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Star Wars: Battlefront II (Xbox One) Review

November 16, 2017 | Posted by Stewart Lange
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Star Wars: Battlefront II (Xbox One) Review  

It wasn’t too long ago, or in a Galaxy far, far away that there were two fantastic Star Wars Battlefront games. These were released on Xbox and PS2 consoles and still actually hold up really well today, other than graphically. Much better than this release, which is undeserving of the Star Wars name in so many ways. I’ll even put it out there I could actually take or leave Star Wars, too. I’ve seen them all, none of them are awful, but consider this as completely impartial to the source material. I do understand the relevance of the series, and the fans deserve better. Allow me to elaborate.

The first Star Wars Battlefront game by DICE and EA came out a couple of years ago. Despite there being massive amounts of hype and excitement, this died down for a lot of people when it was established as a multiplayer only game. With no campaign, it felt like a very overwhelming release for people who don’t enjoy PvP releases. That was fixed in this release as the biggest, most notable change was the addition of a single player campaign, to appease those that don’t play so well with others. Unfortunately, the campaign is easily completable in around 5 hours of play, making it much shorter than it’s contemporaries. It’s a decent enough story, with you taking on the role of Imperial Commander Iden Versio during events between Return of the Jedi and the Force Awakens. In the canon of the series, it’s a nice area for the more casual fans to explore, especially for those of us who don’t know much outside of what we’re told on the big screen. A few familiar faces pop up for some decent fan service, although it does seem to end in a way fitting of adding some story mode DLC at a later date.

The gameplay itself at this point is relatively uninspiring. You have the choice between first and third person view, an option unfortunately lacking in the other game modes. When you’re a named character, you’re locked behind them in third person to justify the difference. It does make the lightsaber wielding characters somewhat easier to control, but using blaster based characters is something of a chore. Thankfully, when you’re able to use Starfighters in multiplayer mode, they do control extremely well. Every craft is different and requires different skills to pilot, which adds a great amount of re-playability to the Starfighter Assault mode and acts as a breath of fresh air compared to the “boots on the ground” grind of the usual Galactic Assault mode. It’s these battles where I felt most part of the Star Wars Universe, as there’s a genuine thrill rattling around some of the maps, which suddenly changes to gut-wrenching terror as you realise one of your opponents has unlocked the Millennium Falcon.

This leads me on to what a lot of you may have heard is wrong with the game, the progression and unlocking of vehicles and characters. In the multiplayer maps, you earn points within the level through kills and playing well. This allows you to unlock a special vehicle or character within the maps for a short time. It’s nice to be able to have a shot of these characters, but the ability to play with them is capped behind an extremely convoluted and confusing system of loot boxes, “star cards” and of course, now famously, micro-transactions. If this worked on a free-to-play model, this could be forgiven, but for a full priced AAA release, there’s a scandalous system in place here, which is never fully explained and will either take a ridiculous amount of time or real money to unlock everything in the game for full access. Despite EA now having “lowered” the cost of in-game credit required for fan-favourites Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, what has been ignored is the fact they’ve also lowered the amount of in-game credit you actually receive. At time of writing, it’s approximated that it will cost around $2000 of loot box transactions, or 4500+ hours of grinding to unlock everything the game has to offer. That’s 3 years of 4 hours of daily play.

In spite of this level of greed, it would be more acceptable if Battlefront 2 was fun to play, or even beautiful to look at, but it doesn’t quite manage to achieve either. The cut scenes are not what I’d expect from a 4K enhanced title, playing on an Xbox One X, although the levels are nicely designed and the attention to detail for a fan is great, with the worlds, ship interiors and characters all looking decent during gameplay. The gunplay is lacking when compared to Destiny 2 or Call of Duty and the times where you’re able to wield a lightsaber are fairly flat. After the campaign, I found the multiplayer very repetitive quite quickly so I’d really struggle to see how I would get further than 10/15 hours with the game. Considering how much time and money EA and DICE want from everyone that plays Battlefront 2 I’m amazed at how flat the whole experience feels. When you look at the games that have arguably done the same loot crate model better, this has been an absolute PR mess for the publishers especially. There’s very little done well here and given the mess of a progression system and rather underwhelming gameplay, I just feel sorry for the huge Star Wars fans who have to wait even longer still for a game deserving of their beloved franchise.

The final score: review Poor
The 411
The sins of EA could be forgiven if there was a great game here, but sadly, it's distinctly average and without the Star Wars license would not be deserving of AAA status. A confusing and greedy focus on loot crates is enough to sour this experience and will likely cost everyone involved dearly.