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Star Wars: Battlefront II (PS4) review

On November 21, 2017 by Aaron Meehan

Prior to release EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II had received nothing but scorn from fans and critics alike with their ire pointed directly at the game’s laughably evil pay to win business model, but once you move past something that Emperor Palpatine would consider too far, what is the game like?

Starting with the game’s campaign you are placed in a post Return of the Jedi setting where you explore the final hours of the Empire through the eye of Commander Iden Versio, leader of the Imperial Special Forces commando unit Inferno Squad. As you might imagine from the promotional material you get to play the game as a member of the Empire and seeing how it collapses and reforms into the First Order, but in reality, the story is very different.

Yes, you get to be a character who is a member of the Empire, but this for about three to four missions as Iden Versio and her comrade Del Meeko decide to defect to the Rebels after they see the Empire use a super weapon on an Imperial controlled world, well, more importantly, Iden’s homeworld. This act sees Iden run to the Rebels who are more than eager to trust two Imperial Commandos who killed many of their allies and friends. Upon joining the Rebels you help them protect Naboo and play a role in finally defeating the Empire in the Battle of Jakku.

While Iden Versio is the game’s main character a good portion of the game is spent playing as iconic Star Wars heroes such as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. This move to have the heroes take centre stage over a newcomer reeks of fan service, it is pretty much EA saying, you don’t want to experience what it’s like to play as an Imperial who switched sides, you want to play as your heroes from the movies.

While the story mode does have its high points, such as getting to see what the galaxy was like between episode 6 and 7, it is ultimately poor fan service. Honestly, I felt EA lied about the story mode, in fact on the Battlefront II website the campaign section says the following, “In the sky above Endor, the Emperor’s superweapon explodes, destroyed by Rebel pilots. This cataclysm propels Inferno Squad into a journey across the galaxy on a quest to restore order… and to quash the emboldened Rebellion.” This does not happen unless the Rebels suddenly became the Empire.

Also, don’t expect a decent ending as the story just stops for no reason. I know it is almost laughable to say this, but I think EA might actually try to make the ending of the story some form of DLC or make you wait for the third instalment of the Battlefront franchise.

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Moving onto the main portion of Battlefront II we have the multiplayer. Battlefront II’s multiplayer offers some good gunplay and objective focused gameplay, but while these main components work well the progression systems make the multiplayer feel hollow and well if I’m been honest grind heavy.

Before discussing the progression systems, I want to mention the game’s multiplayer modes. There are a total of five modes which are mainly objective and deathmatch games just broken up into different player counts and the removal of heroes and vehicles. The modes offer something for everyone, for example, if you like objective games but don’t want to be constantly killed by someone playing Yoda or Darth Maul than you can play strike mode. The multiplayer’s main mode of Galactic Assault is a 20v20 extravaganza with dark and light side heroes, ground and aerial vehicles, and blaster shots and explosions going off everywhere, Galactic Assault offers players the closest opportunity to been in an actual Star Wars movie.

Now, let’s talk about the progression systems. I use the terms systems because you have class-specific levelling to unlock additional star card slots, overall player rank to craft better star cards, challenges to unlock new weapons and a crafting system to make star cards. Honestly, the progression system in Battlefront II is a mess and it all stems from EA’s pay to win loot boxes. Now I know at the time of writing EA has temporarily suspended the ability to buy loot boxes with real money, but it is temporary and I did experience how soul destroying and disastrous the loot box setup was prior to the game’s official release.

For those who’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, Battlefront II’s loot box system is the primary way to gain star cards, star cards for those who don’t know are special cards that can alter your classes’ abilities or enhance their skill by giving them better health regeneration or doing more damage. Now, you can’t pick what star cards you get in loot boxes as you have to well put some credits or real-world money on the table, select a loot box and hope you get the items you want from the box you bought. If you haven’t realised yet you are essentially gambling as you hope the box gives you the rewards you want.

Now, as I mentioned above Battlefront II has a class system with assault, heavy, officer and specialist being the four playable classes, you can control vehicle and special character classes along with hero units. The four base classes allow you to equip up to three star cards and change weapon. While, you can equip up to three star cards you need to earn the right to equip a second and third card, to earn this right you need to buy more star cards for the particular class you are playing, which means grinding matches against those who have multiple star cards in an effort to raise enough credits to open a loot box and hope you get the cards you need. Granted, you can create the card you want via crafting parts, but these can only be gained via loot boxes. In terms of weapon unlocks these are gained by completing challenges that require you to kill X number of enemies.

Moving back to star cards we have their multi-tier upgrade system which goes from common all the way up to epic. To upgrade your star cards you need crafting components, a specific class level and a specific overall rank.

The progression system in Battlefront II could honestly be a bad joke if it wasn’t so sad. The system heavily penalises newcomers and when the ability to purchase loot boxes with real money was available, those who chose not to spend real money.

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So, what else is there to say about the multiplayer? Well, the multiplayer allows you to play across the three eras of Star Wars, the prequels, original saga and the new saga. The multiplayer has a good number of iconic Star Wars locations, including Yavin 4, Kamino, Naboo and Jakku. So, from the ability to explore all eras and visit iconic locations, Battlefront II does a good job.

Outside of the multiplayer and story is there anything else to do? Well, there is the arcade mode, which allows you to take part in 16 battle scenarios in either solo or split-screen multiplayer. These battle scenarios, which are split into 8 light side and 8 dark side matches are a great way to unwind after some stressful multiplayer matches and of course, earn some credits while doing so. Unfortunately, the game only allows you to gain about 700 credits every 24 hours in the Arcade mode for no real reason.

Moving away from the gameplay, let’s see if Battlefront II has any technical issues or bugs. Well on the PlayStation 4 the game has incredibly long load times, I swear I could go make a cup of tea and be back to see the game still loading, and there also seems to be some incredibly bad frame rate drops, I actually had the game drop to single digits for one or two seconds.

Now, before reaching my conclusion let’s look at a positive aspect of Battlefront II, the graphics and audio. In terms of graphics, Battlefront II is a marvel to look at with each planet and character looking absolutely stunning. In terms of audio everything screams Star Wars from the sounds of the weapons to the general ambience of each location you visit.

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Conclusion

Star Wars: Battlefront II is a mess with its convoluted progression systems and a strong emphasis on loot boxes. While the game has iconic Star Wars moments they don’t feel earned and reek of poor fan service.

Score: 5/10

Pros Cons
+ Graphics and sound – Multiple progression systems
  – Loot boxes
  – A poor campaign
Developer Publisher Genre Rating Platform Release date
EA Dice EA Shooter 16+ PC, PS4, XBOne  November 17, 2017

*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*

For more information on Star Wars: Battlefront II, visit https://www.ea.com/games/starwars/battlefront/battlefront-2.

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.


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