Star Wars Battlefront II is set to release on November 17, 2017, and has already received boatloads of criticism. I have had the chance to sink around 16 hours into the game, from the beta, EA Access early trial, and early release for Deluxe owners. I will start by reviewing the campaign, followed by the multiplayer aspects of the game, and finally my review of the game as a whole.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 Campaign
This is your warning. RED FLASHING LIGHTS. If you continue reading this part of the article it will contain spoilers for the campaign. If you don’t want any spoilers yet skip to the Star Wars Battlefront II Multiplayer section.
The Sights, The Sounds, & Immersion
The game and cinematic cutscenes are absolutely beautiful. As a kid who grew up watching Star Wars Episode IV on repeat, I dreamed of being a Rebel pilot flying an X-wing. Battlefront II delivers in these areas. The sights, the sounds, the iconic music. It is all there for casual to hardcore Star Wars fans to enjoy. In one of my favorite moments early in the campaign, DICE has you flying through the rubble of the second Death Star. I felt completely immersed in the game at this point. Everything just felt right. It felt Star Wars. There is not much more you can ask for when it comes to feeling immersed in a game this quickly.
One of the issues I had with the campaign was how short the story was, however, this did not take away from its quality. The ending of the campaign leaves the door open for the Live Team to take over, and drop more story missions and content. The story gave me an opportunity to play with some of my favorite characters in the Star Wars universe, including Luke Skywalker. What I love about this part of the story is that DICE does a fantastic job of maintaining the spirit of who Luke is from what we see on the big screen in Episodes IV through VI. He is a wise, young Jedi compelled to always see the good in people, even members of the Inferno Squad. Being young Han again, playing as Lando, and many other moments left me with a smile on my face. DICE did a great job of keeping these iconic characters true to their film counterparts. I couldn’t help but chuckle at some of the banter. It was fantastic.
With all this said, the story was a little predictable. Pretty early on you could tell that part of the Inferno Squad was going to be defectors. For those of you who had hoped to play as Imperial agents the whole time, and slaughter rebels, you might be slightly disappointed. However, the predictable twist did not detract from the story as a whole. Having played the first installment, Star Wars Battlefront, I loved having the story be brought back to the Battle of Jakku. Seeing some of the maps that I got to play on in multiplayer, but in a campaign, was a nice touch of nostalgia. Initially, I thought that Jakku was the end. But the story continued on and leads us up to the creation of the First Order, and what Operation Cinder seemed to be about. We see Kylo Ren beginning his zealous pursuit to find the map to where Luke Skywalker went. And what did that ending mean for Star Wars fans? Did we get a hint of who Rey’s parents are?
Overall I would have to give the story a solid 8.5.
It could have been longer, and the twist could have been a little less predictable, but overall I had a blast playing it. I can’t remember the last time I smiled and chuckled as much during a game. In my book that’s a win, because I had fun.
Star Wars Battlefront Multiplayer
Since the campaign only took me about 5 or so hours to complete I have spent most of my time in the multiplayer part of Star Wars Battlefront II. So, that means I’ve spent roughly 11 hours playing multiplayer. I know there have been many headlines and complaints about how the grind for credits would be horrible and force you to purchase loot boxes. So far, I have not found that to be the case. I haven’t even started looking at trying to grind out challenges and already have two of the most iconic characters in the game; Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. If you want my opinion on the loot boxes you can read about it here.
Loot Boxes & Its Effect On Multiplayer
Based on the time I have sunk into the multiplayer, I cannot see a large impact on the gameplay. There is certainly an impact from the standpoint, for example, that the damage output or amount of rockets Boba Feet can shoot from his wrist rockets increases, or the intensity of Kylo Ren’s Rage ability. This early in the game it has not been a detriment to the gameplay from my experience. From what I can tell using the eyeball and feel tests, the game is balanced enough that the advantages are so marginal you can overcome them with skill. I have encountered a few individuals with maxed out Star Cards, but I could still outplay them. So, there is still a level of skill involved for those who are worried about those paying for loot boxes. The fact that higher level cards cannot be equipped until that character is leveled up may help offset the pay to win fears being shouted about on the internet, but it may still be a deterrent from purchasing the game for some. My opinion on this could change over time, and we have more mixed leveled individuals playing together. We have yet to see how that will play out with those at lower skill levels. At this moment though, I haven’t had any rage-inducing moments, even though I am a very competitive individual. The loot box impact has been very minimal in my experiences in multiplayer.
The way I measure the quality of online multiplayer games using a fun meter. If I am having lots of fun, then mission accomplished studio, you got my vote. For all the fuss over the pay to win fears I still found myself having fun. I was laughing. Yelling with my friends, “DID YOU SEE THAT?!”. Which are all good things when playing a video game. One example was when I was playing Heroes vs Villains and a random person I was playing with instantly joined in on the fun.
— MHG (@MulehornGaming) November 15, 2017
There are plenty of game modes to pick from, couch co-op Arcade Mode, Strike, Blast, Starfighter Assault, Heroes vs Villains, and Galactic Assault. However, I did notice there are no custom matches.
Shoot and Scoot
From the standpoint of a shooter, the game feels very tight. Just like the previous installment, the game offers you the ability to switch between three different views. First person, and over the right or left shoulder. The movement feels fluid and the weapons feel varied enough to give you lots of different options. I did notice that sometimes the lightsaber hit detection was a little off. Sometimes I could score a nice strike, and other times I’d fly by an enemy missing them. I will say, however, this iteration of Star Wars Battlefront feels better as a shooter than the previous title.
Overall I’d have to give the multiplayer a 7.5.
I would rank it higher but let’s all be honest here. EA botched their approach to loot boxes. The fears of pay to win are already looming ahead of its official launch date on Friday, and some individuals within the community have taken a turn becoming very hostile. Thankfully, the Live Team is listening and updating the game as we speak, and it is in a better place than it was during the beta.
Overall Review & Score
This game is a gem I think that will be underappreciated because of negative publicity. Yes, EA messed up, but the game is still very enjoyable. The fun factor is high with me on this one as I see improvements from the previous Battlefront. The story is enticing with fun banter that left me feeling entertained; and who doesn’t want to swing a lightsaber in multiplayer?
Final verdict? 8.0.
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