Star Wars: Imperial Assault Wave 4 Review


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Posted by Michael on Nov 12, 2015

Hot on the heels of the excellent Twin Shadows add-on, Imperial Assault enters its fourth wave of releases with three new Villain and Ally Packs. This time out, we’re getting a set of Rodian mercenaries (ersatz Greedos), some Wookiee warriors and a group of Stormtroopers because let’s face it, you can never have too many Stormtroopers. Especially when their new release brings the storied 501st , Vader’s Finest, into the game.

I continue to be not particularly fond of the trend toward marketing games piecemeal with “DLC”-like methods, but so it goes and it doesn’t appear that Imperial Assault is flagging in the sales. And I’m still interested in the game, as are a couple of the folks I play it with regularly, in part because it effectively keeps getting re-upped with new material. With that said, some of the issues of the past Villain and Ally packs continues especially in terms of how they introduce new campaign – oriented additions. If you’re well into or even done with the campaign in the core game, the value of new campaign content may be questionable.

If you’re just starting with the game, the value is far greater because there is definitely a reason to bring the content into the game. Some of the additional missions, particularly in this wave. I love the mission that comes with the Rodians- the Rebels are tasked with interrupting a back-alley meeting between Imperial leadership and a mercenary gang. So if you’ve ever wondered how the deal went down to get those bounty hunters signed on with the Empire, here it is. The Wookiee outing puts the players on Kashykk with Chewbacca’s buddies busting up some Imperial terminals. And the Stormtrooper mission takes us to the 501st training facility. This one is cool because the Rebels have to sort of escort a bomb into it. There are some nice rewards benefitting the Imperial player’s Stormtroopers if they can win it, increasing their mobility and giving them some needed recovery.

As for the units, the Stormtroopers are just like the ones that were in the base game but they do include new cards, so there is a raison d’etre there beyond amassing more bucketheads. The Rodians have some really cool narrative abilities. Their “Parting Shot” function lets them get in one final shot before dying, because as we all know, Han shot first. They are also “Disposable” and subtract a miss result from an opponent’s attack. Sorry Greedo. The Wookiees are tough-as-nails brawlers with a powerful, Cleaving green/red dice melee strike. They also have “Fury”, which makes them stronger as they take damage. You rush these berserkers up front, preferably straight into the Stormtrooper ranks.

This is good stuff for the most part, but I find it disappointing yet again that there isn’t an in-package option providing players with the parameters to play these campaign missions as one-offs. I think that may be the greatest fumble out of the entire Imperial Assault package, that it leans so heavily on the persistent campaign. In general, I’ve found that the campaign content in the Villain and Ally packs has been somewhat more interesting than what was in the first release, the folks responsible for this brand should make it more accessible.

Also once again, the skirmish mode sort of comes out as the main benefactor of these new packs. More Command cards and new units offer greater flexibility in squad building, and that was sorely needed from day one. Competitive players are already buying multiple packs of some units, such as the Stormtroopers, but I think most casual players will be good with one of each.

In terms of content, each pack again offers some fairly interchangeable map layouts (which do not require the Twin Shadows set). The Rodians have the best skirmish missions, I think, because they have some fun randomizers to mix things up. The Wookiee set has a cool one with special weapons prototypes that have some neat effects and give VPs. The Stormtroopers have some decent but unremarkable outings for this game mode. All, of course, have additional Command cards and upgrades keyed to the units they are packaged with.

The next stop for Imperial Assault is Hoth, which will obviously add in arctic environments, snowtroopers, Wampas and so forth. I’m definitely on board and I hope that it’s at least as good as Twin Shadows. I can’t say that I’m looking forward to more individual unit packs, but one of them is Dengar (the tore-up bounty hunter) so it’s not like I’ll be passing on them, even if Fantasy Flight continues to push this game with serial purchases. I’d expect that any Star Wars fan into the game will feel the same way.