Electronic Arts which published the last battlefront appears to have failed or at least been overtaken by the myth of what Star Wars Battlefront 2 should have been.
You’d have to be living under a rock or sleeping deep within an ancient and forgotten sith temple to have missed the utter PR nightmare that has been the launch of Star Wars Battlefront 2. With governments around the world looking to crack down on a predatory gambling system so devious that only the emperor himself could have devised It.
People from all corners of the galaxy are getting involved in the rebellion. The first death star has been destroyed by a small rebel force and it appears a New Hope has risen for the gaming community as a whole. Will the incredible irony of this situation ensure that once again Anakin brings balance to the force?
With what started as one fan’s tumultuous cry at the inability to play as one of the most iconic and arguably most important Sith and Jedi in the Star Wars universe. It appears that balance may soon be realized.
I want to Love DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront 2. It has all the trappings of a wonderful cinematic experience. I had been waiting for this sequel to the ill received Battlefront of 2015 since it was first announced and eagerly pre-ordered it on PS4. The hype was certainly real. John Boyega had written scathing criticisms of the first game and with the sequel was brought on to ensure us that Battlefront 2 would not disappoint. It would be bigger and better than ever. It would have so many more maps and locations. It was even said to be set throughout all the eras of canonized star wars history.
Above all else though it would finally include a well written story that would tie in with the new movie and let us experience Star Wars through the eyes of the empire. I think I speak for the entire gaming community in saying we were ecstatic at these new revelations.
It was however a short lived reassurance as once players got access to the BETA for the game they soon realized that EA had set itself up as Chancellor echoing his chilling message “I am the senate.” Micro-transaction fears abounded. A once great republic crushed by the corruption of greed. We finally realized that all along a Phantom Menace had lurked in the shadows orchestrating an order of betrayal.
An EA spokesperson quickly admitted that the repeated accusations that Star Wars Battlefront 2 was now a pay to win experience were hard to dodge. I played the Beta on both PS4 and PC before deciding that I thought the PC community would be large enough this time around to cancel my console preorder. Sony clearly a tool of the rising empire of micro-transactions in this industry controls a great position of power in the US denying even preorders from being refunded months in advance.
Left scarred by yet another blow of corporate greed I strengthened my resolve and determined I would make the best of the situation by decrying this policy in public when I made a review of the game.
The hyped up story turned out to be a lie and while I wanted to avoid any sort of spoilers in my review you should know that while the acting is mostly impeccable the writing is atrocious drivel and the biggest lie has to do with the promise of playing as the empire. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement of epic proportions. Incredibly predictable, the story is still worth playing through but the collectibles should have been struck down in initial talks. They are pointless. Perhaps the worst excuse for collectibles seen in a long time. No lore, nothing of any substance just worthless filler and hardly worth the credits gingerly dolled out in this game’s single player component.
One highlight is that Battlefront 2 appears to confirm a theory I had about Rey’s parents and I believe this information might be contained in a Star Wars game for the first time. While it seems unlike Disney to allow these revelations in a game rather than a show or novel. Star Wars lore has been revealed all throughout a new comic series and this game makes a strong case for its inclusion here. I won’t spoil it but I was pleasantly surprised to possibly have figured it out myself in advance.
A constant sinking feeling while playing through any of Battlefront 2’s diverse modes is that this deal keeps getting worse all the time. What was sacrificed in favor of the elimination of DLC and season passes is quickly made clear and the way liberty died here was through the thunderous applause of wall street investors who know nothing of gaming and only care about the size of your pocketbook.
Visually you will feel like you entered a portal and emerged within the very locations you know and Love. Kamino is an incredible standout here offering up all the thrills of the lightning lit and rain drenched duel between obi-wan and the bounty hunter Jango fett. I cannot begin to describe the awe I felt when I first emerged on the narrow platforms of the beautifully designed cloning facility or flew my starfighter over hundred foot waves. Kamino is so well realized it took my breath away.
Like everything in Star Wars Battlefront 2 limitations are quickly discovered as most of the maps are incredibly linear and small offering you a ten second death timer if you wander too far out of their borders. This is beyond immersion breaking and like Yoda you will feel the sorrow of what has been murdered here in favor of not cloning the original masterpiece created in 2005.
It is hard to talk about this new battlefront without remisnicing about the old. Gone are the 64 player battles which having played the original this past week still feel more massive and open. There are no systems and squad mechanics here save for the forced spawn system that feels contrived and only awards you double battlepoints the new currency available to spend while playing Battlefront 2.
A totally different currency from that spent in menus. Battlepoints are a wonderful addition that for the most part appear to be well received. I love them and would only change a few details about how they work.
Another missing feature which seems like the largest mode based misstep is that of Conquest. The fan favorite mode of Pandemic’s original Battlefront’s is no where to be found. Curiously removed having been the stand out mode of EA’s last Battlefront. It feels very missed here. While the main mode available galactic assault has lore based rotating objectives that vary greatly depending on the map they all start to feel like you are being funneled into kill boxes with only few exceptions. The best mode on the table is hands down Star Fighter Assault. Nothing feels more like Star Wars than piloting powerful fighters, interceptors, and bombers against Venator and Destroyer class golliaths.
The objectives have even more variety than the other modes available and every ships controls whether standard or hero rival that of the rogue squadron series. Which Battlefront 2 assures us seriously needs an awaking of its own.
While billed as the quintessential Star wars Experience nothing in Battlefront 2 feels decidedly novel. As cannot be stated enough times the visuals and sound design here are top notch but I feel that was to be expected having been blown away at DICE’s previous entry.
The progression in Star Wars battlefront 2 is its biggest sin and the reason it has taken so much flak since its launch. Everything is balanced around star cards and a loot crate system that feels far more sinister than most games to date and its being used in a Star Wars game of all things as a cash grab. I have long felt that for me personally the worst thing about micro-transations is their destruction of the deep lore of my favorite franchises. First it was lord of the rings and now Star Wars, what’s next? Those are my two favorite universes and it feels so heartbreaking to see this immersion breaking system destroying that which I have long held so dear.
The star card system was an okay addition in the previous game, it is expanded upon this time with a class based twist. You get a very low amount of credits each match in battlefront 2 making progression feel slow and unmemorable. I never felt like I was really accomplishing anything. Though one trick that seems to help is buying only Hero and Starfighter crates rather than the way overpriced trooper packs most of my crates have consisted of duplicates and in my entire play through of the game I have maybe gotten 3 or so rare cards. Assuming one follows this purchase advice the economy feels a little better.
You amass crafting currency much quicker this way allowing you to craft and upgrade what you want but are insulted every time a new dawn emerges by a piddly 5 crafting parts and 125 credits. Only if you are incredibly lucky will you get an extra common one blip card. I think I received this twice so far as a log in reward.
It is apparent at this point after putting in over 73 hours into the newest installment of Battlefront that it certainly is a good game. It is not a great game however and a re-skinned Battlefield with a true squad system and none of the immersion breakers present would have been a much better experience. While nostalgia seems to have truly colored our view of Pandemic’s bold entries there is no doubt that the inability to actually pilot a republic transport ship over sprawling landscapes will truly be its downfall.
I kid you not I actually had a dream a few days ago of what that experience would be and logged onto the previous Battlefront before quickly realizing that it offered neither a narrative story or the clone era maps and troopers. The remake from my dream was amazing and I can only hope that EA and DICE’s announcements that they will fix this and Disney’s loud cry that they are here for the fans ensure that one day I can call Battlefront 2 a masterpiece.
While a game of this caliber did not need everything that is included here to at least muster an 8/10 it needed to have its systems polished out the gate and Battlefront 2 certainly does not. Lest I forget the arcade mode that was perhaps the greatest afterthought in development it isn’t worth a purchase for only the single player content. It is welcome that one can tweak a few settings for the two modes of Onslaught and Team Battle but they are set on smaller versions of the main maps, many of which I have already stated have too tight of borders and general restrictions.
Yaven 4 and Tatooine are standouts in my opinion offering a slightly larger less closed in experience but the rewards for arcade mode are middling unless you include the bearded hero skin for Han Solo which you earn for completing a large assortment of milestones in single player. It isn’t that great but I earned it and felt at least some semblance of “pride and accomplishment” I guess. Both modes allow you to set the amount of damage both you and the ai units can take and whether certain units like heroes are available. However the ai cannot use heroes at all and all I can say about arcade mode is that I miss walker assault skirmish mode from the original.
Please EA bring back walker assault and conquest on all modes and expand the playing field both in number of units and gameplay space.
One other thing to mention is that there are a few technical issues this time around. Bugs and glitches that I feel should have been dealt with before the game’s launch. I created a video about the very real lag and rubber-banding issues I encountered while playing the game early through EA access and you can check it out here These issues span far and wide affecting both the PC and greater console audience.
It is unfortunate that while the many promises that changes are coming remain in the air no real fixes have been released to deal with the progression system or the incredibly odd issue of being unable to replay past missions of the “story” campaign other than the first three and at least for me, also prevents me from getting any new collectibles.
With a heavy heart I give Star Wars Battlefront 2 such a low score. It was so close to being great if only a few issues had been fixed and refined but with the myriad of problems I and others are still currently encountering I cannot recommend anyone buy it except the most passionate and patient fans. I am enjoying my time with the game but more and more with each passing day I find it drifting from my memory.
It is because of EA charging extra for early access through the 10 hour Trial of EA access and the Deluxe Edition purchases that micro-transactions were shut down temporarily for launch day which likely would have been the most lucrative time for them.
Without having the option to pay extra and play early or being involved in content creation none of us would have known just how bad the system was and ultimately the delicious irony is that marketing has failed on every aspect of this title’s launch. EA’s overconfidence was its weakness and just like Luke our faith in our friends was not ours.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 was always pay 2 win, they allowed anyone early access for a price and my 40-50 hours starting with the Origin trial certainly gave me a huge advantage before others got their hands on the game.
The “Micro-transaction Bubble” may have officially popped by tying them so poorly to such a beloved and iconic Universe.
Sadly I did not adore
Star Wars Battlefront 2