Publisher – Electronic Arts
Platforms – PlayStation 4, ( Reviewed) Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Release Date – November 17th, 2017
2017 is definitely a big year for fans of Star Wars. With less than a month away from the latest film, Star Wars The Last Jedi, we get our first taste of something that is a Star Wars product. Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a sequel to 2015’s Battlefront. Unfortunately, my time with Battlefront was rather short, I didn’t manage to pick the game up until last year. While I did enjoy the multiplayer action what I was mostly craving for was a single player story set in the Star Wars universe and this is really the biggest reason while I waited so long to play the game. Plus there were just too many other games that I wanted to play. Battlefront 2 thankfully does have a single player story campaign and that’s the first thing I want to talk about for this review.
The campaign bridges the gap between The Return of the Empire and The Force Awakens. You play as Iden Versio who is the commander of an Imperial special forces squad called the Inferno Squad. Iden and her squad are actually on Endor when the second Death Star is destroyed. From here you are given your final orders from the Emperor. Iden and her squad are instructed to destroy the Rebellion and to strike fear across the galaxy by purging planets.
The first issue I have with the campaign comes down to the overall story. The story that was told was unfortunately predictable and extremely short. You can easily beat the came in one play session and this is without rushing through the campaign. There are only 12 missions in the campaign and they are relatively short. The predictably comes down to Iden’s moral choices.
*The following paragraphs will contain minor spoilers*
The biggest reason I was excited about this campaign was that we were going to get to play as the Empire. I was excited to play as the bad guy, which is something that doesn’t happen too often in a Star Wars game. Unfortunately, this doesn’t last too long. Shortly into the game, literally during the third mission after Iden and her squad are sent to the Imperial controlled world Vardos and are supposed to escort a high-value target before the planet is ultimately destroyed.
Once you land on the planet you’ll get to see to Stormtroopers holdback civilians at gunpoint, and even shooting down escaping ships. For this sequence, you are able to freely explore, at least as far as the game will let you, all the chaos that is happening due to the Empire. I question Iden’s moral choices because I just can’t see someone who was practically raised since being a child to serve the Empire faithfully would just give up her military career so quickly and so easily. Sure she saw the Empire doing some bad stuff to their own people but I find it hard to believe that this was the first time she had seen the Empire do something bad to their own people.
Let’s take a look at one her squad members Del. Now, Del he actually as a reason for switching that actually makes sense. Del finds himself on the Pillio looking to retrieve something from the Emperor’s Observatory. Along the way get trapped and is rescued by Luke Skywalker. Del is surprised that a Jedi helped him and isn’t anything like the Jedi Knights are described in the stories. Due to this encounter, Del does start to have a change of heart. When switches to the Rebellion with Iden the switch feels a lot more natural compared to Iden’s switch.
Now, if the campaign would have longer I wouldn’t have been as disappointed. The switch to the Rebellion just happens too quickly that I just didn’t care about her change. Still, I would have preferred to stay on the Empire’s side the entire game.
*End of Spoilers
Now, that we’ve talked about the story let’s move on to the gameplay. The gameplay in Battlefront 2 ranges from good to average. The combat feels fantastic and is always fast-paced and taking out Stormtroopers with a blaster is always a blast. The guns that you use actually have recoil, making it feel like the guns actually have some weight to them. The recoil on some of the blasters can be really nasty, so you can’t really just run around and aimlessly fire your gun, you’ll actually need to carefully aim in order to fight the recoil.
While playing as Iden she can use a number of different abilities that can be swapped in and out at load-out crates. Throughout the campaign, you’ll unlock more abilities that can be equipped. All of these abilities can also be used in the multiplayer. For the most part, I just stuck to a thermal grenade, a shield, and a shotgun. Iden also has a droid. For the most part, I found the droid to be useless. The droids best feature was that it could shock enemies which would instantly kill them. I would have liked to of seen the droid do a little more than just shock people and open doors.
I did have one issue when it came to controlling Iden. For some reason DICE took out the ability to roll, instead, Iden can only crouch behind cover. I just find it strange that you can’t roll since in the multiplayer you can roll and crouch. Why can’t you do the same in the campaign? There’s really no answer to why you can’t. I can’t tell you how many times throughout the campaign where a roll would have saved my life.
One of my favorite parts of the campaign was when you got to jump into the cockpit of a TIE fighter or an X-Wing. These moments can be extremely tense and a lot of fun. I found the controls to be a lot easier to control than the previous Battlefront and even DICE’s Battlefield games. I was actually able to be competitive while flying and wasn’t crashing within a few seconds. To be honest I would’ve loved if there would have more sections of ship combat, for me that’s where the campaign really shines.
What disappointed me with the campaign was the style of missions you engage in. Most of the objectives simply have you getting to a thing and either destroying or defending that specific thing. The issue is that there are no real tactics or strategy, for the most part, the missions just feel like a chaotic shooting gallery. It’s fun shooting gallery but it still lacks any depth. With Iden being the commander of a squad, I was expecting that I would actually get to control my squad in some way; however, that’s not the case. Being able to have a squad member performing suppressing fire, having them flank a rebel sniper or even move up could have at least added some depth to the mission.
My biggest gripe with the campaign is that there are certain times where you play a character that isn’t Iden. The issue with these missions is that they distract with the Iden’s story and doesn’t add anything to the main story. It was nice playing as some classic characters from Star Wars but I would have rather of played as them in a different game.
There are some memorable missions in the campaign. One being the battle of Jakku. The mission has you start off in the sky, protecting ships from bombers and engaging in some intense dogfights. You then move on to ground combat all without a loading screen. This honestly was the best mission, it really felt like a real large-scale futuristic battle, even if the mission is rather short.
My last issue with the campaign is how it ends. The story ends in just an unsatisfying way, leaving many unanswered questions unanswered. Most likely the story will continue in the future DLC and even though the DLC will be free I still can’t give this a pass. Even with free DLC I still want a good conclusion to a storyline in the base game and unfortunately, Battlefront 2 does not offer that.
Overall I am happy that a single player story was added in Battlefront 2 even if it’s not exactly what I was hoping for. Next, it’s time to move on to the meat of the game. The multiplayer.
First thing’s first let’s talk about the controversy that has been escalating ever since the open BETA. That controversy is microtransactions and loot-crates. As of right now, microtransactions has been temporarily disabled so you can’t buy crystals to use to buy loot-crates. However, loot-crates are still in the game since they are tied to your progression.
There are three crates that you can open in the game. Trooper, Starfighter, and hero. Each crate also as the chance of giving you star-cards from the other crates, crafting parts, and credits. Here’s the issue with the progression system in Battlefront 2, progression is completely random. It doesn’t matter if the only class you’ve been playing as is assault when you go to open a trooper crate you might get star-cards for the heavy class or even the officer class.
This randomized progression makes it difficult to get the type of upgrades you need or want to upgrade the class you are playing as. Before I get any further into the progression I want to actually talk about star-cards are. Each class has three abilities that they can perform to help them out in the combat. Star-cards basically can act as upgrades to these abilities. They can give damage boosts to, decrease the cooldown of an ability, and can help out with health regeneration. So, star-cards are extremely important which is why I’ve been frustrated with this system.
With it being randomized it can be hard to feel like you are truly making any type of progress for a specific class. For example, recently I had played up for over two hours as the heavy class. By the end of my play session, I had enough credits to purchase a good amount of loot-crates. I ended up buying three trooper crates. Two of the crates had the same exact duplicate star-card for Yoda, an emote for the assault class, some crafting parts, and credits. The third was crafting parts, star-cards for a TIE Fighter, and the officer class. Not once did a get something for the heavy class. Really it made my entire three – two hours play session feel almost pointless.
I feel that they should have used the progression from Battlefield 1. After a few hours of playing any game mode, I always felt like I was unlocking new weapon every time I had leveled up and was specific to the class and playstyle I was using. While Battlefront 2 definitely has a little more to unlock when compared to Battlefield 1 I still felt that Battlefield was rewarding me a lot more for my time playing.
Could DICE make changes to the progression? I think they could but it would just depend on if they would want to make any changes. Loot-crates if they even really need to be in the game should be regulated to containing cosmetic items, while ranking up should unlock star-cards specific to the class you primarily play as. As of right now, you don’t gain anything for ranking up, making it pointless to even have a rank at all. It would be nice if they actually gave you some credits for ranking up or even a crate.
There are ways of gaining star-cards without having to open crates and that is by using crafting parts. The downside is that you only gain crafting parts through the random chance of the loot-crates. Even if you do manage to get parts from a crate, you really only get 50 parts. The most I had got was 100 parts. Crafting parts can also be used upgrade cards that you had already unlocked. In order to upgrade your cards, you have to have the required number of parts and you class as to be the correct rank. Your class rank only increases when you unlock cards. So if you’ve unlocked 20 cards, your class rank is 20.
Now that we’ve talked about the progression it’s time to talk about the game modes and gameplay. Battlefront 2 offers five different game-modes across 11 different maps. Galactic Assault, Starfight Assult, Heroes Vs Villians, Strike, and Blast. For the most part, I found my self-playing Galactic Assault and Starfighter Assault. Both modes are a bit similar to one another, however Glacatic Assault pits two teams of twenty players in intense ground combat, while Starfighter assault pits 24 players with 40 AI ships in chaotic space combat.
One big improvement to the multiplayer over the previous game is how you can access to vehicles, heroes, and villains. In Battlefront 1, if you wanted to play as Luke, you’d have to wait for a random hero token to pop up on the battlefield and depending on which player got to it, they would get to play as Luke. The same went for if you wanted to use an X-Wing or TIE Fighter.
Battlefront 2 uses a much better system that gives every player a chance at using a vehicle and hero or villain. Everything you do during a match whether it’s getting a kill, playing the objective, damaging an enemy, getting an assist, and even dying will give battlepoints. Whenever you would die the battlepoints would get added to your total score. The battlepoints could then be used to spawn as an X-Wing, TIE Fighter or any other ground and air vehicles. Battlepoints are also used to spawn as a hero or a villain. What I like about this system over the previous one is that it does allow for a bit of strategy during a match. It might be wise to spend your battlepoints at a later point in the match, rather than early on and choosing what you spawn can be important as well. The system also for more flexibility since you get to choose what you want to spawn as.
What I also like about the battlepoints is that it’s not a huge advantage for the players with the most skill. While a player who is more skilled will gain battlepoints at a faster rate, a player who isn’t as skilled will still earn points at a steady rate. I am not the greatest player at Battlefront 2, in fact, I am really not great at multiplayer in general but I still found myself earning plenty of battlepoints throughout a match where I still felt I was able to be competitive.
During my time with the multiplayer, the modes that I really didn’t focus too much on was Strike, Blast, and Heroes Vs Villians. It wasn’t because I found the modes to be bad, I just didn’t have as much fun playing them as I did with Galactic Assault and Starfighter Assault. Strike and Blast felt I was really just using as warm-up matches before jumping into Galactic Assault. I did enjoy the smaller scale battles but shorter rounds at times didn’t really seem like it was worth the loading screen just to get into a match.
As for Heroes Vs Villians, my issue with this mode comes down to a few things, one being that there just isn’t enough players playing it and while that’s not exactly a fault of the game, I feel that more players would be playing it if it was a little more fun. In this game mode, it’s 4v4 where every character you have unlocked is available to play as. One player on each team gets selected as a target and the opposite team as to kill that target in order to get a point. The biggest issue with this mode comes down to heroes who wield lightsabers. Controlling these characters, especially Yoda can be extremely difficult to control. The controls can just feel very awkward when trying to use someone who uses a lightsaber and with a mode that’s about dueling, I was hoping for better controls and more ways of attacking rather than just mashing the attack button.
Next up let’s talk about the maps. As mentioned before there are currently 11 maps to play on, each are spread across the three different eras. Each map felt different from a previous one and was filled with small little details. Even the maps that didn’t enjoy too much I can still appreciate how well designed the maps are. My personal favorite map was on the planet Kamino, fighting on the cloning facility from Attack of the Clones. The map first has you starting off inside the building fighting in tight hallways and one large open section, after that you move on to the outside fighting on three different platforms. This map is layered is so many details that I had just wished I could explore the map without being in combat. When your inside the facility you’ll see clone troopers who have been injured while fighting, and clones will run to secure a weapon. Once outside it’s all out war. The battle takes place during a heavy storm and waves crash into the building, in massive droid vehicles scale the buildings firing at NPC clones. There’s just too much going on to describe everything that happens on this map. Every map is like this though. There’s plenty going on in the background that will cause you to get distracted because you want to watch what’s going on.
There is one issue that I did have with the maps and it’s how you get into a map. Once you select a game mode, you are then randomly selected a map. The issue I have with this is that they are maps that I just don’t like to play on or I get put into the same map over and over. I’d personally like to be able to select the map that I want to play on. It took for me forever just to see every map the game had to offer. Plus I just don’t want to play on Hoth anymore. Hoth isn’t a terrible map but compared to the other I did find it to be the weakest one. Hoth’s biggest issue comes down to its terrain. I can’t tell you how many times where I got stuck on a small hill even though it was something I should have easily been able to walk over. Hoth is just filled with too many invisible walls and because of this I just found the map very frustrating to play on.
Last part of the multiplayer experience I want to talk about is what you’ll unlock and challnges. When it comes to customizing your character there’s actually nothing you get to customize. Your stormtrooper will look exactly the same as everyone else’s stormtrooper, the same goes for any droid or rebel. It’s that Battlefront 2 took this big of a step backwards when in the previous game you were able to unlock different skins for your characters. The only little extras your characters get are really cheesy emotes.
What’s really unacceptable is how many guns each class has. All four classes have four weapons they can use. The first is unlocked by default the other three you unlock through progression. So, how do you unlock the other thee guns? You unlock these guns by getting a certain number of kills with the last weapon you unlocked. Once you do unlock a gun there are three attachments that you can equip, these are also unlocked by getting kills. Hopefully down the road, they add more guns to unlock because four guns in any FPS is unacceptable let alone a Star Wars FPS.
Throughout your multiplayer career, you’ll get to work through a good number of challenges. Most of these challenges have you using a class for a number of minutes, getting a certain number of kills, getting the first kill in a match, plus many more. Completing a challenge will give you credits, crystals (used to by loot-crates and only available with real cash, currently disabled.) and even loot-crates. Most challenge you’ll complete just by playing the game and will unlock them without any real effort, other you may have to work a little to complete. The sad thing is the challenges really was the only thing that felt like real progression since I could actually see what I was working towards and knew what the reward was going to be upon completion.
Next, let’s talk about the performance. For the most part, Battlefront 2 ran pretty solid, I never experienced a single crash, framerate was stable throughout the came even when a lot was happening on screen and only experienced a few minor glitches. When it came to connection during multiplayer I did notice a few lag spikes, but I never once got discounted from a match. In terms of the glitches, I encountered nothing was really game-breaking. The most annoying one was during an online match. I got caught between a building and a small cliff. The only way I was able to escape was by killing myself. One hilarious glitch I found was during the campaign, I was sneaking up on a stormtrooper and he was literally sliding across the ground with his feet. I didn’t even attack him right away just so I could see how long till he would start moving his feet. The last glitch I found was again during the campaign where a stormtrooper had sunk halfway into the ground.
Finally let’s talk about sound, voice, and graphics. Really there’s not much too really talk about on any one of these sections. Every sound from the sound of a blaster going off. a TIE Fighter soars in space, the siren on the Death Star, to the roar of a Wookie sound exactly how like they do from the movies. Voice acting wise again there isn’t much to criticize. Voices for the heroes or villains are just ripped lines from the movies. As for the campaign, the only voice I really didn’t care for was Idens. Just like her personality, her acting was wooden and just uninspiring.
As for the graphics there no denying that this game is stunning. If I was rating the game just based on how it looks, it would be a solid 9/10. The only thing really stopping the looks to get a 10/10 is the character models. Some of the models when up close just looks ugly to looks at. Luke is the biggest victim, there’s really no words describe how horrible his model looks. I’d say the map that looks the best is playing on Kashyyyk when it’s on its night cycle. Seeing the red and green colors of blasters being fired in every direction, mixed with the bright flashes of explosion just mixes in perfectly with the clam blackness of the night sky. This was one of those maps where I’d find myself getting distracted by the visuals.
Overall Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a mixed bag. The gameplay is honestly a lot of fun and the multiplayer is super addictive. I found myself wanting to come home from work and jump into a match. However, while the gameplay is fun and the multiplayer is fun the game suffers from one fatal flaw and that’s with its progression. If Battlefront 2 wants to keep players playing this game for the rest of the year and till the next game comes out then they seriously need to get a progression system that feels rewarding and isn’t just random. As for the campaign that’s probably the part of the game I was disappointed with the most. I love that single player campaign was included but I was expecting more from a Star Wars storyline.
So, is Star Wars Battlefront 2 worth the $60? I’ve enjoyed my time playing the game and I am most likely going to continue playing it even after I am done with this review, it probably won’t be a much but I can see myself continuing to play it. However, this is one of those time where I wish that the multiplayer and story was sold separately. The multiplayer is all I am going to be playing from now on and if I could have just spent $30 on the multiplayer and not get the campaign then I would have preferred that option and it’s not because I don’t want a single player campaign I just don’t want to pay $60 for a mediocre 4 hour campign along with multiplayer.
Final Rating for Star Wars Battlefront 2: 6/10