Let me start off by saying i was a massive fan of the first Battlefront that came out on the PS4 and Xbox One. So when they announced there was going to be a second one, I was like a kid at Christmas, super excited to spend more than my fair share of hours fighting through landscapes from all three cinematic eras of Star Wars. Along with the Multiplayer that we all know and love, this time we are being treated to a single player campaign which puts us in control of Commander Iden Versio in a new original story unravelling after the events of Return of the Jedi.
OK so now that my gushing for the Star Wars series is over, I will get stuck into what I think of the game having spent a good 25hrs playing the single player and multiplayer (oh the grind is real).
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a sequel that has managed to greatly improve upon what its predecessor had given us. In some ways it feels like the weapons hit harder and give the feel they are doing serious damage like a Blaster should. We are treated to a single player campaign, a wider variety of locations along with a better selection of Star Wars heroes, from everyones favourite, Yoda, to most recent, Kylo Ren, with everyone else in between. As good as this all is, the game has a seriously awful progression system along with what feels like a rushed and disjointed story, which keeps this from being so much more than just hollow Star Wars fun.
Like the first game, Battlefront 2 captures the look and feel of the Star Wars Universe with stunningly beautiful, highly detailed levels, vehicles and characters strewn across some of the most recognisable destinations. Every screech from the TIE fighters, sounds from the Blasters and the battle droids sound like they are straight out of the movies. The outstandingly recreated locations such as Maz Kanata’s bar from The Force Awakens, to the Palace on Naboo from The Phantom Menace, are exciting to explore even when you are being shot at. The Sound effects and wonderful soundtrack also deserve a special shout out as they done a lot to sink me into a world that myself and everyone else are already familiar with.
Battlefronts 2 campaign caters very well to the fandom, but ends up a bit of a mish mash because of a vital reason. With the Campaign clocking in just over a mere 4 hours long, even if that, with most of it following the Story of Imperial Special Forces Commander Iden Versio. So from the Final moments of Return of the Jedi into the new Era from The Force Awakens and onto The Last Jedi (which i am buzzing for) the story has a darker choice of perspective and the plot moves forward in a very linear fashion from there.
Several Missions throughout the campaign put you in direct control of the heroes that are available in multiplayer, while these missions are fun they feel shoved into Iden’s story just so we have a chance to sample them, albeit she is almost entirely absent during these segments along with a couple of less than stellar voice impersonators, I’m looking at you Kylo Ren and Darth Vader. During my play through of the story it always felt that the events we are participating in really don’t seem to have any impact on the story the game is telling us. Even when we reach Operation Cinder, the Empires next Big Bad Weapon, it is all resolved before we even reach the campaigns halfway point with a time jump shortly after, which skips any sort of character development along the way. All of the story problems aside we are still treated to what I consider an absolute spectacle of the Star Wars Universe, even if it is a very straightforward first person shooter.
As was the way in the first we are treated to large scale multiplayer modes, which is the most compelling reason to play battlefront. It starts by getting all the fundamental aspects right, the weapons feel very satisfying to fire especially since the original, which anyone familiar with the first one will know, that sounds play a massive role in this world with booming and familiar effects from every gun.
You have four classes to choose from, these being Assault, Officer, Specialist and Heavy. Each class all come with unique weapons and set of abilities that make each stand out from one another, without making us feel that any of them are more or less appealing. This also stretches into the Heroes we can call into a fight. EA wisely ditching the spawning pickups in favour of the battle points you earn through your performance in game. When these characters are available they are stupidly strong and let you rip through your competition. Even though they are super strong, they still require a certain level of control to use them to their full effectiveness. That said, when you know there is a hero on the map, it can feel a little bit punishing to amble around a corner to get slapped in the face with the whoosh of a lightsaber.
Ok so onto the Super grindy progression system that, when EA first annouced, we all heavily sighed at this ranging from stupidly high priced star cards that would take near 40hours to unlock through general play, to the loot boxes and micro-transactions. EA essentially gave the impression that this game was Pay-To-Win from the off which suits no one in my opinion. Trying to build up a Star Card Collection is a meaty grind as credits are primarily earned through multiplayer matches based on length. Your performance has a slight impact on credit rewards but honestly it was so difficult to tell how much going from round to round. Even with ‘one time’ bonuses, credits you can earn from the campaign and certain achievements, it takes a stupidly long time to earn credits. Even with EA’s last minute decision to remove real money micro-transactions entirely (for the minute anyway) this is still a very slow way to progress your characters.
From the Start the whole idea of micro-transactions and loot boxes seemed like a bit of an ill conceived idea, but i thought I will give it a chance and maybe grow to get used to it. I was very wrong. I actually think this system got worse the more I played. The reason i say this is because the more credits you gain the more you want to open these bloody loot boxes which you will see duplicate cards appear instead of watching your collection grow and with these duplicates provide a handful of measly credits to spend on, yes you guessed it, more crates.
Now aside from the stupid progression system this doesn’t mean that the multiplayer is suddenly not fun to play, just don’t be expecting it to be a competitive shooter like your Counter Strike, COD or Battlefield. Simply put, its more of a lighthearted Star Wars Shooter which it absolutely excels at in the moment. From the simple things such as running round as a droid shouting “roger roger”, to playing as Yoda bouncing around after every lightsaber swing. I feel that there is enough within the game to distract from the broken and unbalanced system.
DIAGNOSIS – MAJOR SURGERY
While Battlefront 2 does so many things right, offering the Star Wars experience that we as fans deserve, thanks to its stunning delivery of epic space battles to boots on the ground feeling; it fails hard in other areas such as the campaign. While it is amusing, it just doesn’t feel important and with the time jump there is little character development seen. Worse still, with the multiplayer randomised progression system through loot boxes, its just downright insulting to us as players and fans, along with EA making two massive changes in the lead up to launch of the title.