E3 is well under way, and as expected, the gaming world has exploded from excitement, tension and sheer overwhelming nerd levels. And while few could match the sheer jaw dropping amazement of the news of the long awaited Final Fantasy VII Remaster, not to mention the shock sequel Shenmue 3, Star Wars Battlefront 3 blew our minds during EA's press conference yesterday afternoon. They may have made us sit through boring sports games for almost an hour but by Sithis was it worth it, for the finale truly blew our socks off.
Due for release later this year, the first gameplay footage of the multiplayer centric shooter returns us to the planet of Hoth, where the hidden Rebel base is under fierce attack from the Empire. Rather than just pitting everyone off in a free-for-all surrounded by nice looking scenery, the battles in Battlefront are rather more objective based, and, depending on which faction you choose to play as, your role in the battle changes dramatically. As an Empire soldier, it's your duty to escort the AT-AT Walkers into the battle in order to destroy the Rebel Base and all its inhabitants. Meanwhile, as a Rebel, you must stop the AT-AT's approach at all costs. As you may have expected, this does involve flying a ship and tying their legs up.
With the battle set to those familiar tunes, the demo showed off quite how spectacular these battles are going to be, with X-Wings and Tie Fighters dogfighting overhead, AT-ST walkers threatening to stomp on the ground troops, and countless skirmishes happening all around. Fighting to take control of various uplinks scattered around the level, it's a case of tug of war, as you wrestle with your foes for control of key points. Soon, aerial bombardments start raining down (although a well timed bubble shield can keep you safe from harm), and a lumbering AT-AT rears its awkward head, bringing its substantial firepower to back up the struggling Imperial side. All in all, it has everything you'd expect from a battle set on Hoth - and it all happened in game.
Along with a choice of first person or third person views (which is great news for those who have motion sickness, or maybe aren't that familiar with first person games) for foot soldiers - and, brilliantly, the same choice of outside or "cockpit views" for vehicles, (something which makes us long for the days of the X-Wing and Tie Fighter games), the demo also confirmed the return of "Hero" players. Spotting one of your players suddenly start rising into the air and grabbing at their neck, our demoer turns around to see Darth Vader standing behind him. Of course, Darth isn't a normal playable character - otherwise every battle would turn into a war between Darth and Luke - instead, after a certain amount of kills or wins in battle, you may be offered the role of your faction's hero, in this case, Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker. With their own special set of powers, these hero characters have the ability to turn any battle around - and who wouldn't run to hills if they saw Darth Vader marching towards them.
With jetpacks, awesome weaponry, vehicles, ships, classes, crisp graphics, spine-tingling familiar music - and, perhaps most importantly, split-screen multiplayer (although this hasn't yet been confirmed for online play) - we're counting down the days. And with a November release date, we really haven't that long to wait!