With beautiful graphics and nonstop action, Star Wars Battlefront 2 delivers a distinct movie feel with no microtransactions (for now).
I’m running to the entrance of the hallway – the clone troopers are already there on the other side. Five droids are standing at the entrance of the hallway, waiting for someone to break through. I charge up my shield and storm head-on with my machine gun. I manage to take one clone down, throw a grenade and roll into cover.
The clone troops are just recovering as I deploy my explosive MG to lay down some suppressing fire. 3 more go down, and the others scatter. The droid units with me charge forward and clear the area. “Roger Roger!” So that’s what it feels like to be in a Star Wars movie!
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is one of the most controversial games that debuted this year. And if you are still here – you have apparently yet to make up your mind about it. Well, take a load off your chest (and put your credit card back in your pocket), because the microtransactions are currently offline, and the progress pace has been sped up. Clearly EA has heard the fans and is trying to ensure every Star Wars fan will love this game.
The action is fantastic, mainly because of the stunning graphics and sound. The Frostbite 3 engine shines both in the small details and in the big picture. The maps are big and very detailed, filled with aliens running for cover, leaves blowing in the wind, and things like subtle reflections on every wet surface on Kamino. The animation was created using motion capture, of course, and for the most part, all characters appear almost lifelike during dialog. Almost.
The stunning graphics are only surpassed by the soundtrack and the sound effects. The levels are accompanied by the music by John Williams (who wrote the soundtrack for the movies). The sound effects are great: The hits of the different blaster rifles, lightsabers, and the starfighters’ cannons all sound amazing. The characters in the story’s cut-scenes are also dubbed amazingly.
After the previous game in the franchise was criticized for a barely-existing single-player mode, DICE worked hard to make things right this time. I’m pleased to say Battlefront 2 has a full story campaign, one that actually feels like a part of the Star Wars universe.
The story puts us in the boots of Iden Versio, the commander of the special operations unit of the Empire, known as the Inferno Squad. We start right when the second Death Star is destroyed at the end of “The Return of the Jedi”, and continue all the way to the new trilogy. During the campaign, we get to meet and play as Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian.
The story itself isn’t all that impressive, and won’t win any “best narrative” awards. It’s fairly linear and tends to jump between different narratives without spending too much effort on bridging the gaps. It does, however, feel like a Star Wars story, and provides a perspective we don’t often get to see. Iden is the real star of this game, and through her and the other characters we soak up the atmosphere of these dark times on both sides.
Putting the story aside, the arcade mode is pretty fun. It is a single-player mode where you fight against AI enemies in pre-determined missions or custom made ones.
Even though it’s a single-player mode, you do need an internet connection in order to accumulate game currency and accomplish achievements that you can use to unlock multiplayer content. Also, there is a limitation on how much currency you can earn using this game mode: up to 500 credits each day, so players won’t abuse it for farming. Although the reasonable justification, there were times I had to stop doing arcade missions even though I felt that I’m “in the zone”.
The multiplayer, of course, is the main appeal of this game. That’s where you’ll spend most of your time and it is the most rewarding mode available, with achievements and points.
The game utilizes 4 class roles, much similar to other multiplayer shooters: Assault is your standard, fairly balanced soldier; Heavy is the tank, and comes with an MG and shield; Specialist is the stealthy sniper; the Officer is a sort of support class that can buff other team members in different ways and deploy an autonomous mini-turret. As with any multiplayer game, focusing on a specific class yields better results. Personally, I’ve decided to master the Heavy, and I already won MVP a few times.
The multiplayer includes 5 different game modes: Galactic Assault, similar to Battlefield 1’s Conquest; Starfighter Assault, which are objective based, 12v12 dogfights in space; Heroes VS Villains, a mode with 4v4 PvP where each player gets to play as a hero (or a villain) from the movies; Strike, which is very similar to Galactic Assault but on a smaller scale; Blast, a standard Team Deathmatch mode. All of these modes are action-packed and play well on the different maps.
Starfighter Assault is a great improvement over Fighter Squadron from Star Wars Battlefront. This time, matches are much more open, with clearly defined objectives that change over time. You also get to fly around in tight and interesting environments, like the inside a space station or between the Death Stars’ space debris. The dogfights are always full of action with spaceships blowing up all around you. It feels like every Star Wars space battle you’ve ever seen in the movies. This mode was my favorite in the original Battlefront 2 in 2006, and I think it’s even better in the 2017 version.
Despite the microtransactions and loot boxes controversy, player’s skill plays a major role here, and it is more important than any upgrade. At the end of each match, you’ll get credits, which you can use to buy stronger heroes that are locked at the beginning of the game, or loot boxes for the different classes, heroes or Starfighters. Progression feels pretty slow, at least if you choose to unlock the heroes first like I did. But still, the progression system in Battlefront 2 is much better than the previous one.
Yes, Star Wars Battlefront 2 didn’t have an easy time since its launch. It’s still unclear whether the microtransactions will come back and throw the game off balance. But for now, in my opinion, this is one of the best multiplayer games I’ve played in a while.
The game looks and sounds great, and it helps improve the gameplay experience, especially in first-person. If you are a fan of Star Wars or First-person shooters, you will enjoy Battlefront 2 very much. EA has already announced that all the expansions and DLCs will be included in the initial price of the game. The first expansion will debut together with The Last Jedi later this month.
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