle, which look really cool (and add to the badass factor) as you fight your way to escape.

Once you and your team reach the TIE fighters, you are greeted by a large group of Rebels who obviously do not plan on letting you get away with your getaway. While Versio calls for her teammates to leave her behind to fend off the Rebels herself, I secretly wished she would call them all back to give me a hand. The amount of grenades I saw during this instance was intense and I found myself dying quite a bit, but that is due solely to my own lack of skills in shooters. This part was definitely challenging, but thrilling.

(via EA)

This brings us to the first flight combat portion of the game – something that I hated in Battlefront I, so I was anxious to give it a go this time around and see what had changed. Once in the TIE fighter, Versio and the rest of her squad must make their way through a minefield of floating debris from destroyed Death Star to the Corvus all while battling Rebels. Again, I died a lot. This was definitely due to my lack of skills but nonetheless I felt like the controls greatly improved from the first installment. I found them very easy to control, I was just so focused on shooting ships that I was ignoring the floating debris. If you were comfortable with Battlefront I’s ship control you’lll find it a breeze this time around.

Once you defeat the Rebels, you board another ship. Here, Versio’s father, an admiral himself, informs her that the Emperor is dead and has left behind instructions on how to keep the Empire alive. It is clear from this scene that the rest of the single-player campaign will test Versio’s loyalty to the Empire starting with her next assignment on Vardus, her home planet.

Needless to say, I am incredibly excited to get my hands on Battlefront II. From what I’ve seen and played, this installment of the series will have incredible (and improved) gameplay as well as a compelling campaign. I am so excited to complete Iden Versio’s story which, as far as I can tell, can only go one of two ways: she comes to the good side or dies for treason. She is an incredibly strong and passionate character and I cannot wait to see how her story develops. Hurry up please, November 17th!