Star Wars: Battlefront II is coming our way on November 17, and Electronic Arts is filling the sequel to the brim with all the stuff that was missing in the first game. There's a full single-player campaign! The game's battlefields span all three eras, from the classic trilogy to the prequels and modern eras! EA DICE reached out to Criterion to improve the vehicle handling! Dedicated servers are on the table!
They've supposedly patched the holes in the first game, but one of the things fans of the pre-reboot games are still asking for is Galactic Conquest.
What Is Galactic Conquest you ask? Well in classic Star Wars: Battlefront and Battlefront II, players could jam in this strategic mode, which expanded the game beyond a single battle. In Galactic Conquest, you would command an entire fleet through the Star Wars galaxy in one huge campaign. A number of folks have compared it to Risk and I see no reason to refute the comparison.
You begin with your ship, set number of credits, and a certain number of units available to you. Each planet - all based on classic and expanded Star Wars lore - teased needed victory resources and a planetary bonuses. They're all connected too, with your objective being some of the larger battles in the Star Wars universe. When you send your fleet to a planet, you're dropped into the proper shooter and tasked with winning the battle. This is the full Battlefront, with soldiers, vehicles, and objectives to capture.
Win a planet and you take control of it. You get a certain number of credits for victory or defeat, and some credits per planet under your control in each turn. The credits are used to purchase bonuses, which are benefits for your entire army, like Energy Boost, which causes your soldiers' energy to replenish faster, or Garrison, which adds extra troops to your reinforcements. They're also used to buy different classes of soldier for your army; you start with a basic Rebel Soldier/Stormtrooper, but can purchase other troops like the heavy weapons Vanguard or the long-range Marksman.
The strategic layer is what makes Galactic Conquest so beloved. You have to have some skill to take a planet, but it's really about the long-term choices you make. Which path will you take? Which planets do you liberate along the way, given that some battles and planets are much harder? Which bonuses and soldier types do you pick up? And while you're making your choices, the AI opponent is doing the same and attempting to take planets from your control.
Galactic Conquest even allowed two fleets to meet in the darkness of space, triggering a ship-to-ship space battle. The scope of these conflicts was one of the strengths of the original Star Wars: Battlefront, letting you move from on-foot combat to space combat, and back again.
Multiplayer was an anchor for the Star Wars: Battlefront series, letting up to 32 players participate in huge battles, but not everyone had online capabilities. The single-player campaigns of Star Wars: Battlefront I and II offered a chance for players to learn the ins-and-outs of each game while participating in battles that reflected situations from the films. Even with Instant Action, allowing you you jump into any map or mode available in the game, single-player was relatively finite experience.
With Galactic Conquest though, Star Wars: Battlefront offered a unique option to players, a single-player experience that could be stretched over a long period of time. You could bust through an entire round of GC in a day if you wanted, but it was the kind of mode where you were supposed to conquer a few planets, save your progress, and call it a night. You determined how much you wanted to play and even more importantly, Galactic Conquest made you feel like you were working towards something more than just an unlock.
Galactic Conquest also allowed competitive and cooperative split-screen play if you had friends over. It was the kind of thing where you could invite friends over every week to tackle your shared campaign. If D&D wasn't your thing, Star Wars: Battlefront offered an intriguing alternative. It was a Star Wars adventure you could set out on with your friends.
One major issue I had with the Star Wars: Battlefront reboot was longevity. EA DICE developed a game that played really well, but was rather flat as an overall experience. A small number of available maps and modes at launch - it didn't even have a single-player campaign - meant you'd get the entire experience in a few hours. DICE rectified some of those issues with DLC, but the lack was still keenly felt.
I understand why Galactic Conquest wasn't available in the first game of the reboot series. The complexity of high-definition asset creation means creating the different planet maps needed to make Galactic Conquest worthwhile was difficult. Battlefront launched with 14 maps across four planets: Hoth, Tatooine, Endor, and Sullust. Another three planets came via DLC: Jakku, Cloud City, and the Death Star.
Classic Battlefront didn't offer a ton more - 16 maps across 10 planets - but Classic Battlefront II offered a planet per map, offering a ton of variety. New Battlefront II is kicking things up a notch, but I think that may only bring the game up to the level of the first Battlefront.
Electronic Arts is throwing everything at Star Wars: Battlefront II and I'm looking forward to playing it, but I find myself agreeing with some fans: Battlefront needs an experience like Galactic Conquest. Something that's more than filling an experience bar to unlock new classes and weapons to go back into the same online matches again.
Galactic Conquest gave the Battlefront games a sense of scope and scale that I feel was missing from the Battlefront reboot. If EA wants Battlefront II to live on, Galactic Conquest should be on the list of things they want to add to the game, preferably with the addition of online multiplayer co-op and competitive play. That's the kind of mode that would win the series a ton of fans and bring back some disappointed veterans.