With the Galactic Civil War era finally playable in co-op with the Star Wars Battlefront II Age of Rebellion update, every era’s heroes can be easily experimented with, free of the pressure of competitive multiplayer. Rather than simply rendering the iconic characters with massive health bars and slapping some overpowered abilities on for good measure, DICE has truly captured the essence of these characters. It’s to the point that even if you aren’t keen on them, you have to appreciate how elegantly DICE gets you into character.
Take Han Solo for instance — his move set initially seems anemic. He can shoulder charge, throw a remote bomb, and charge his blaster for a few seconds of rapid fire. There’s also the optional modifier card that makes every headshot he lands earn him a brief window where his shots don’t generate heat. He doesn’t have the most health, his gun isn’t anything fancy, and he so clearly is the least dignified member of the Rebellion’s A-team. Which, to be fair, is accurate.
Han knows he’s out of his league, contending with Sith Lords and legendary bounty hunters. He relies entirely on his wits, allies, and dead aim to survive. His explosives and gun mod buy him a brief breather, but misusing them leaves him scrambling for another option. His blaster’s deadly accurate, so if you can keep a chain of headshots going, you’ll never have to worry about overheating. However, Solo’s luck is also fickle, so the second you start missing your shots, your hot streak comes to a screeching halt. Even his shoulder charge is a perfect embodiment of his famous berserker chase from A New Hope, at times leaving you running into an even worse situation just like he did in that original scene.
Yet, for all his foolhardy bravado and risky tactics, he’s reliable in Battlefront II. His ability set applies to almost every situation and beautifully complements the abilities of Lando and Chewbacca. Chewbacca draws fire away so that Han can focus on blasting, while Lando’s diversions and rapid lock-on buy them room to maneuver. They organically feel like partners who’ve worked together for years. That’s astounding to see in action. Then there’s the interplay between Leia and Han, with Leia’s Rambo-esque abilities giving him someone to try and one-up. Just like with their bickering, each of them is trying to get a word in and prove their point amid the chaos. It’s excellent design.
And this applies to every hero. Sometimes it’s even redeeming, like how you can finally buy the idea that Captain Phasma is intimidating due to her stalwart tank build, unyielding blaster rifle, and a disruptive ability set that can crush even Jedi opponents with ease. Iden Versio’s adaptable framework mimics Han’s but grants her more esoteric weaponry that evolves to fit the situation, for when she needs to advance, ambush, snipe, or unleash hell with a flurry of blaster bolts.
Then there are characters like Rey in Star Wars Battlefront II who rely heavily on evasive tactics and crude maneuvers to compensate for their lack of refined skills. Luke may be destructively devastating, but his move set isn’t really that of a Jedi Knight, but more like that of a wrecking ball. He’s a Jedi trained to fight a war, so the Force is nothing more than a weapon in his hands, whereas it aids allies in Yoda’s hands or weakens foes when cutting through clones as Count Dooku.
The perfect capstone enveloping you in each persona is each character’s animations. Dialogue barks are one thing, but you can feel the barbarous brutality in every cleaving swing of General Grievous’ blades. BB-8 rolls and hops with the enthusiasm of an excited child, while Bossk runs like he’s about to pounce and dig his razor-sharp teeth into any opponents that get in his way.
We’ve seen this kind of personality-driven presentation in the likes of Overwatch before, but like Valorant, Star Wars Battlefront II melds these elements into an otherwise more traditional competitive multiplayer landscape. Rather than being the sole focus, it’s just one part of a greater tapestry selling you the fantasy of being in a Star Wars adventure. With co-op ensuring more players than ever can finally get their feet wet long enough to understand how to play each hero and villain to their fullest, it’s a marvelous time to be playing Battlefront II. And if you’re stuck at home and need to pass the time, there are worse ways than getting into the boots of Star Wars’ finest.