Despite positive praise for the aesthetic and gameplay, the Star Wars Battlefront series cannot escape its own self-caused controversies. The developers learned from 2015’s mistakes and improved the single player and multiplayer modes for Star Wars Battlefront II, but the loot box fiasco soured the experience for many gamers.
EA swiftly responded and did damage control, but only time will tell if the reputational damage will impact sales in the long run. Considering the magnitude of the Star Wars franchise, it’s unlikely to make a substantial dent but the storm was good for one reason: it told the gaming world that players are tired of being ripped off. With the price of gaming being at an all-time high, we’re sick of all these additional transactions and hoops to jump through to access the game’s full scope. This business model needs to change, because no rational human being should be spending a quarter of the price of a PlayStation 4 to play a single game and then still need to do more to enjoy it to its fullest potential.
With that off my chest, let’s see how the actual game measures up. Immediately, it’s noticeable that EA has captured the look and feel of the Star Wars universe. From the character designs to the vast worlds, everything feels detailed and instantly recognisable. Even the sounds are authentic and transport you back to the movies – although it must be said that the voice acting (or impersonating, if you will) for the likes of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker isn’t up to par and takes you out of the experience.
That small gripe aside, the gameplay is where Star Wars Battlefront II excels. The weapons are powerful and the movement of the characters silky smooth, offering you the opportunity to turn the battlefield into every fan’s dream as you recreate epic battles from the series. Each of the four basic classes (Assault, Heavy, Officer, and Specialist) possesses its own weapon and matching set of abilities, but it’s not like one is outright superior to the other. Naturally, everyone will have their own favourite class; however, it’ll only change the way you approach the game and not impact the actual difficulty.
There have been several complaints about the campaign mode and the fact that the story of Imperial Special Forces commander Iden Versio is only four hours long. Yes, it’s a tad on the short side of things, but it does offer some exciting moments for fans and a compelling – if not basic – narrative. At the end of the day, Star Wars Battlefront II‘s strengths are in its arcade and multiplayer modes, so the campaign is an additional bonus when you aren’t in the mood to have some co-op fun with your friends.
With the micro-transactions suspended and progression still iffy, it’ll be intriguing to see how EA approaches this controversial issue in future updates. Of course gamers want a challenge, but no one wants to play 40 hours to access a single character. Star Wars and gaming fans aren’t renowned for their patience or tolerance levels of being ripped off, so EA will likely be working day and night to fix all these issues.
All the hoo-ha aside, Star Wars Battlefront II is an all-round improvement and remarkable Star Wars experience. Don’t let the pre-game controversy influence your impressions of the game, as it appears the developers are learning from their lessons and applying the necessary changes in a quick turnaround. It’s not perfect at the moment, but future updates should fix all the niggles and irritations.