I’m not that interested in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 when it comes to the FPS gameplay, but there is one aspect of the game that piqued my interest: Starfighter Assault. As a huge fan of the X-Wing and Tie-Fighter games, the thought of getting back in the cockpit and joining large space battles is really appealing.
The Star Wars: Battlefront 2 beta gives a small taste of what’s to some with the Starfighter Assault mode, offering a single scenario about attacking the Fondor Imperial Shipyard. The Imperials have to defend the yard from the Rebel assault, and both sides are provided with three classes of fighters; the Fighter, Interceptor or Bomber. Assuming you have accrued enough points, there are also hero ships to pilot.
Each ship also comes with abilities such as torpedoes, afterburner, a laser barrage, repair droid, EMP and more, What you get depends on the type of ship selected, and they’re activated at the push of a button.
Playing on a PC there’s the option to go with the keyboard controls or shove in a controller. The controls are probably the main issues with Starfighter Assault. I am completely rubbish flying a fast-paced ship with a keyboard and mouse. Getting the sensitivity right is a right pain in the backside. The Steam controller is no good here, so shoving in a PS or Xbox controller is the best option. That said, playing a space game with a controller also feels a bit crap. I have a HOTAS joystick, and I would have loved to activate that, but there’s no support for it in Star Wars: Battlefront 2. Shame.
The space combat is extremely quick. Perhaps a little too quick at times. For the first hour, I was literally lasting 30 seconds before being picked off. Because the combat is so rapid, you need to be completely aware of the environment at all times. The shipyard is quite large and there are all kinds of obstacles to avoid. There are tunnels you can fly through, large radar dishes, a huge Star Destroyer and assaulting Corvettes. It’s pretty mental, and only gets more frantic as the mission progresses.
Throughout the mission, there are multiple objectives for each side and, once an objective is complete, there’s a new one to undertake. Sticking to the objective will give you bonus battle points, so there’s an incentive to not just fly around shooting stuff. This mission also gets tricky when you have to fly inside the shipyard to take out the shield projectors. Many deaths were enjoyed while attempting this.
While I would love to see XvT make a return with proper strategic missions and more ship systems, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 at least has something for those Star Wars fans looking to enjoy some space combat. With only one mission in the beta it’s hard to tell how engaging this will be long-term, but it’s not a bad effort from DICE based on the snippet included in the beta.