If there’s one thing you can count on a Star Wars Battlefront game to give you it’s an experience that drops you right into the Star Wars universe and makes it extremely believable. With DICE at the helm of developing the game again this time around all of the character designs, sounds and visual effects are top notch and keep that track record DICE have looking great.
Probably the biggest appeal and improvement of Battlefront 2 that puts it above its predecessor is the amount of content available at launch, such as more locations, heroes and villains, the addition of the Clone Wars era and finally a single player campaign. Of course, quantity doesn’t equal quality and even though there was plenty of mistakes made with Battlefront 1, it seems there hasn’t been too much learned from them with it’s sequel.
The single player campaign is a 4-6 hour long story played from the point of view of an Imperial Special Forces commander: Iden Versio. Set during and after the events of Return of the Jedi there was a very good opportunity to show some sides to the Empire we never get to see outside of the films or at least do a lot more in-depth story telling about how the Empire is eventually wiped out. Instead we just hop between loosely related events, skipping large amounts of time and with it character development. In addition to that, some very predictable twists thrown in.
Wasted potential is a recurring theme with EA’s Star Wars Battlefront and it’s got to be said for the campaign. A decent chunk of the story actually just pushes Iden aside as a side character in favour of putting familiar heroes as the main focus. While these hero missions are enjoyable (especially Lando’s) and two of them make links into the events of The Force Awakens, they take away from telling the story of Iden and instead make it more a catch-up with the characters we already know and love.
Despite it’s problems in pacing and structure Battlefront 2’s campaign is still a very enjoyable experience, bridging some gaps left between the events of the original film trilogy and the new one with the solid gameplay plus amazing visuals and sound. I would also like to mention that there are events in the campaign which definitely hint at there being more to the story; so here’s to hoping that this comes as part of the free content to be released, and we won’t have to wait for another sequel to see the remainder of a story which already had most of it taken from us.
A returning mode in Battlefront 2 is the Arcade. In this mode players work their way through various challenges for the Light and Dark Side, each of which have 3 tiers of increasing difficulty. A lot of these challenges are essentially wave defence or a small team battle with bots but with various modifiers to gameplay to make them more challenging (or easier depending on which tier you’re on). For example: One challenge might have you fighting on Kamino as clone troopers but everybody, including yourself is a one shot kill. The next challenge you might be using Kylo Ren and cutting down rebels on Starkiller Base with increased ability regen but a very short timer.
Arcade is still very much a mode to just go into and play around with, allowing players to complete various challenges and gain credit rewards for milestone completions also. As a credit source normally it is near useless as you can only earn a small amount of credits a day for actually beating challenges. I still had fun going through every challenge and tier though and got myself a special Han Solo appearance option for doing so which was a nice little bonus.
The multiplayer is both Battlefront’s biggest strength and it’s weakness. Several modes are available to players to jump into, these are: Galactic Assault, Starfighter Assault, Blast, Strike, and Heroes vs Villains. Across each of these modes apart from heroes vs villains) the main focus is now on the class based combat with players selecting from Assault, Heavy, Specialist and Officer troops with varying abilities and play styles to fight their way to victory.
Galactic Assault is the main game mode that most players go to. 20v20, 40 man matches in which an attacking team must push past a defending team and complete a series of objectives. While playing players can earn battle points in each individual match and spend them in that match to spawn in with powerful vehicles, fighters, upgraded troopers or even their favourite heroes and villains. Starfighter Assault is a slightly smaller 24 man mode which has the same attack/defend concept of galactic assault except with starfighters. Battle points in this mode allow players to spawn in as heroes or villains in their own unique ships.
Heroes vs Villains has been revamped for Battlefront 2 and replaces the old version that was in Battlefront. Instead of a 6v6 where 3 randomly picked players spawning as heroes while the other 3 are troopers on each team, the mode has been changed to a 4v4 mode in which everyone chooses a hero or villain each depending on their side and fight it out, each trying to kill an opposing marked player to take points off the enemy team. First to kill 10 marked targets wins. Definitely a more fun and less random version of the mode than its last iteration, especially with a squad of friends. The final 2 modes, Blast and Strike are just your standard deathmatch and small scale objective modes which you’d expect from any FPS. heroes and villains aren’t available in this mode, nor are vehicles so you’ll have to rely on your good ol’ blaster to get by.
I’m sure by now you all know of the progression system in Battlefront 2 and the controversy surrounding it. I’m going to talk about it anyway and as of the time of me writing this microtransactions have been cut out completely so I will factor this in the review. Progression on Battlefront 2 has two separate parts: Star Cards, Player Level, Credits and Class Level. Players must play matches and complete milestones to unlock credits. These credits allow you to unlock various locked heroes and villains which are unavailable to you from the start. There credits also need to be spent on crates if you want to get star cards which upgrade each individual hero, villain and class in the game. Without these cards you can’t level up whatever you’re putting the cards on and if you don’t do that you can use crafting parts to focus on other specific cards you want.
Confusing? A little but stay with me. Alongside class level requirements to upgrade the cards you got from pure luck, you must also play the game and gain player levels so you can craft past each of the 4 rarity levels of each card. Essentially, the progression system in Battlefront 2 is one of the most overly complicated, random, grindy, unsatisfying progression systems I’ve ever has the displeasure of seeing. It’s a shame as well because everything else about the multiplayer is top notch. I don’t need to say much else on this though since every gamer and their grandparents know everything about how this system is meant to be undergoing changes so we’ll see what direction EA takes.