In 2015 Star Wars Battlefront was released with a lack of a single player campaign and less than stellar season pass. Many fans were not happy with it. Now two years later, developer EA DICE is back with Star Wars Battlefront II. This time with each saga of Star Wars represented, a single player campaign, and even free DLC. This is the Star Wars game many were waiting for. With all the drama surrounding its release and many fans still sceptical, does it live up to the hype? We are not going to talk much about microtransactions, as they have been removed at the time of this review. Yes, it has been a very hot topic these last couple weeks, but instead we want to focus on the game itself, not opinions about a company’s business model.
Star Wars has a special place in my heart. I still remember the first time I saw it; I was around five years old and my Uncle burst into the room, telling me to stop whatever I was doing and to follow him. He told me he was going to blow my mind and change the way I looked at the world. He wasn’t wrong. We marathoned the original trilogy and from that day forth I’ve been in love with the Star Wars franchise. Ever since, I am always trying to recapture the joy I felt watching those movies and the only thing that even comes close to recreating that feeling has been video games. I’ve played game after game in the Star Wars series and each time, I do get a varying level of this joy back, but so many times I am left disappointed. For every Knights of the Old Republic, there seems to be ten poorly made games based in this world I love.
SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN (By Chris Joslin):
If you are as big of a fan of Star Wars as I am, but not a fan of multiplayer, the lack of a single player story in the last Battlefront was infuriating. EA DICE listened and took the time to include a short campaign in Star Wars Battlefront II. At about five or six hours to complete, it’s not particularly long, but it makes up for that fact by being such a great playthrough. Players start out playing as Iden Versio (Janina Gavankar), a commander of an elite Empire team named Inferno Squad. Her first mission, taking place right before the end of Return of the Jedi, is stop the Rebels from learning of the Empire’s plans to secretly attack Endor. After completing this, she finds it was all for nothing as the second Death Star is destroyed, taking the Emperor with it. She reports back to her father, who happens to be an Imperial Admiral, Garrick Versio (Anthony Skordi). There she finds out that even in death, the Emperor is still running the show. His final directive is something called Operation: Cinder. As bad as things seem for the Empire, they refuse to give up.
Along the 13 chapters in the campaign, fans will learn more about this interesting time period than ever before. Each chapter not only progresses the story but also takes players to all sorts of new locations with different objectives and play styles. Some will require more stealth, others will have you piloting a ship in an epic battle, but throughout players will be preparing and learning how to play multiplayer. This was good for someone like me who did not play much of the original Battlefront, and by the time I moved on to multiplayer I already understood the basic gameplay in all its various forms. Even with all these diverse play mechanics, I never felt overwhelmed and found them all easy to learn. Normally I cannot stand to play any games requiring piloting a spacecraft, it usually is just too complicated and in the absence of a horizon line I suffer from spatial disorientation. I did not have this problem in Star Wars Battlefront II. The indicators and controls were done in a way I could orient my ship very easily. The space battles were actually some of my favorite parts. As an added bonus, players will also receive some Battle Points to spend for completing the campaign.
Star Wars Battlefront II gives players a different view than we are used to, playing as an actually likeable soldier of the Empire. The actors portraying these characters do a fantastic job humanizing them. After a few minutes, I actually started to see where they were coming from and what drives them. They are not evil necessarily, they are just doing their job to protect the Empire and stop these dangerous Rebels. There are some great chapters that really make fans think about the whole mythos of Star Wars, of this two sided battle, and for me, I started to wonder if both sides are actually wrong? There are of course cameos and even some playtime as some of the classic heroes from the movies. These not only served to introduce players to controlling these characters in multiplayer but were actually very well written side stories that hopefully will fill in some of the blank area between RotJ and The Force Awakens.
I absolutely loved the campaign in Star Wars Battlefront II. The graphics are fantastic and the best we have seen to date in a Star Wars title. The voice and motion capture makes it feel more like watching a movie than ever before. The overall story and narrative fit in perfectly with the tone of the last movie, Rogue One, and leaves you with a cliffhanger, eagerly waiting for the next DLC to continue. Even if you don’t play multiplayer at all, as a fan, you should be entertained and enjoy Star Wars Battlefront II for the campaign alone. It really is something you don’t want to miss. Even if I spend the next few months playing multiplayer, I will not forget the great experience of the campaign. I very much hope EA DICE continues to improve on this aspect in any future Battlefront releases. I would gladly buy a single player only title if it was this well done, just hopefully it would be a much longer experience.
Multiplayer in Star Wars Battlefront II is an absolute blast, it offers a massive number of maps, modes, and heroes. Players can pick between four classes; assault, heavy, officer, and specialist. Assault is a standard foot soldier with the base abilities to throw grenades, pull out a shotgun to clear a room, and shoot out a scanner dart to see where incoming enemies are at. The heavy carries a massive blaster, can shield themselves, and turn into a walking sentry with an incredibly deadly chain gun that deals massive damage. The officer can buff teammates, disrupt the enemies’ weapons and cause all kinds of havoc. Finally, the specialist is the sniper of the squad who can toss out trip mines or pick off enemies from afar. Expect to spend an extensive amount of time playing these soldier classes at first. Other special characters can be unlocked with Battle Points earned via online matches, daily loot boxes, completing milestone challenges, and completing the single player campaign. While these heroes and villain characters are expensive and take a long time to gain access to, they are also very powerful and play much differently than the standard four classes, with abilities based on the characters known powers in other works.
Battle Points can also be used mid battle to gain reinforcements in the form of various special characters like Jumptroopers, these can be useful, but most players will likely avoid spending their hard earned BP on a one time use respawn character, instead saving up for the likes of Darth Vader and Yoda. Multiplayer also includes a couple of other systems that can be confusing at first. First is your rank, this is your overall level in multiplayer, and is increased by playing online matches. This rank, as it increases, allows players to craft more powerful Star Cards. Star Cards are also gained from loot boxes. These cards are specific to classes and characters, granting them enhanced abilities. Your Star Card level is class based, each class separately levels up automatically as you gain more Star Cards. The higher your Star Card level, the better the Star Cards you can equip and the amount as well. This will cause players to focus on specific classes and eventually on a specific hero or villain they prefer playing. It is time consuming yes, but at least with the removal of microtransactions, everyone is currently in the same situation and unable to fast track with real cash. I did not mind this as I enjoy actually focusing on a certain class and am patient.
Star Wars Battlefront II has a couple different modes for players to throw themselves at. Galactic Assault is the main draw with its massive 20v20 matches. In it players will have various missions to destroy a certain target, sabotage a turbo laser, or take over and control a massive area. There are multiple objectives, and honestly, this is one of the most fun aspects of multiplayer. I love the feeling this mode gives me. It’s so much fun to storm through Endor, tracking down enemies. The thrill of trying to take down two different AT-AT’s. This mode isn’t without issues though. For instance, destroying an AT-AT is a massive pain. I don’t mind having to use an outside weapon to lower its shields, but once the shields are down, players have mere seconds to do as much damage as possible. It feels impossible at times, but this could be because players don’t have access to vehicle damaging Star Card perks yet.
Another option for multiplayer is Starfighter Assault, in which players take control of famous ships and duel in massive space battles. Players try to take out one another and protect or destroy certain objectives. The flight controls are easy to learn and flying feels good, but it’s just not my favorite. I enjoy “boots on the ground” combat more. Another mode is Heroes vs. Villains, in which four players go up against another four of the opposite side of the force. No nameless troops allowed. This is the most intense mode in the game so far for me. It really pushes players to master their characters and battle in intense attack and protect stages that are just large enough to allow ranged attacks to get in there, but close enough for the Jedi and Sith to have a great lightsaber battle.
The last two modes for multiplayer in Star Wars Battlefront II are a team deathmatch called Blast and a one that is strictly objective based called Strike. These two modes are fun, but the real stars are Galactic Assault and Starfighter Assault, and it’s very apparent that more time was spent developing them. Multiplayer in Star Wars Battlefront II is a great experience. Just be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time playing if you want to collect every character. The base classes are perfect for starting out, giving players time to learn and grow in skill, while the hero and villain characters, when unlocked, add a much deeper gameplay, as it should be. I can see Star Wars Battlefront II having a much larger and much longer lasting player base in the coming years.
Overall, Star Wars Battlefront II is the best Star Wars game in years. The addition of a single player campaign, one that will see updates via free DLC, is fantastic, giving a view of a time period previously unexplored. Multiplayer, while having its share of controversy, is actually very fun, even if overly time consuming. EA DICE and EA have repaired the issues the original game had with this sequel, giving all fans something to enjoy. Even if you do not find yourself drawn to the multiplayer aspects, true fans should pick it up to enjoy the campaign at least and to support the fandom. As with so many games these days with online content, Star Wars Battlefront II will evolve even more over time, and I cannot wait to see where it goes. See you online, and of course, may the force be with you.
Star Wars Battlefront II is now available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC. This review is based on the PS4 version purchased by one writer and an Xbox One code provided by the publisher for the other contributor.
Star Wars Battlefront II
- Lots to do for all types of players.
- Controls great in a multitude of play styles.
- Culmination of everything Star Wars in one game.
- Great story, variety of gameplay, and fantastic actors for Campaign.
- Class balancing issues.
- Lengthy time commitment for character unlocks.
- Campaign is short.