Star Wars Battlefront 2 Review
Finally I have been able to spend some decent quality time with EA’s latest Star Wars offering. Star Wars Battlefront 2 is the official successor to the lackluster Battlefront 1 from 2015. That game, whilst very pretty lacked a campaign story and suffered from repetitive multi-player. For Battlefront 2 EA and Disney have tried to address these major gripes, and mostly succeeded. I won’t go too much into the micro-transactions debacle that has been reported on. Lets just focus on the game.
Finally Star Wars fans are able to once again play a single-player story. I have lost count how many years it has been but I think the last game was The Force Unleashed 2. For Battlefront 2 Disney has arranged a tie-in story. You play, mostly as Iden Versio, an imperial special ops soldier first seen in this summer’s novel Inferno Squad. Iden is voiced and portrayed by actress Janina Gavankar. The story starts just as the rebels defeat the Empire at the Battle of Endor. We follow her initial attempts to get revenge on the rebels, but it would not be Star Wars if there was not a twist.
Besides Iden you will also play as an assortment of other characters including her team mate Dell, Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian. The gameplay is as you may expect diverse. One moment you are running and shooting while in the next you are flying tie-fighters, x-wings and even the Millennium Falcon. Sadly, all of these segments are over too quickly. If you are thinking about a game such as X-wing Alliance you are wrong. In the battlefront 2 it is mostly just shooting down an enemy craft or two and you’re done.
In fact the entire story campaign is over too quickly. It can easily be bested in 2 days on the hardest difficulty setting. That may be upsetting, but I am glad we did get the opportunity. The game is extra-ordinarily beautiful – and I do mean that. From the Endor moon to Jakku to Takodana, the graphics made me gasp. The story meshes perfectly with the gameplay and gives a seamless experience. The campaign does have some replay value, but it could have been stretched with relative ease as well.
I am not certain why EA did not do that. Most of the gameplay involved shooting and blowing up walker tanks, but there are moments where sneaking is also needed. There was the possibility for so much more. Overall, the story gave me a taste for more. Iden Versio is a wonderful character and the chance to play as an Imperial paid dividends. As the story ends on a cliff-hanger I am confident we will see more of Iden.
Multi-player – where the meat is at!
Unlike the single-player campaign EA decided to nuke multi-player. They have pulled out all the stops and crammed in as many vehicles, locations, weapons and characters as they could. It is a good thing they did, and it is works for the most part. Now I have not played everyone of the five modes enough to get a complete opinion. So I will focus in this review on two. With Galactic Assault you are set in a mini campaign. Your team will have to capture a number of objectives to trigger the next phase of the map. Initially this was my focus, but they can be a time sink.
In Starfighter Assault you can do something similar but play in a spacecraft. I enjoyed this mode a lot but at times it can be frustrating as there is little you can do avoid destruction. Also the constant maneuvering made me feel I had no impact on the situation.
The other three modes are condensed so you can play small bouts. I think this is a good idea and they may well end up being the most popular modes. One mode: Heroes vs. Villains focuses solely on death matches with the hero characters. That said playing as one of the heroes also has its drawbacks. Frankly there is nothing you can do when someone else mows you down with a light saber. Sure it is rewarding to kill a hero but that is not how its usually goes down. In my opinion playing as a hero does not feel like a reward and their inclusion unbalances the game.
Overall, I find it hard to judge how much replay value multi-player has. After all, it is not an MMO, and I am not certain if EA will include more objectives and modes in the future. At least, not without having to pay for them. Some promises were made about no longer trying to split the community, but I think hell would freeze over if EA released anything for free.
Battlefront 2 may not be a great game, but its not a bad one either. A lot has been written in the media about how EA mishandled micro-transactions. That may be true, but it is no longer a factor to consider. These planned micro-transactions for upgrade crates are gone, probably for good. What is left to consider is the replay value of Battlefront 2 – the aspect most criticized with the 2015 game.
Arguably it is better than the previous game, but unlocking everything can be completed in a reasonable amount of time. I would guess about 40 hours of multi-player action. That may not sound like a lot but with a twitch shooter I find I can only play short sessions. While I write this I read reviews from other outlets and I am having a hard time agreeing. I see scores such as 6.5 or 7 out of 10 and believe we are being spoiled.
Battlefront 2 has a decent single-player campaign and a good multi-player selection. It feels so much better than its predecessor. I think some outlets intend to be mean just to keep the bandwagon of anti-EA sentiment going. Now, I paid 60 euro’s for this game. It wasn’t easy for me to do. Its difficult to say if it is worth it. I suppose that depends on whether I will still be playing this game in January. Something tells me I won’t be able to resist jumping into a TIE-interceptor.
Yet EA and Disney seriously need to get their shit together when it comes to Star Wars games. The rebooted franchise has been going on for a few years and until now results have been sketchy. Give me a new Rogue Squadron or Knight of the Old Republic or X-Wing or something like that cancelled game Star Wars 1313. I know more games are in development, but closing down development studios gives a bad taste.