Star Wars Battlefront is back and much like the world of Star Wars it is unfortunate that the game has been featured in the news heavily for its loot box controversy. While I will also touch on this I want to answer the real question here. Is there finally a good Star Wars game hidden behind the drama? After Dice and EA promised an actual game changer, did they actually deliver?
The biggest change to the game has to be the new star card system. This is concerning however because it is a huge part of the loot crate problem that is currently dominating video game news sites everywhere. The star cards have the power to enhance a solider, hero or vehicle to a certain degree. Each card has its own level of effectiveness. The better the card the higher the stat of that feature that will affect the character or vehicle it is attached to. This can significantly change the style of battle as some characters may heal quicker than others or may have a card that increases weapon damage or cool down. The real problem here was that these cards could be purchased using real life money to buy loot crates containing random star cards. These loot crates also contained parts to upgrade star cards and money to unlock other locked heroes and vehicles. You could also open crates and receive cards you already had so you’d get in game cash to use in place of a duplicate card. Other cards also included solider emotes and taunts, so you could always end up with disappointing boxes as well. So if someone grabbed the game and spent an extra $60 on loot crates would have a higher advantage over someone who purchased the game and spent nothing on loot crates. Thus making the game pay to win.
The loot crate and star card system see’s the first Battlefront’s game style change where you would find tokens on the battlefield to become heroes, operate vehicles and gain heavy weapons. These are now done using star cards and points you accumulate in game by killing enemies, playing the objective and even dying at times in certain situations. When you have gotten enough points you have a selection of heroes, vehicles and stronger soldiers that you can use to play in game. I applaud this new gameplay feature. While It may be risky for players who don’t want to put the effort in and may throw the game to the side in frustration. I like how it makes players put actual effort in so that they can have a chance to play as Darth Maul or Rey. It drives players to be better, so I find this way of playing much more fun when I finally get to unlock a vehicle or hero. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment when I hit the battlefield with a premium character.
The second biggest addition to Battlefront 2 is its story mode. The story has been made canon so it’s true to the Star Wars universe. The story takes place during and after Return of the Jedi. For a Star Wars nerd like myself anything involving more Star Wars story is a good thing. The story isn’t mind blowing but what is present here is serviceable enough. It also isn’t the ending of the story as more is coming as free DLC which is a nice thing. EA and Dice have already provided a road map for future DLC and I am sure a lot more will be coming but the story connects to The Force Awakens and if rumour has it, Battlefront 2’s story may also tie heavily into the movie as well. Arcade mode is where you and possibly a friend can go up against A.I and you try to kill as many enemies as possible. Thankfully you can also play split screen co-op. A feature many games unfortunately leave out these days.
This is where the second half of the game comes into play. First off and probably the most popular game mode for Star Wars Battlefront 2 is galactic conquest. Much like Battlefront 1 the map evolves as the enemy progresses. Battle points are now in place instead of the tokens that were spread amongst the battlefield. So, it is pretty much the same with those few changes to the gameplay style.
Starfighter Assault finally see’s players fighting amongst the stars in objective based combat. Here you see two teams duke it out in epic warfare amongst the stars of a destroyed Death Star or above the raging waters of Kamino. Other than the players in game there are several AI controlled fighters and even medium sized and huge capital ships on the field of battle as well. So you finally feel like you’re in an epic Star Wars adventure.
As exciting as this mode is, unlike the original Battlefront games where you could land your ship inside a ship, get out and change your vehicle mid game Star Wars Battlefront 2 makes up for that with some down right impressive looking battlefields. The space levels have to be the cream of the crop here and nothing is more exciting than hunting down an enemy in top speed dodging pieces of a destroyed Death Star. Uses these broken off chunks as shielding as well when being hunted is a great tool so you’re able to use these levels to your advantage. One level also lets you fly through a battle station.
Along with your 3 basic classes of ships you also have access to premium vehicles which can be unlocked using battle points you have accumulated in game. Starfighter Assault is by far my go to mode for a good time. Next up we have strike and blast mode. Strike see’s two teams of eight players on a certain world having to complete certain objective based scenarios. This is best for the player who is looking for more of a challenge outside of regular multiplayer combat.
Blast mode is more of your classic deathmatch mode with a focus on close quarters combat. Two teams of 10 players go up against each other and the first team to 100 kills wins the match.
Now comes a fan favourite of mine; Heroes vs Villains. Nothing beats leaping into battle as Yoda towards Darth Vader jumping around striking him with your Lightsaber. You compete 4v4 on smaller scale maps. Most people tend to stick with the same character, even though you can change after each death. I found Heroes vs Villains mode to be a great way for you to level up faster. It is by far the best mode for collecting points. I always seemed to end up in either 1st or 2nd place, not to toot my own horn there but if you go in with the right character you can dominate.
Graphics and Sound
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a gorgeous looking game. Whether you’re on Hoth or in space dodging enemies. I am a big fan of the destroyed Death Star level. Speeding through broken off corridors and manoeuvring my X-wing through them was a blast and really made the game feel more cinematic. I support the removal of pickups on the field being taken away and replaced with Star cards as the game manages to immerse me more instead of looking more like an arcade game with pick ups on the field.
Each world without a doubt has been given the loving touch. Even the sounds are authentic from the world of Star Wars. Touching on the Xbox One X enhancements for those curious, the game looked amazing. I only own a 1080p TV but I could tell I was at least gaining advantage in terms of the increased performance that’s to the Xbox One X hardware. I can only imagine how great Battlefront 2 would look when I get my hands on my 4K TV.
On the multiplayer/connection tech side of things I experienced a bit of lag from time to time with rubber banding which was really frustrating and a lot of EA disconnection issues came up as well. I know my net coverage had nothing to do with it as I get excellent speeds so this was really disappointing to see, but not surprising. As an old Battlefield fan myself I have seen this way too often in the past.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 has been caught up in a whirl of anger and backlash from the gaming community lately due to their loot box and star card workings. At the time of me writing this review the loot boxes have been taken down temporarily while EA and Dice think of a way to implement them fairly without impacting actual gameplay. The servers aren’t overly populated which isn’t a shock sadly. But hopefully with this change more people return because Star Wars Battlefront is a good game. It isn’t great but as a Star Wars fan I’m happy enough until some new Star Wars game rises to take its place. For fans of Star Wars I say grab it but don’t set your expectations to max. You will be disappointed.
Thank you to EA Games for providing a copy of Star Wars Battlefront 2 for review.