Hello sentients, and welcome back to the Sarlacc Pit! I must say once again that it is good to be back! So much has been added to the Star Wars canon since March of this year that I have been itching to get back to work here, and now I barely know where to start. This week, I am going to give a review of the campaign story (which is canon, and so far the only canon video game) of Star Wars: Battlefront II. Now, this game has gotten a lot of press lately, mostly for it’s attempted implementation of micro-transactions to make up for the lack of future paid DLC, which has resulted in a potential play-to-win scenario for online players. This was followed by player outrage, and the worst PR I have ever seen coming from a video game company. However, despite EA attempting to rectifying the situation by getting rid of the in-game micro-transactions (at least for now) this is still discussed ad nauseum on Reddit and other forums, so I will not be discussing this now. What I will be discussing this week is the campaign story mode, what it contributes to canon, and the good and bad from the story. Note, this will have spoilers for the campaign, so if you want to play the game, then go ahead and do so ahead of time, it should only take 5-7 hours.
Commander Iden Versio
“She’s highly trained. Deception. Infiltration. Extraction. She’s special forces.” – Rebel Officer, “Star Wars: Battlefront II”
Iden was born on Vardos, a loyal Imperial planet, and grew up in Imperial academies. She was highly skilled in combat and as a pilot, as well as extremely loyal to the Empire. This loyalty was fostered by both parents, her father was a high-ranking Imperial, and her mother was a propaganda artist for the Empire. Iden was given the command of Inferno Squadron, a special forces unit founded after the destruction of the first Death Star to prevent such catastrophes from happening.
Agent Gideon Hask
Gideon Hask: Mission accomplished, commander.
Iden Versio: With zero casualties. Looks like you’re still second-in-command.
Hask: Oh, I’m patient. I can wait.
-“Star Wars: Battlefront II”
Gideon Hask was also born and raised on Vardos. He went to the same academies as Iden Versio, but was always second to her in scores and skills. While he did not resent Iden’s success, he always looked forward to improving himself and becoming her superior, including when he was assigned to Inferno Squadron.
Agent Del Meeko
“I used to an engineer on, uh, capital ships, so this should be easy.” -Del Meeko
Del Meeko was born and raised on Coruscant. He gained recognition through his roles as a stromtrooper, shore trooper, TIE pilot, and eventually chief engineer on a Star Destroyer. While Meeko also served in the field and as an agent of Inferno Squadron, he provided invaluable technical skills in the maintenance of Inferno Squadron’s Imperial Raider-class corvette, the Corvus, and the Inferno Squadron’s highly-modified ID10 seeker droid.
Admrial Garrick Version
“I gave my life to this Empire. Fought to keep it strong.” -Garrick Version, “Star Wars: Battlefront II”
Garrick Versio was an admiral in the Imperial Security Bureau. He was the father of Iden Versio, but divorced her mother when Iden was five. He was fully committed to the Empire, and after the destruction of the First Death star he founded the special forces unit Inferno Squadron to prevent such catastrophes to the Empire. He made his daughter the commander of Inferno Squad (after testing her and the other members to see which would be the superior leader).
The Novel Star Wars: Battlefront II: Inferno Squadron sets up the creation of Inferno Squadron and their first major mission after the Battle of Yavin. The story of “Battlefront II” begins just before the Battle of Endor, where Inferno Squad successfully retrieved an intercepted piece of Imperial intel which would have alerted the Rebel Alliance to the Emperor’s trap. Afterwards, Inferno Squad was deployed during the Battle of Endor, to investigate the Death Star II’s shield generator to attempt repairs after it was sabotaged by the Rebels. Inferno Squad was on Endor when the Death Star II was destroyed, and helped evacuate Imperial troops on the ground.
After the Battle of Endor, Iden met with her father and one of the Emperor’s messenger droids. There, she learned that the Emperor had died, and that the next step for the Empire was “Operation: Cinder.” The exact parameters of Cinder was kept from her until she was sent to Vardos, her home planet which was loyal to the Empire. There, she saw that Operation: Cinder was designed to destroy largely-populated planets by deploying satellites that would generate large superstorms across the planet, causing large losses of life and property. After seeing Cinder being deployed on Vardos, a loyal Imperial planet and her home, Commander Iden Versio and Agent Del Meeko defected from the Empire, while Agent Hask remained loyal.
After escaping Imperials on Vardos, Versio and Meeko took their ship, the Corvus, and surrendered to the Rebellion, specifically to General Lando Calrissian. Lando, a firm believer in second chances, recruited the two ex-Imperials to assist in fighting against the Operation: Cinder forces attacking Naboo. On Naboo, Versio and Meeko joined Princess Leia Amidala against the Empire, putting a stop to Operation: Cinder. Afterwards, the two, still operating under the name Inferno Squad, joined the New Republic.
Inferno Squad worked with the New Republic, assisting in sabotaging Imperial factories, and gathering intel on the Empire. Eventually, they would find themselves in the Battle of Jakku, the last battle in the Galactic Civil War. As the Imperials were beaten by New Republic forces, Inferno Squad found itself in a final confrontation with Gideon Hask and Admiral Garrick Versio. Iden was able to defeat Hask in a brief aerial dogfight, and her father went down with his Star Destroyer during the Battler of Jakku.
Afterwards, Del and Iden married and had a daughter. They apparently lived happy lives with Del traveling the galaxy hauling freight in the Corvus, until he was eventually found by the First Order. He was hunted down for his apparent knowledge about the map to Luke Skywalker, and faced Kylo Ren as Ren used his mind probe abilities to squeeze information from him. After Ren left, Gideon Hask, who apparently was not dead and instead had joined with the First Order, killed Meeko, and stated that he was going to use the Corvus to lure Versio to him.
Ok, so there was some cool stuff that happened in this story mode. First of all, this game has so many shout outs to Marvel’s “Star Wars: Shattered Empire” mini-series. Operation: Cinder is straight out of those pages, and it was so cool to fight alongside Leia to save Naboo. There were also many nods to the Aftermath novel trilogy with shoutouts to Vice Admiral Rae Sloan, Gallius Rax, and even Snap Wexley (no Mr. Bones though). There was also one intermission level where you played as post-Battle of Endor Han Solo (complete with a beard) at Maz’s castle. There, he meets with an Imperial defector to get information on the Wookie planet of Kashyyk, which directly leads into Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt. The new characters were also great, and I think made excellent additions to the Star Wars universe. Furthermore There are a few levels where you play as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, Lando Calrissian, and even Kylo Ren. The Luke Skywalker level was especially interesting as it provided another hint at what Luke did after the Battle of Endor.
Ok, so during Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017, my friends and I went to the Star Wars: Battlefront II panel, which was the first big announcement of this game. I was not very impressed with the first Battlefront game, which featured no story mode at all, and had little hopes for this one, but I thought I’d check it out anyways. However, when they announced the story mode, I was immediately excited. The story was sold as being a story about a true believer in the Empire. Someone who could be the Luke Skywalker, or Princess Leia for Imperials. A hero on the villainous side. However, you only actually play as an Imperial for about 1/4th-1/3rd of the game before Iden switched sides and joined the New Republic. As someone who is always a fan of the good guys, this didn’t both me. However, many of my friends were very much looking forward to playing as an Imperial, and they were pretty furious at this bait and switch. My other big complaint is that the story is extremely short. I played through it in one sitting and it took me about 5 hours. The game play was not very challenging, and relied on cinematics to tell the story, with little actual exploration possible. However, considering the Battlefront series is mostly focused on online play, this was probably to be expected. Also, as a side-note, there were a lot of scenes from the trailers that did not make it to the game, which kind of sucks.
All-in-all, as a fan of the Rebel Alliance, New republic, and the light side of the Force, I would give this story a 3/5. It could have been improved with a meatier story, but I liked all the canon shoutouts. However, I would wager that my Imperial-loving friends would give the game a 1.5/5 due to the fact that they did not get the game that was promised. I will say this, if you don’t like first person shooters, and just wanted to buy the game to play the story, don’t. The five hours of gameplay is not worth the $60 you have to pay.
That’s all I have for you this week! Next week I plan on finally getting around to the Yoda post I promised about half a year ago. Thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you!