Well, here it is: that single-player Star Wars Battlefront you've been waiting for has arrived. Well, sort of. The Skirmishes announced for DICE's shooter a short while back have just gone live, and they introduce a new way to play offline, opening up variations on the headline Walker Assault mode as well as Fighter Squadron for play with bots.
It's a slight addition, though having played it for 30 minutes it's clearly going to have a profound effect; taking on a friend in Walker Assault, each of us on opposing sides, is a reminder of what's so special about couch co-op, and why the absence of the mode was so keenly felt in the initial release of Battlefront last December. A game as mindless as Battlefront - and I mean that politely, because Star Wars Battlefront is the best kind of mindless - is the perfect backdrop for just hanging out and talking nonsense, letting all the spectacle that DICE has eked from the cinematic universe wash over you.
The Skirmishes work much like the Survival missions found elsewhere in Battlefront. Any points you earn are kept separate from your online character, and the entire arsenal of blasters is available from the off alongside a couple of predetermined hands of Star Cards. There are three difficulty levels, though all of them seem tuned to make you feel like a hero rather than putting up too much of a challenge. If you want to know what a 20-player kill streak feels like, the Skirmishes are very much the place to go.
You can see some of the new mode in action, as well as hear me mumbling along unconvincingly about how excited I am for it, in the video below.
Of all the additions to come to Star Wars Battlefront since its launch - the free maps, the Bespin and Outer Rim expansions and the sizeable patches and upgrades - the Skirmishes are probably the most significant, even if they might seem insubstantial. What's significant about them is how they perfectly recapture the spirit of the original Battlefront, and of how they reiterate how brilliant split screen multiplayer can be.