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When Star Wars: Battlefront II debuts on November 17, a lot of people are going to go straight to multiplayer. And I’ll bet that one of the most popular multiplayer modes will be Starfighter Assault, where you can enjoy the fantasy of being a Star Wars pilot.
Electronic Arts’ DICE, Criterion, and Motive studios have been working hard on the massive game for the simultaneous launch on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. EA showed the full multiplayer mode to us at a review event at EA’s headquarters in Redwood City, California. I played multiple rounds of Starfighter Assault, and that was enough to appreciate how much skill it takes to partake in the aerial combat.
In Starfighter Assault, you get to pilot any number of spacecraft. Each battle has multiple stages, where you have to take one objective and then move on to the next one. The whole experience is narrated, so you feel the drama of fighting a real battle. With both bots and human enemies in the battle, the space around you is full of chaos. The graphics look amazing, whether you’re looking at a capital ship or the debris around you.
With each respawn, you can decide on your class. You can choose to pilot a fighter (like an X-wing or TIE Fighter), an interceptor, or a bomber. The bombers are slow but carry a payload that can take out big targets and advance your strategic aims in the battle. I found the TIE Fighter was my favorite because it felt like the most maneuverable in any direction. The X-wings felt like they were great targets when you were trailing behind them, but they had special abilities for repair, as you could press the left bumper to get an astromech droid like R2-D2 to fix the damage.
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When I piloted the TIE Fighter, I earned enough battle points to upgrade to a Darth Vader version, and that was great until I crashed it into a capital ship. I also enjoyed upgrading to Yoda on the Rebel side, as he has a special ability that is like an electromagnetic pulse that makes everything electronic around him go haywire. When you attack the capital ships, it is best to use major ordnance like a proton torpedo. I was surprised to find other pilots were targeting me with missiles and torpedoes.
As far as locations go, you can battle in the Death Star’s debris above Endor. Or you can ambush the First Order in the asteroids of the Unknown Regions. You can do battle in the Imperial shipyards of Fondor or the research outpost on Kamino. And you can engage a massive battleship in Ryloth.
I’ve played a number of these battles, and they each have a good mixture of environmental hazards (where you crash into them or force an enemy to crash into them), massive numbers of enemies to chase down or evade, and multiple of capital ships with turrets firing at you. The Endor battle was the most perilous because of all the debris flying around. If you crashed into any part of it, you exploded in a fireball.
Here’s a second battle where the Separatists battle the Rebels in a giant space battle.
And here’s a third battle where you can see why I like the TIE Fighters more.
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