The highly criticised and much talked about Star Wars Battlefront II has finally released and it certainly wasn’t the smooth launch they were hoping for. Before we talk about the review there is no denying that Star Wars Battlefront II has been lord of the reddit forums and quite the hot topic of gamer discussion recently. From the moment it went into open beta the game was in trouble, plagued with loot box woes and character balance issues, the team at EA DICE were clearly going to be in for a rough ride no matter which direction they took. However while choosing to fix the majority of character balancing issues before launch they simply chose to overlook the massive amount of player feedback regarding loot boxes and unlock progression. This lead to the player outcry and backlash which we all know of now and you can read all about in our other articles located here:
Now that the messy stuff is out of the way, let’s move onto what you’re all here to really know: Is Star Wars Battlefront II worth me giving EA my money after all this? Well the answer in short, for me, is yes.
Stepping aside from all of its woes, Star Wars Battlefront II is actually a beautifully crafted and visually stunning game that any Star Wars fan would truly enjoy taking the time to play. In 2015 Star Wars Battlefront was the re-envisioning of the epic large scale Star Wars battle games that fans wanted, but it was missing one key feature: a single player campaign. Here in Star Wars Battlefront II EA DICE have answered critics cries with a wonderfully crafted story driven campaign.
The story itself takes place at the end of Return of the Jedi during the battle of Endor and fills the gap in the now newly cannon Star Wars timeline up to The Force Awakens. Following an Imperial special forces unit called Inferno Squad, you play as female protagonist Iden Versio, Commander and absolute badass. Picking up in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the second Death Star above the skies of Endor, Iden and her team are tasked with carrying out the Emperor’s final orders, a mysterious mission called Operation: Cinder. There is a beautiful mix of stealth and the ever popular pew pew blast ’em where they stand mechanics at work in Star Wars Battlefront II and I found myself playing Iden as a space age assassin as often as possible.
You’ll not only get to control the main protagonist Iden Versio but you’ll also get the chance to control a variety of vehicles. From stomping around in an AT-AT to screaming around space in futuristic dog fights in TIE Fighters, it all built on the joy inner 5 year old Star Wars fangirl me was having throughout. Sadly I have to gripe that there are no barrel rolls or evasive maneuvers to be had in flying which feels very much like an oversight. This leaves it up to you to avoid locked on missiles by flying skill alone which is very difficult.
You’ll also get the opportunity to play as some of your favourite Star Wars characters. This might seem a little like fan service when the story is based around Iden, but for the most part I feel it’s pulled off nicely and it made for a pleasant diversion from flying and blasting my way through the campaign at times.
This inclusion of Star Wars heroes also proved to be a moment of heartache and saw me burst into tears like Dawson. Those who know me would be aware I love Star Wars, perhaps a little too much, and that Carrie Fisher was an idol of mine. I will always love Princess Leia and while Carrie doesn’t voice this animated Leia (and yes I am aware she is animated), I found myself overcome with an array of emotions during this section of cut scene and gameplay. Well played EA DICE, you win this round.
“… it does provide enough of a challenge for the average gamer to be equal parts frustrated and satisfied…”
To get through the single player mode you are looking at around 7 hours of gameplay, depending on your difficulty setting, which for a campaign in a primarily multiplayer game these days is pretty standard. It’s not a particularly difficult undertaking even on the harder settings but it does provide enough of a challenge for the average gamer to be equal parts frustrated and satisfied, which for me was a good balance.
From key moments throughout the campaign it’s clear Disney has had a role to play here in helping craft out and plot the storyboard for Star Wars Battlefront II. While some fans have stated that it’s a predictable, disjointed and short experience, I personally loved playing through the campaign and I definitely plan on replaying it again at a later date.
The rest of your time will be spent in the game’s various multiplayer modes, which let’s face it is probably the main reason you’re getting Star Wars Battlefront II in the first place. With five different online multiplayer modes on offer; Galactic Assault, Strike, Heroes vs Villains, Starfighter Assault and Blast, it’s clear that the main focus is on getting people into the action and there’s plenty to keep you busy and entertained for weeks.
The main draw card in Star Wars Battlefront II’s multiplayer bundle is Galactic Assault, which was featured during the open beta. This is an epic 20v20 battle where rather than your normal fight to the death, you’re given a number of objectives to complete during the match or suffer attrition. These range from assaulting the Royal Palace on Naboo, holding a point on a map or even taking down the formidable AT-AT.
While the core mechanics of the multiplayer game have remained much the same, its overall layout and set up have been changed drastically from the first Star Wars Battlefront. You have one of four base classes to choose from at the beginning of each round; Assault, Heavy, Specialist, and Officer and you are automatically spawned in squads of five. This encourages you to work together with your teammates to choose classes that best complement each other and will create the greatest advantage. Speaking of advantages, it’s not a Star Wars Battlefront game without Heroes on the field, and the Hero system works somewhat different in Battlefront II.
Where previously there were tokens on the field that saw players scramble like mice to cheese, players now earns “Battle Points,” which are then spent to gain control of characters such as Darth Vader, Luke, Rey or of vehicles . This however is an incredibly skewed system and almost guarantees that only the best top tier players will ever get to actually play as a Hero, leaving newcomers and less experienced players out in the cold Tauntaun-less on Hoth. The game mode Heroes vs Villains does offer some reprieve from this massive imbalance, but it’s a poor substitute for the real issue which is the skewed hero and point system.
Star Wars Battlefront II’s other game modes offer up pretty standard fun. Stike is objective based, while Blast would be more for those, like me looking for deathmatch style gameplay. But for a true Star Wars experience I recommend Starfighter Assault. Offering up the best overall fan service, it’s an objective based mode where players control fighters such as X-Wing’s or TIE fighter’s and are tasked with either destroying or defending a major capital ship or Space Station.
Sadly all of the goodness is over-shadowed by the convoluted player progression system. All over the place, you’ll need Star Cards to help you get stronger, there is a video in the main menu to explain how to use them and you’ll require something called “Crafting Parts” which are not easily obtained. Essentially if it comes with an instructional video on how to use it in the games main menu it’s clearly not a refined, working system. Plus, through all of this there are still loot boxes which are unfortunately essential to your character progression.
Do or do not. There is no try!
At its core in a lot of ways Star Wars Battlefront II is very much like the Death Star. When taken for its whole worth it’s a formidable all-powerful battle station but with a large single flaw, a loot box system filled with inevitable microtransactions, that ultimately in the end could bring about its doom!
For me though there’s just something wonderful about a well-produced Star Wars game and for fans of the franchise and gamers looking to immerse themselves in the universe nothing else quite captures the feel and magic like Star Wars Battlefront II. It expands on the scope of the films like no other Star Wars game out there. The game is still plagued by a few issues but EA do appear to be dedicated to listening to their gaming community to fix these and make the game better. Will it be possible to let Qui Gons be Qui Gons and give EA the benefit of the doubt that they will make these improvements? Only time will tell.