By Sam Coles:
I swear with each rebooted game franchise the industry is purposely trying to mess with my archiving system because now I have two games in my collection called Star Wars Battlefront II. Does it live up to the original Battlefront II that came out in 2005 on the PS2 and Xbox, yes and no as it has some questionable design when it comes to the progression in multiplayer.
Unlike the 2015 release of Star Wars Battlefront this game has a singleplayer story campaign; it takes place in between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. You play as an elite Stormtrooper who is a part of the legendary Inferno Squad, who are sent in to mop up on Endor during the siege of the Death Star II, but it all goes wrong and the Empire is defeated. They have a contingency plan called Operation Scorch where they attack planets with a satellite weapon where they assert their presence in the galaxy; however Iden the character you play as starts to see what the empire truly is after attacking her home planet and defects to the rebellion. This is a painfully predictable twist which I saw from a mile off because during the lead up to this game’s release I thought we would have had a good story from the empire’s point of view, but no we get the clichéd switching side nonsense. The story is well performed with some memorable set pieces the stand out being the Battle of Jakku, but it’s also extremely short as I managed to finish it in 4 hours. This is where the multiplayer comes into play which has a few problems with progression.
The multiplayer a step in the right direction compared to the 2015 release, as there are more features and maps but there are fewer modes because I remember there being more modes in last game. The maps are all different and unique with varied combat scenarios which have dynamic weather systems where it can be night time one round and dusk the next.
The modes that stand out the most are Galactic Assault and Starfighter Assault, Galactic Assault are huge battles that take place on the ground taking you through different scenarios. Each scenario is fun and interesting from the Battle of Hoth where you have to escort two AT-AT walkers to destroy the rebels shield generators, to the Clone Wars era battling it out on the streets of Naboo.
The Starfighter Assault mode are space battles which are a lot of fun with unique ships from the Star Wars universe with the iconic noise of the Tie Fighters to the X-Wings unfolding ready for battle. The objectives in this mode are generally defend your capital ships or thinning down enemy reinforcements, it controls well and dogfights can get really tense.
Now we get to the class and progression system and this is my biggest problem with Battlefront II, if you don’t know EA got a lot of heat about the progression due to the loot box system breaking the game. The loot boxes have game changing rewards which people can pay real money for which results in unfair advantages. It is painfully slow to level up in this game, I’m only level 11 and I’ve been playing the game’s multiplayer for over 14 hours, fortunately they have fixed the issue of unlocking hero characters by making them cheaper with the in game currency, so it no longer takes 40 hours to unlock Darth Vader. However that is not the point it should have been easier to unlock characters and not a slow process, every time I feel like I’m getting somewhere in this game’s multiplayer it throws up a wall in front me with the progression
The presentation is fantastic; it is to be expected with a game made by DICE as they are the minds behind the Battlefield series. There is a lot of detail in this game and they surpass CGI cities that were produced back in 1999 in Star Wars Episode 1, the city of Theed on Naboo looks fantastic with leaves blowing across the floor, to citizens fleeing in terror. All the iconic battles and planets have been recreated beautifully; you can really tell that this game was made by fans of Star Wars because there is a lot of care put into the graphics. All of this detail with a smooth 60 frames per second on console is absolutely mind boggling.
Star Wars Battlefront II is a hard game to judge because underneath all the shady business practises and slow progression is a genuinely good game, with a good but predictable campaign and multiplayer with developed gameplay. However the business practises with the loot boxes, the pay to win elements and slow class progression ultimately pulls it down, until they remove these completely I can’t recommend it entirely.