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Gaming: Star Wars Battlefront II heads to Mos Eisley; Half-Life remake inbound; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Star Wars Battlefront II

It may be a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but for Star Wars Battlefront II fans craving some of that old-school Lucasfilm magic, a return trip to Mos Eisley and other iconic locations from George Lucas’ original movie trilogy is probably even better than a Saturday full of free bantha rides.

Electronic Arts has just dropped the launch trailer for its huge new update to the gracefully-aging 2017 game, promising a “return to the era that started it all” in the aptly-titled Age of Rebellion expansion. Sure enough, it’s an absolute feast for fans of the classic Star Wars canon, with a return to cherished locations including the second Death Star, Hoth, Tatooine, Jabba’s palace, Endor, Yavin, and Solo: A Star Wars Story’s Kessel.

Check it out:

There’s a ton of stuff to unpack on top of all the cool visuals, including total co-op play at all seven locations, as well as “two new Reinforcements in the form of the Ewok Hunter and ISB Agent,” according to EA. There are also four new blasters; four new Capital ships for co-op gameplay; two new Heroes vs. Villains maps; and, believe it or not, much more.

To dive deeper into all of Battlefront II’s fresh Star Wars goodies, head on over to EA’s landing page. As for the Age of Rebellion update itself, it’s available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

After waiting for more than a decade with no new game in sight, Half-Life fans are suddenly finally awash in more Gordon Freeman goodness than they’ve seen since the PS3/Xbox 360 era. Not only is Valve getting ready to deploy Half-Life: Alyx back to City 17 on VR devices next spring; there’s also a long-brewing, Valve-approved Half-Life fan remake in the works — and now we know when it’ll be available.

With Valve’s blessing, a gifted group known as The Crowbar Collective has spent the past 14 years whipping up the near-mythic Black Mesa remake of the original Half-Life, a ground-up rebuild of the first game that expands on the ending of the 1998 classic with a thorough reworking of the often-criticized platforming section that came in the so-called “Xen” levels. 

The combination of upgraded graphics and a fleshed-out new ending essentially makes Black Mesa, for many fans, the de facto definitive version of the original Half-Life, and it all arrives on Steam on Mar. 5.

It may be June before Diana lassos back into theaters with Wonder Woman 1984, but there’s virtually no wait at all for anyone who’s interested in repairing Themyscira’s shattered peace in board game form. 

Beginning next month, Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons will bring a co-op tabletop adventure to life in comics-faithful detail with cover art from illustrator Jenny Frison, and figures and game board from tabletop masterminds Ravensburger. Fight against “one of three classic Wonder Woman enemies” — Ares, Circe, and The Cheetah — and navigate as one of five unique Amazons in miniature form, including Diana, Philippus, Mala, Nu’bia, and Artemis.

Wonder Woman game box
Wonder Woman game board

Those who’ve previewed the game say it goes a long way toward smoothing some of co-op play’s typical built-in hiccups, especially via a new communication mechanic that prevents one player from unintentionally amassing too much power.

Hey, we’ll take all the power we can get... and it’s on the way soon: already available for pre-order, Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons arrives on Mar. 1.