When Star Wars Battlefront returned in 2015 under the guidance of EA and shooter maestros DICE, the cries among fans of the original games for a traditional single-player campaign were deafening.

Single-player was an important part of those two PS2-era games because online play wasn't widespread on consoles – though the second did support it. So, with a modern audience in mind, DICE banked on players wanting multiplayer.

They were right. Battlefront went on to do incredibly well, selling 14 million copies as of May 2016 and no doubt many millions more since.

Despite the success, DICE and EA have sought to address every fan concern with this year's sequel. There are more maps, a greater depth to its shooter gameplay, aerial combat has been overhauled and, of course, there's a single-player campaign as well.

It's this campaign that we sampled at a recent preview event in London, playing through the first three chapters of Iden Versio's story.

Iden leads an elite, special forces unit called Inferno Squad, carrying out missions for the oppressive Galactic Empire. On the forest moon of Endor, they witness the destruction of the second Death Star at the end of Return of the Jedi – an act that ultimately leads to the Rebellion overthrowing the galaxy's rulers.

In the original Pandemic games, the campaigns grouped together multiplayer maps and filled them with AI-controlled troops. The second game had more substantive connective tissue, but was still structured in the same way.

They were not meaty single-player campaigns, nor were they especially memorable, but they were the sole mode of play for a lot of people. Twelve years later and Battlefront requires something different: a character-driven story tailored to be a separate experience from the expansive multiplayer side of the game.

Spanning the 30-year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, the campaign begins on the eve of the Battle of Endor, with Versio escaping capture on a Rebel ship and deleting evidence that could scupper the Empire's plan for a surprise attack.

Serving as a tutorial, the prologue mission opens with players learning not how to control Iden, but the importance of her droid companion, who attaches to the back of her armour and is used to unlock doors and storage boxes and zap enemies.

That last attack is one of the four abilities and weapons players can swap out throughout the campaign. Find containers around each level and you'll unlock new cards to swap out for those you have in play, so everyone is able to tailor their loadout to suit.

Star Wars Battlefront 2
Inferno Squad on Endor. EA

After the droid frees Iden, the rest of the level is half stealth – slowing the pace down to allow players to get used to the play – then half dramatic, action-packed escape as players are put to their first true test.

Shooting human targets in a video game has become natural – to a slightly disturbing degree in fact – but in Battlefront 2's campaign there's a pang of guilt you feel from setting your sights not on the bad guys, but on the Star Wars saga's heroes.

Sure we've shot plenty of Rebels in multiplayer before, but in a story mode it's different. Casting players as an Imperial soldier gives the game's story a twist that makes where it goes and where it could go compelling.

Next comes chapter one: The Battle of Endor. The familiar woodland setting and the sight of the Death Star overhead will be instantly magical for any Star Wars fan, but the tone is different. Iden and her squadmates Hask and Meeko are here to serve the Emperor, and they arrive determined and confident.

That is, until the Death Star explodes above them, irreparably loosening the Empire's grip on the galaxy and setting Iden Versio's story into motion.

She was born into the Empire, served it devoutly and so her loathing of the Rebellion is pure and understandable. She's loyal to the Imperial forces, but that loyalty is tested over the course of the game.

Following Endor, a messenger appears bearing a final message from the Emperor in the event of his death. He orders the execution of "Operation Cinder", the true purpose of which is hidden from Iden and will spark her rebellious side.

Star Wars Battlefront 2
Players will fly through the wreckage of the second Death Star. EA

Throughout our playthrough there were hints at insubordination from the fiery protagonist, and before the assembled press left we saw a later cutscene setting up a mission on Vardos – a new location and Iden's home planet.

The nature of the mission angers Iden greatly, especially given it comes from her father, Admiral Garrick Versio, who shows no regard for the place where he raised his daughter.

Given the timeframe of the campaign it's easy to imagine Battlefront 2 charting Iden's journey from Imperial soldier to Resistance fighter – fighting alongside Poe Dameron over Starkiller Base in the battle depicted in 2015's The Force Awakens.

As predictable as that might be (though we don't yet know for sure if that's the case), it will certainly make for an interesting story, and that's much more than anyone would have expected from Battlefront 2.

This isn't a slapped together collection of multiplayer maps, it's much more than even the fans were asking for.