- Game: Star Wars Battlefront 2
- Platforms: Xbox One, PS4 (Reviewed), PC
- Publisher: EA
- Developer: DICE
- A complimentary copy was provided for this review.
DICE, the developer best known for their work in the long-running Battlefield franchise, has established a name for themselves in another franchise: Star Wars. When Star Wars Battlefront was rebooted in 2015, it was met with widespread criticism from fans and critics alike but still went on to become an overwhelming success in the sales department.
The first game was criticized for not having a single-player campaign, only being in the Original Trilogy and for fracturing the playerbase by featuring a $60 Season Pass. All of those issues have been fixed with Star Wars Battlefront 2 but one glaring mishap has created a rift in the community: microtransactions.
As the years go by, it seems like more and more games adopt the microtransaction system. While many games are free-to-play and rely on this type of pay model for success, it’s hard to believe a game like Star Wars Battlefront 2 will need this system in order to turn a profit. This would likely be a non-issue if the microtransactions and loot boxes were cosmetic only but that just isn’t the case here.
Instead, we have a loot boxes that are either bought by credits that are so desperately needed to unlock heroes or you can buy them with crystals. Here’s what it costs for crystals:
- 500 – $4.99
- 1000 – $9.99
- 2100 – $19.99
- 4400 – $39.99
- 12000 – $99.99
This is common practice in a free-to-play game but this is a full-fledged big budget AAA title with a Star Wars license. It can take quite a long time to grind for credits and crafting parts but things are certainly easier with these loot boxes. With the vertical progression system of Star Cards, it’s tough to see this kind of model in the game.
Enough about microtransactions, let’s get to the good parts about the game. If you’ve played the 2015 Battlefront, you know that a lot of care was put into the visuals and DICE amped it up with the sequel. Battlefront 2 looks spectacular and that probably isn’t even doing it justice. On a base PS4 that I played on, the visuals are just unmatched when it comes to other shooters on the market. It even rivals graphical powerhouses like The Witcher 3 and Final Fantasy XV.
There are parts in the single-player campaign where it gives you a closeup of a character’s face and you can actually see the pores in their face. It gives a sense of realism that you just don’t see in games too often. That actually leads us into the single-player campaign.
After not having one in the first game, the fact that we have one at all is something to be excited for. For much of the campaign, you’re in the shoes of Iden Versio, the feared commander of the Inferno Squad, a special ops Empire task force created after the destruction of the first Death Star. The campaign begins with the destruction of the second Death Star and helps bridge the gap to The Force Awakens.
Although the campaign starts out promising for those who wanted to see something from the Empire’s perspective, it eventually just devolves into a cookie-cutter story that is still pretty solid but nothing to write home about. Some heroes do pop up throughout the campaign that will help break up the monotony and give you a sense of what these characters were doing after Return of the Jedi. The story is completely canon and you do get a good amount of credits for finishing the campaign so it’s worth it from that aspect. It took me roughly 5-6 hours to complete so it’s not something that will take a whole lot of time.
Where the game really shines if the multiplayer aspect. Star Wars Battlefront 2 brought back the Original Trilogy but also added in content from the Prequel and Sequel trilogies, making this a pretty complete game in terms of content from all eras. We even see the return of “watch those wrist rockets!” which will surely delight fans.
The locations really shine in this game whether its on Kamino, Endor, Naboo or Death Star II, everything looks spectacular. You can certainly tell a lot of care was put into this game to accurately recreate what we saw in the movies.
Even though the first game focuses on the Original Trilogy, the second game also shines there. The lush forests of Endor are eye-popping but what really stood out for me was the second Death Star. The Galactic Assault map takes place there and it’s one of my favorite maps in the game. A Rebel cruiser is crashed into the Death Star itself and the Rebels start off in the ship and then transition into the Death Star which led me to turn around and see what was really going on, despite the shooting around me. If you ever get a chance, take a second and actually look at the environments. You won’t be disappointed.
Heroes and Villains returns from the first game but it doesn’t work the same way it did before. Instead, a hero is “targeted” and you have to kill that hero in order to deplete points from the other side. Also, every character is a hero instead of just three which makes things more fun for everyone.
Where the game really stands out is in the Galactic Assault and Starfighter Assault mode. Gone is Walker Assault and in are these two modes. Players are either defending or attacking as the attackers have to accomplish several different objectives while the defenders have to prevent this from happening. Action becomes frantic and bottlenecked into small areas on most occasions so this can result in some pretty nice looking battles.
Speaking of bottlenecks, I did experience major slowdowns during some of the more frantic fights on a base PS4. There were moments where the game came to a complete standstill in the middle of fights. This is just something to keep in mind going forward and your mileage may vary.
The multiplayer modes are certainly the meat of this game and can give you hours upon hours of fun but the air can be sucked out of you when you think about the progression system.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is an excellent multiplayer shooter and if it weren’t for that progression system and microtransactions, I’d go as far as saying it is the best shooter released this year. I hate this but I find it very hard to recommend this title to anyone who isn’t fond of grinding in your multiplayer shooters.
Pretty much everything about the game is solid besides the loot box system. If EA changes the way this works (gets rid of them), then I would be more than happy to recommend this game to anyone. You can certainly enjoy this game casually but if you want to be competitive in the long run, you’ll probably need to do some serious grinding or drop some cash on this otherwise excellent title.
The shroud of the microtransactions cloud everything in this game and that certainly drags the game’s final score down. I really hope you read this review instead of jumping to the score because if microtransactions and a pay-to-progress loot box system don’t bother you, this game is certainly for you.
- Beautiful Graphics
- Excellent use of Star Wars soundtrack
- Standout multiplayer modes
- Free DLC
- Good post-launch support
- Loot boxes
- Underwhelming single-player campaign
- Minor performance issues
- Poor progression system