The last Star Wars game to have anything close to a decent story is 2011's The Old Republic, the BioWare-ran free-to-play MMO. EA has had the Star Wars license since 2012, and we've yet to receive any proper, story-driven adventures. Well, as much as EA seems intent on killing the single-player only experience, my time with the Star Wars Battlefront 2 campaign has shown there's hope that Star Wars storytelling in video games isn't dead.
The previous Star Wars Battlefront (not to be confused with Star Wars: Battlefront) received criticism for its lack of a single-player campaign. In fact, the thing that may have ensured Star Wars Battlefront 2, and other multiplayer shooters will still come standard with a campaign is that even if players predominately play multiplayer, they still want that 6-8 hour single-player mode. Though there are issues with Star Wars Battlefront 2 (loot boxes), I have to commend EA for not cheaping out on the campaign for the game.
A Long Time Ago
I've played through the first three missions of Star Wars Battlefront 2, and so far I'm impressed. The game begins shortly before the Battle of Endor, with our (anti)hero Iden Versio, commander of Imperial Special Forces group Inferno Squad, captured on a Rebel Star Cruiser.
You have to use her remote connection with her droid to guide the robot to free her. This section of the game has you going through ducts and stealthing past soldiers to make it to Versio's cell. Once she's released, you learn that she got captured on purpose and she's there to prevent the Rebel Alliance from learning that the Imperial Fleet is present at Endor and the Death Star II is shielded and operational.
From there the game takes you through, and past the Battle of Endor and gives us a look at what exactly happened with the Imperial forces after the death of Palpatine. I'm always a bit foggy on what's canon anymore since Disney took over, threw away the Expanded Universe, introduced a bunch of new stuff, they also added some stuff back in that was in the EU but not precisely the way it was. That being said, I'm pretty sure we never got a perfect handle on what happened with the Empire immediately following the destruction of the second Death Star.
In a Galaxy Far, Far, Away....
The second mission of Star Wars Battlefront 2 involves you getting off Endor, rendezvousing with Inferno Squad's corvette, Corvo, and meeting with her father, an Admiral in the Imperial Security Bureau and commander of a Star Destroyer. You then begin to learn that the Emperor had a contingency plan in the event of his death: Operation: Cinder.
From there you head to Fondor for the third mission. You're tasked with stopping a Rebel attack force that has disabled an Imperial Star Destroyer carrying specialized satellites for use in Operation: Cinder. As Iden asks questions about Operation: Cinder during the mission she's refuted by the Admiral in command of the Star Destroyer, and any details of the overall plan concerning the operation are kept from her. The third mission ends with the freeing of the Star Destroyer and the destruction of the Rebel task force.
The campaign so far is a blast. The controls are just as tight as multiplayer, and the (canon) story is the best we've seen in a video game in years. We haven't actually seen an actual full-length Star Wars story in a new game in years, but even if we had, I bet this one would compare pretty good.
I'm excited to see where Iden Versio and Inferno Squad end up by the end of the game. There's not long to wait either. Star Wars Battlefront 2 releases on November 17.