Instead of basing Star Wars Battlefront on The Force Awakens, EA and DICE aimed for a safe bet - the original trilogy. It doesn't matter what colours the X-wings get, how charming BB8 is, or what changes are made to stormtroopers - Star Wars IV to VI are a cemented part of popular culture that simply can't beat.
The game became hugely popular, and when the sequel arrives late next year, it will be based on the new films rather than the original trilogy, and by the new films, we don't mean the newest one, Rogue One. It technically belongs with the original trilogy rather than anything else, and therefore it's fitting that the end of Star Wars Battlefront is the start of the original trilogy.
In Rogue One: Scarif we get more space battles just like the previous expansion, the Death Star, where several game modes are sewn together. You start in space, where you are in the role of the rebel who must escort a U-wing through a hole in the planet Scarif's shields to take control of two areas, and then carry three very important objects back to the ship. This is inverted of course if you play as the Empire.
Unlike the Death Star expansion, it doesn't feel quite as clear what you are supposed to do on Scarif and the game modes feel slightly rushed and unfocused with their numerous ingredients. It takes a few matches before it seems fully obvious what should be done, when all we really want to do is to laser those pesky rebels to restore law and order to the galaxy. It seems superfluous to complicate things unnecessarily when the game isn't deep enough to back it up in general, because everyone's just running around like dizzy chickens anyway, throwing themselves against the enemy, ourselves included. Therefore much of the tactical side of things is lost.
Also, the space sections, where you fly about amongst rubble and Star Destroyers, is basically exactly the same as the Death Star expansion, even if the targets and backdrops differ slightly. Fortunately, it's not identical. In particular, on the ground Scarif is a delightful revelation. The game world is sunny and bright green, and it makes us want to plunge into the sea almost as much as we want to steal Death Star documents.
Scarif has its own unique vegetation, and large leaves often make it difficult to see the enemy from distance, while the palm trees are so thin that the paths are still broad enough to easily get around. It feels like a corridor shooter, but without corridors, and we can surprise enemies by jumping in the bushes to take shortcuts or evade danger. Because of this close quarters feel we have had great success with the shotgun-inspired laser cannon CA-87 (Shock Blaster) simply because the enemy often shows up just in front of us and is treated to a one-shot kill right away.
But for those who want more open spaces, there are also large beach areas and that is a very different beast to tackle. It's more like Saving Private Ryan and here, those who can use range weapons well and are more patient, can shoot down enemies in droves. The buildings in the area (deliciously decorated, and a few of them have the new Tie Striker parked waiting to be let loose) also have open spaces around them, often with low barriers which make them a treat for those that are accurate with grenades.
The most lavish DLC pack for Star Wars Battlefront so far is the Death Star, but Rogue One: Scarif isn't far behind. The levels are well thought out and very fun, and it's also nicely designed, differing quite a lot from what has so far been offered in Battlefront. The biggest single problem is that the payment model EA (and Activision with the Call of Duty series) relies on means that not everyone gets the new levels and thus they are not as frequently played as the main game. There's no problem when the expansion is new, but as is the case in older expansions for Star Wars Battlefront, it's sometimes difficult to get full matches in certain game modes for DLC like Bespin.
In addition, Rogue One: Scarif also includes what always accompanies these packages: heroes. Fittingly, it's Jyn Erso on the rebel side and the brutal but brilliant Orson Krennic for the Empire. Neither of them add much that's new (unlike Chewbacca and Bossk that filled gameplay gaps in the previous DLC), but they're still fun to use. Two new weapons are also added, and in particular Ersos A180 is likely to be a favourite. It's a blaster which can be easily modified to use as either a sniper or a close range weapon. Additionally, a new Star Card has been added in the form of a Sonic Imploder, which also has the potential to become a favourite. It removes the victim's sight, making them more fragile, and hurts others nearby; a real treat.
Rogue One: Scarif is a worthy finale to the roll out of Star Wars Battlefront expansions, and is likely to continue to be played for a long time to come. Hopefully EA will lower the price of the Season Pass so there will be more people playing each new game mode, which will certainly add value for those early investors. It doesn't quite hold to the same standard as the Death Star DLC, which stands out as the game's highlight, but it's still an indispensable supplement that should be purchased for those who want to get the most out of the game.