If you haven’t been following the media recently, let me tell you this about EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2, it’s a mess.
The first Battlefront felt like a rushed attempt to push out a game for Disney before the release of The Force Awakens, and for the most part DICE had come out and fully admitted this was the flaw of the original, stating that many features that they wanted to do was missing in order to meet the deadline set in regards. Now DICE and EA had plenty of time to build the game they wanted, the only problem is that Business has stepped in and killed what could have been one of the best Star Wars Multiplayer experiences yet.
Of the new features that were missing in the original Battlefront is the game’s story-mode. This mode was highly promoted as an “untold story in the Star Wars universe” from the point of view from The Empire, but was really from the point of view of a specific Inferno Squad member Iden Versio, after the events of Return of the Jedi.
While story-mode serves as a fun set of missions to give you some structure against the chaotic (in comparison) multiplayer and Arcade modes, the story itself is extremely weak. What could and should have been about the rise of the First Order Empire leading up to the events of The Force Awakens, our story gets a predictable twist extremely early in the game, ending with a set piece battle that was not hyped up, and even then was extremely underwhelming.
A saving grace for the story mode is the cast and their ability to hold interest in the game well past a point where I felt like I needed to stop the campaign and play something else. That is mainly thanks to Janina Gavankar (True Blood, Arrow) who plays Iden, and her squadmates played by Paul Blackthorne (Arrow, The Dresden Files) and T.J. Ramini (24, Uncharted 3).
Of course, like all the other Battlefront games in the past, the multiplayer experience is what everyone is here for. Battlefront 2 has several modes including the 40-player Galactic Assault mode, to smaller battle modes like Strike, Heroes and Villains, Space Battles and Blast.
Blast could really be just described as team deathmatch while Strikes fall to Capture the Flags or Hold the Point games. Meanwhile, the Space battles throws you in directly into space combat with specific missions objectives to follow, and Heroes and Villains throws you directly into powerful hero combat in 4v4 battles.
The Galactic Assault is the real impressive mode here, giving multiple missions to accomplish from defending locations, planting explosives, escorting tanks and much more. Each of these missions stretches across all three time-lines of the Star Wars movies and really empathise the scope of these battles.
There is also a single-player and split-screen co-op arcade mode which allows you to hold mock battles and complete challenge modes, these modes are fairly basic and gives you a chance to test loadouts and heroes before having to spend credits on them, which serves as a nice break from the grinding you’ll be doing in the multiplayer.
While the game modes and the multiplayer experience at its core is great, Progression in Battlefront 2 is slowed by a nasty Lootbox system that has been the centre of controversy since launch. While DICE has attempted to do better on this area, at the time of writing this review, I found that the game was still heavy on the pay-to-win side (despite Crystals – the games form of taking real world money – were disabled due to said controversy.)
The reason why I felt that it was this way is due to the fact that weapons and powerful star cards skills are not able to be purchased via credits on their own, but instead must be found in lootboxes. This gives you the least amount of control over how you’re able to build your characters, and makes it that you have to depend on luck than careful planning to defend against other players.
It doesn’t make it better that a lot of heroes are locked behind credit paywall either, forcing you to choose to save up credits for lootboxes that will give you better gear or for the ability to use Darth Vader on the battlefield (who is then locked behind a skill based system that will only allow you to play him in a match if you do a high score in your match).
Star Wars Battlefront 2 at its core gameplay and features – is a great game, but until EA and DICE fixes the Lootbox situation, I CANNOT recommend it to anyone. You’re better off buying the original Star Wars: Battlefront 2 which thanks to Disney and GOG has restored multiplayer on PC.