Star Wars Battlefront 2 Review

The beloved Star Wars Battlefront series died off for a number of years on consoles after the release of the second entry back in 2005 before being revived as part of EA’s exclusive partnership with the Star Wars property in 2015. For as good as the game looked, the content was sorely lacking, which prompted the addition of a single player campaign in the already controversial Star Wars Battlefront 2.

There have been many Star Wars games over the years, but none looked as good as the Battlefront reboot. With a couple more years into the modern consoles, DICE has managed to elevate that to another level with Star Wars Battlefront 2 though. Personally playing on the new Xbox One X, the visuals are outstanding and easily one of the best looking games I’ve ever seen. Seeing recreations of the many locales found in the game with this level of visual design and clarity is a real treat here, especially when it’s mixed with the stellar soundtrack.

One of the biggest disappointments about the more recent Battlefront reboot in 2015 was the complete lack of a single player campaign or really much of any single player content at all. EA looked to course correct this time around though by getting Jade Raymond’s Motive Studios to help out with a brand new single player campaign that offers players a brand new story that interweaves newly created characters with those we know and love.

Star Wars Battlefront 2’s campaign starts off right around the time of Return of the Jedi with new protagonist Iden Versio that has been captured by the Rebellion, though this was part of her plan. As seen in the marketing for the game, we get to see the Imperial side of things right here as the Empire had what we thought was a death blow dealt to it with the destruction of the second Death Star. Without going into full spoiler territory, I will be discussing a few aspects that you may prefer to keep a surprise, so skip the next paragraph if you want to go in fully blind from that point onward.

There is a twist here in the story that you may or may not like. I did enjoy it, though I almost wish we could have seen a different take on the story based on what we thought we were going to get. However, Iden is far from the only playable character we get to be in the story, which is a lot of fun. We get the opportunity to play as characters like Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian, which are handled really well. The only thing that is a little awkward with this though is that it makes the story itself feel a little disjointed at times.

As one of the biggest knocks against the first game, the development team did a fantastic job at crafting an entertaining story that fits right in with the Star Wars universe in an area we haven’t seen much out of since they wiped out the EU and started this new canon universe. Like we saw previously with Force Unleashed in the previous canon, this likely won’t be addressed in the movies or anything, but it still does a great job at adding to the overall continuity regardless.

Campaigns in games like this often feel thrown together from a voice acting perspective, but these performances really do not feel phoned in. This is largely helped by Iden’s VA, Janina Gavankar, who has really seemed to enjoy this whole process and you can tell in the game. We sadly don’t get Mark Hamill, even though he is known for his VA work, along with many other characters, but the ones included do well enough.

The 2015 Battlefront reboot may not have had a story, but it had really fun multiplayer options for you to choose from, which have been built upon even further in Star Wars Battlefront 2. We actually have less online multiplayer options to choose from than in the first game, but the giant sized Galactic Assault essentially takes the place of a number of them.

Galactic Assault is brand new in this game and is an escort mission type mode, similar to what you’d see in Overwatch, but on a much larger scale. Each team has 20 players on it, with one team’s goal being to push forward on the map, while the other is to defend. You start off each match with having to choose between a few different types of troops with different weapons, but you will earn points in the match that will allow you to respawn with vehicles or even as the heroes and villains in the game. You must have them unlocked elsewhere to be able to select certain of these though. Galactic Assault takes place across a very impressive number of maps, each with different goals, which adds a lot of longevity to the game’s online play.

Fighter Squadron was one of the best game modes in the previous outing and now it has been rebranded as Starfighter Assault, which is better than ever. We have really missed the Rogue Squadron-like gameplay in Star Wars games and this is the closest to that we will get. The controls have been revamped this time though, where the right analog stick is used to handle most of the flying instead of the left. It will certainly take some getting used to, which the campaign ship levels can help with. Starfighter Assault even allows more players to participate this time around, which makes the battles even more exciting.

Heroes vs. Villains was my personal favorite game mode in the 2015 Star Wars Battlefront and it returns yet again here in Star Wars Battlefront 2. The four on four battles are as fun as ever, with you getting to select your favorite heroes and villains to fight with. The game mode can feel a little limited early on though, which we’ll get into a little further on in the review. Blast also returns as the team deathmatch option that we saw in the first game for those that want to go with larger objective-free battles.

Due to the objective-based mode partially being infused into the new Galactic Assault, Star Wars Battlefront 2 also includes a more straight forward objective-based option. This is much more limited this time around with only 16 players instead of the 40 player battles in the first, but they still are a lot of fun to play anyways.

It is pretty much impossible to have a Star Wars game like this that doesn’t include locations like Hoth and Endor, which of course make their return here. Star Wars Battlefront 2 branches out even further though to include all three eras from the movies, with locations from the prequels, original trilogy, and The Force Awakens. The recreated capital of Naboo, Theed, looks absolutely phenomenal here and is an excellent map to play on. While there may be a lot of hate for the prequels, the content included here is top notch.

What is very disappointing however is the lack of certain characters that should be included. We get characters from the first game like Luke, Leia, Vader, and such, along with new characters to the game like Rey and the campaign character Iden. With the inclusion of a major prequel location, you would think we’d get important characters from that era, but the only one included at all here is Darth Maul technically, though you could throw Yoda into that as well. There is absolutely no reason we didn’t get the inclusion of a prequel Obi-Wan, Anakin, or even Padme to fit the Naboo setting.

For those that don’t want to play the campaign, but still want some local options for play, there is Arcade Mode available for you. Arcade Mode is the local split screen multiplayer option that you can also play by yourself as well. This is essentially a more robust training mode that lets you fight wave after wave of enemies to learn all of the characters and weapons in the game.

The solo mode is pretty self explanatory, but multiplayer is split into two options, where you can either do co-op to work with a friend or do versus where you go against one another locally. The only thing that is really disappointing is that they didn’t find a way to work a versus mode into online play for those that just want to play with one friend. Each of these are split into battle scenarios that put you in control of various characters split between the Light Side and Dark Side. There obviously isn’t going to be as much replayability here as with the online play, but it definitely is a nice side option to have in the game, especially since it does not lock character behind a paywall.

It has almost been impossible to avoid the controversy surrounding this game over the last few weeks, which revolve around microtransactions with the game. At the start, players could spend real money to get Crates that may hold Star Cards that can give you advantages over players. Thankfully, EA has since backtracked on this a bit, at least for the time being, by removing the actual microtransactions and making the Crates only purchasable in the game itself.

Even though EA has worked to alleviate these major concerns a bit, there is still a major problem with the game’s progression system. Earning in-game credits is largely based on the amount of time you play, along with certain challenges you can complete, which means that it takes awhile to get a lot of credits. From the start though, many of the Heroes and Villains are locked to where you cannot access them at all in multiplayer.

At the beginning, you only have access to Han, Rey, Yoda, Lando, Boba Fett, Bossk, Kylo Ren, and Darth Maul. This leaves major characters that include Luke, Leia, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Emperor Palpatine, and also campaign star Iden Versio as requiring you to unlock them. You also have to purchase to unlock the ability to use the Millennium Falcon as well. It’s one thing to have these characters require some sort of unlocking, but the number of hours required to get just one is downright ridiculous. This appears to be how the upcoming “free” DLC characters of Finn and Captain Phasma will be too, which does not have us as hyped as we should be for that with The Last Jedi coming so soon.

There has been a lot of negative discussion about Star Wars Battlefront 2, but there really is a lot that is great with this game too. Even though a bit disjointed at times, the campaign is a real joy to play through and brings a number of surprises we didn’t expect, and the multiplayer is fantastic once again. There is no excuse for the way the microtransactions were handled in this game, but there is still a lot of content to be enjoyed in Star Wars Battlefront 2, and EA is at least showing some signs of listening and trying to fix things.


Verdict
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a very strong case for doing your own research before buying. Going in, you must know that the unlocking system in-game is pretty rough and we’ll likely see microtransactions return as some point. On the other hand, the brand new campaign and multiplayer options in Star Wars Battlefront 2 are a lot of fun and personify what makes Star Wars great.

8 Unlocks Out Of 10

Release Date: November 17th, 2017 (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox One (Reviewed), PS4, PC
Publisher: EA
Developer: EA DICE

Disclosure: Star Wars Battlefront 2 Was Provided By The Publisher For Coverage Purposes

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