The Star Wars franchise is no stranger to strong leading women fighting for the Rebel Alliance, but it's a bit more uncommon for the Empire's female allies to get the same recognition. Villains like Asajj Ventress and Doctor Aphra have become fan favorites not just because they're women, but because they show a side of the galactic conflict rarely seen. After seeing a brief portion of the Star Wars Battlefront II single-player campaign in action, it won't be surprising at all to see Commander Iden Versio join those memorable ranks this fall.

We already knew that Star Wars Battlefront II's story mode would follow Inferno Squadron leader Iden Versio (played by Janina Gavankar) through a narrative bridging the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. And yes, EA's Motive Studios did clarify that Iden's story would take place across all 28 of those years between episodes. While what we saw at E3 2017 this weekend was a snippet of a mission taking place directly after the Battle of Endor, we're definitely curious to see how Inferno Squadron fits into the Aftermath timeline, as well as getting our first true look at a post-Battle of Jakku galaxy. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Battlefront II's first demoed mission takes place in orbit above Fondor, home of the Empire shipyards, and where Darth Vader's ship the Exectuor was built. While Versio is merely visiting the shipyard as part of a mission given to her from one of Palpatine's Sentinels, a Rebel contingent arrives with intent to take back Fondor from Imperial control. Fortunately for the Empire, Inferno Squadron is on hand, and Versio and her team take to the skies in TIE Fighters to protect some of the last, best Imperial assets.


In Battlefront II, players will fight in the traditional first-person shooter elements the series and DICE are famous for, but there are also starfighter segments interspersed to show off just how versatile and hardcore the Inferno Squadron is in battle. Above the planet, the TIEs fly in and out of the cover of a spaceport, all the while battling X-Wings and Corvettes to ensure one of the last Star Destroyers at Fondor isn't captured or destroyed. A scripted segment even has Versio chasing down an X-Wing through bits and parts of the spaceport, which recalls some of those great moments in Star Wars space battle history.

Of course, the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser that started the siege is the big target, but a TIE Fighter can't exactly take one down on its own. With that in mind, Versio flies into the docking bay, lays waste to every Rebel soldier inside, and disembarks to disable the ship's ion cannons. Fans have wanted the ability to drop in and out of space combat, and it's a great treat to see it in action in the single-player. Hopefully this is something that will occur in the reworked Starfighter Assault multiplayer mode, but with no concrete details on that mode, we'll have to settle for it happening in the story for now.

Once inside, you really get a grasp on Commander Versio's ability to change the tide of battle almost entirely on her own. She's a capable ground assault force, dispelling the numerous Rebel troops with ease, and the help of her miniature probe droid. The droid acts as both a hacking device and quick attack tool, as it's able to take out a handful of gathered enemies with a bit of the ol' chain lightning. We definitely cackled just a bit when a fleeing Rebel soldier was shocked to death while banging on a door for help.


Without spoiling too much more of the mission, players will have a few different ways to engage the enemy on the Mon Calamari ship. You can go in guns blazing, lighting up Rebels with scorch marks until your blaster overheats, or take a more methodical tact, and stealthily take them out one by one. The quick melee takedowns are brutal and effective, and help keep any potential reinforcements from being alerted. Of course, if you do end up revealing yourself too soon, and find the Rebels calling for back-up, you won't necessarily have to kill everyone. You can just slam the doors shut in their faces.

Yes, in true Star Wars fashion, blasting the nearby door controls will automatically shut the door, and disable that point of entry from being used. It's something that's totally Star Wars, and a wonderful Easter egg to witness. Aside from the flaming GNK power droid, that instance was just one of what we're sure are going to be grin-inducing moments for longtime fans.

Because EA Motive didn't want to reveal too many of its narrative cards, we didn't get to see much of Battlefront II's story itself, but the action-driven demo definitely left us wanting more. The shootouts and flying sequences looked just as great and enjoyable as the robust multiplayer offerings, and it all looked stunning in motion. Commander Iden Versio is only just getting started on her quest to prove the Empire's power, and for once, we're really rooting for the bad guys.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 17.