Star Wars Battlefront II Review
The entire history of Star Wars games is an attempt to capture the magic in those iconic battle scenes. We’ve endlessly recreated the Death Star trench run and the battle of Hoth on every major game system in the pursuit of that magic. This is what makes Star Wars Battlefront II so incredible. You engage in glorious galactic combat in a wide variety of massive theaters ripped right from the films. We’ve gotten closer than ever before to actually creating that magical feeling so effortlessly evoked by those battles. Players can now be a part of some of the most memorable moments in the franchise. Indeed, being part of the battle is more significant than you might realize. If you want to be a lone wolf hero, you can be. But real glory comes from fighting alongside your squad. All the battles I won and all the success I found came when these enormous conflicts were filtered through the lens of teamwork. While this entry in the Battlefront series still has a couple of minor flaws, EA and DICE have managed to deliver an incredible, authentic Star Wars experience.
My love for the Star Wars franchise runs deep, reaching down to the bone marrow. Any sufficiently polished product draped in the sound and fury of those iconic movies has a distinct advantage when it comes to my final judgment. To the developer’s credit, Battlefront II absolutely swells with all things Star Wars. Everything from the music to the effects to the scene transitions has been lovingly lifted from the films. Even the single player campaign has a heady blend of nostalgia baked right in. The story is set at the tail end of Episode VI, giving you plenty of chances to interact with the major players of the original trilogy.
Battlefront II has two different kinds of single-player experiences. You’ve got the Campaign, a short but sweet redemption tale which follows Iden Versio and her escape from the shadow of the Empire. Once you’ve finished that, there’s also the Arcade mode. This section of the game presents you with a series of self-contained challenges that double as an extended tutorial. You learn the ins and outs of every hero, villain, and trooper, earning a few minor rewards in the process.
“While this entry in the Battlefront series still has a couple of minor flaws, EA and DICE have managed to deliver an incredible, authentic Star Wars experience.”
The second chapter in the modern Battlefront series does Multiplayer a bit differently than its predecessor. You’re still fighting on one of two sides in epic, multi-stage battles, but certain things have been slightly reworked. There are fewer game modes, with each mode playable on every map. 40-player battles on Hoth were fun, but Endor and Naboo are also rich with possibilities in this vein. So is every map, it turns out. Heroes and Villains are a bit easier to acquire as well, being locked behind Battle Points instead of tokens scattered throughout the map. This versatility between modes and maps means that battles of various scales can be fought anywhere you want. From the massive conflicts in Galactic Assault to the tiny skirmishes in Heroes vs Villains, every mode works pretty well on every map.
Teamwork can be a double-edged sword. When you and your squad are acting in unison, you’re a force, a dangerous power to be feared and reckoned with. However, when that same teamwork fails it can be catastrophic. You never want to be the lone fool running into a room filled with laser fire. You want three or four other fools rushing in with you. This principle also applies to the Starfighter Assault matches. If everyone is zipping around the edges of the map, chasing after enemy ships, the objectives don’t end up getting done. My grievances in this instance are directed more towards the ever-evolving player base rather than the actual game. It’s quite likely that this perceived issue will fade away once everyone finds their footing.
Galactic Assault is one mode wherein I never encountered any of these issues about teamwork. The objectives are always clearly laid out, with all of the various systems gently moving players towards completing these tasks. One would think that such huge, chaotic battles would lead to multiple agendas being pursued at once. Instead, these matches are set up in such a way that almost every action you take feels like it’s contributing towards victory for your side of the battle. Moving in towards the next objective with a whole squadron at your side is exhilarating, especially when you’re working together to take down an enemy you couldn’t possibly manage alone. As for the other large-scale mode, Starfighter Assault teaches you the unusual difficulty involved in flying a ship. At least for me, the first match was spent learning the controls. Unlike other multiplayer modes wherein vehicle access is a reward to be unlocked, you have all the time you need to get comfortable flying. My only real issue was with the hero ships. For such a legendary freighter, the Millennium Falcon is incredibly unwieldy. That ship turns exactly like its awkward shape suggests it would. Almost every time I got enough Battle Points to unlock one of these special vessels, it was lost in battle less than a minute later.
“For such a legendary freighter, the Millennium Falcon is incredibly unwieldy.”
You can’t talk about this game without touching on the loot boxes. Yes, they were revamped in accordance with a wave of player protests, but they persist. At the time this is being written, players can still technically game the system in order to gain access to the epic-tier rewards locked behind a barrier of in-game progress. The system still needs some work, but I find myself encouraged by EA’s speedy response to player complaints. If it turns out the loopholes are still problematic in size, it’s possible they may actually be corrected within a reasonable time frame. The presence of a loot box system isn’t quite enough to turn me away from this game, but I understand if this is more of a serious deterrent for some players.
Depending on what you’re looking for in a Star Wars game, Battlefront II might be exactly what you need. It’s clear that the developers have been paying close attention to player feedback, as this feels like a significant improvement over the previous entry in the series. Major additions like the single-player campaign, the revamped Star Card system and the streamlined game modes all make for a much more robust moment-to-moment playthrough. There’s still room for improvement with the loot box system, but it’s already been fixed once, and there’s every chance that it’s only going to get better. The look and feel of Star Wars has been expertly captured in every inch of this game, while the battles are a faithful homage to the most exciting conflicts in the entire series. If you’re a veteran of the Battlefront franchise, this entry represents the polished peak of your journey. If you’ve never played anything in this series before, you owe it to yourself to check out Battlefront II.
*** PS4 code provided by the publisher ***
- Looks and sounds deliciously Star Wars
- The multiplayer modes are more streamlined
- Battles are infused with a proper sense of scale
- Loot box shadow still darkens the game
- Teamwork can’t always make the dream work
- I really suck at flying starfighters