A crimson blade tears through Rebel infantry. I know Vader’s coming, but nothing can prepare me for my Leia’s response. “What, they only sent you?” she snarks as a duel of wits begins. Finally, the experience I’ve been waiting for in Star Wars Battlefront II is here with The Age of Rebellion. For the first time since Solo was in theaters, the Galactic Civil War era actually has a substantial update.
After the lackluster Rise of Skywalker update, the Battlefront community has feared another anemic offering. Thankfully, The Age of Rebellion arrives with a whopping seven co-op maps, new reinforcements, new weapons, and substantial overhauls for two of the Rebel Alliance’s heroes. A lot of this content is familiar, but given a much deserved new lease on life.
Most of what’s here is directly imported from other game modes, but it’s nice to see these maps revitalized for co-op. They’re all solid, with Kessel and Jabba’s Palace feeling built for the mode. Past issues like the chokepoint cantina on Tatooine are avoided, vastly improving some maps. Players can finally experience the best of what these maps have to offer in one of DICE’s best co-op experiences to date.
At this point, the only way DICE might further enhance the mode would be to sprinkle in other objectives besides capturing command posts. Challenging enough for veterans and welcoming to newcomers, it’s a perfect way to get into the game. Despite the preceding rough patch, it’s hard not to expect more good things to come when Scarif and Age of Rebellion Supremacy arrive later in March.
Of the weapons added, the E-11D and T-21 easily steal the show, both offering a great new option for both Assault and Heavy. The Cycler Rifle and DL-18 on the other hand are fairly redundant weapons for Specialist and Officer players, only offering new possibilities after killing upwards of a hundred enemies to unlock unique attachments.
That’s the key issue with Age of Rebellion — for every stride forward, there’s something that doesn’t quite click. For example, Chewbacca’s bowcaster redesign is excellent, with an explosive blast option if he focuses his aim. Meanwhile, Princess Leia’s new thermal detonator ability and healing shield buff have essentially rolled every infantry class into one character, making her so powerful that it’s a challenge for even Darth Vader to contest her.
Leia’s always been a ton of fun to play — she’s been my main since launch — but when you’ve got three thermal detonators, a rapid-fire rifle, a burst fire pistol with a target-seeking alternate fire that can break a lightsaber block, and a healing shield generator that takes forever to be worn down, I’m not sure how she’s supposed to be considered balanced anymore. Her only weakness is that she doesn’t have a massive health pool, but given she can heal from killing opponents with all of her weaponry, she can tank plenty of hits if she stays on the move.
It’s not a question of if Leia will be nerfed, but when, something that can also be said for the new Ewok Hunter. That tiny fuzzball has an auto-aiming bow and arrow that does more damage when manually aimed, has a grenade that stuns enemies, and is damn near invisible on certain maps. He’s empowering to play as, but not nearly as enjoyable to fight. He’s also a third the height of any regular opponent, so he’ll infuriate anyone already tired of BB-8’s antics in the Age of Resistance era.
That all said, the only new addition that truly doesn’t click is the ISB Agent. She’s essentially a hybrid of the Officer and Assault classes, able to heal allies, buff herself to run faster, scan for enemies, and fire a charged blast from one of her two pistols. She doesn’t have a special grenade or melee function, nor do most of her abilities dramatically alter the flow of battle besides providing support in clutch moments like the standard Officer class. Watching her Naruto run across the battlefield is hilarious, but that’s about all she’s got.
Overall, despite some growing pains, The Age of Rebellion is a solid update. Several nerfs and buffs should iron out the majority of the issues, while the joy of playing as classic heroes like Luke, Lando, Leia, and Chewbacca more than makes up for the wait till then. Where once the only way to experience these heroes and their era was in two of the game’s most competitive and unwelcoming modes at launch, you can finally join the Galactic Civil War on your own terms. Once the era becomes playable in Supremacy and Instant Action, Battlefront II will finally capture the experience of classic Battlefront II with modern sensibilities. It’s been a journey, but Battlefront II’s redemption is almost complete.