Star Wars Battlefront II Review
Star Wars Battlefront II is a game that has been mired in outrage since before its release: lootboxes, pay-to-win claims, and a bevy of other issues have plagued this title like a poor CGI comic relief character. This isn’t what we’re here to talk about, however, as this is about the game itself and how well it’s held up. With that, let us properly start this review.
Beyond the multiplayer, Battlefront II has an arcade mode and a story mode. The arcade mode, a single player (or, if you’re on a console, a couch co-op two player) mode, places you in a pre-generated scenario and tasks you with completing the end goal which mostly entails killing a set number of enemies. There are both Light and Dark side scenarios with each mission having three difficulties and set conditions for each difficulty that makes some much harder than others. In one particular scenario played, the heroes had no abilities; this led to Luke Skywalker being far less of a stormtrooper-slaughtering powerhouse to being more of a guerrilla fighter, popping out to cut down a few troopers before sprinting away. The single player story drops us into the boots of Commander Iden Versio of the Imperial Special Forces commando unit: Inferno Squad. The plot spans the time between Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Episode VII: The Force Awakens (TFA). Not only that but with the addition of the DLC story, “Resurrection”, the timeline of the single player is extended past TFA and closes in on Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.
Stunning Visuals from the Star Wars Galaxy: One of the very first things I noticed when booting up Battlefront II for the first time is the amazing visuals that permeates throughout maps and the story. This isn’t a new thing for the Battlefront series as it’s always been filled to the brim with stunning depictions of ships, characters, weapons and other models. They have been created directly from the original props and models kept in the Lucasfilms Archives and have gone beyond that with models created from the ground up. The concept art shows us ideas for a galaxy George Lucas had yet to create (something that I love to no end).
Plenty of Game Modes: Star Wars has always been a setting that I have loved to play in as it includes space battles, massive ground assaults, the Old Republic Era, Rebellion Era, all of it. I simply loved the world and that still holds true with DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront II. This sequel is, first and foremost, a multiplayer game and features five multiplayer game modes: the 20 v 20 Galactic Assault, the 12 v 12 Starfighter Assault, the 8 v 8 Strikes, 10 v 10 Blast, and the 4 v 4 Heroes v. Villains. More explained about them below but each have their entrancing qualities about them that lures the player to try them all.
Galactic Assault, probably one of the most iconic game modes, is a 20 v 20 battle across grand set pieces throughout the Star Wars universe. Set on various planets and eras, Galactic Assault tasks one team with progressing towards a final objective (such as taking the throne room of the royal palace in Theed, the capital city of Naboo) by completing a series of objectives leading up to it (escort the MTTs and then open the doors to the throne room) while the opposing team must stop them. The attacking team’s win conditions are rather obvious such as taking the objective, planting the bomb, moving to a location, escorting vehicles while the defending team must deplete all the attackers spawn tickets — a measure of the number of ‘total lives’ left for the attackers.
Starfighter Assault is a 12 v 12 player battle that is supplemented with twenty AI ships per side, turning it into a total of 32 v 32. Much like the Galactic Assault mode, Starfighter Assault places the player in set pieces from around the Star Wars universe (like the debris of the Death Star II) and assigns one team the role of attacker and the other of defender. Similar to the attackers in Galactic Assault, you are given a specific end task (destroy the Mon Calamari star cruiser) as well as objectives to complete to reach the final objective (destroy the Corellian corvettes and then destroy the ‘hidden’ mines). The main difference with this mode and Galactic Assault is the number of players and the fact that it’s in space.
Strikes are 8 v 8 games where, once more, one team is the attacker while the other is the defender. The attackers are tasked with securing or destroying an object. Blast is a 10 v 10 deathmatch with the simple goal of depleting the enemy teams respawn tickets to zero before they do the same to you. Heroes v. Villains is a classic 4 v 4, good guys versus bad guys setup. Each team will choose their preferred heroes or villains and try to kill the target enemy ten times. Simple but fun.
Free DLC: Unlike the previous Battlefront title, this time around we are given free DLC in the form of seasons (something Blizzard’s Overwatch and, perhaps more notably, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege have done). So far, the only season released has been Season 1: The Last Jedi Season which consists the hero Finn, the villain Captain Phasma, the Galactic Assault map Crait, Tallie’s RZ-2 A-Wing (a hero ship for Starfighter Assault), Starfighter Assault map D’Qar, and the single player DLC story Resurrection. Daily and weekly challenges have also been added now, granting the players that complete them everything from credits and crafting parts to special crates filled with loot.
Campaign Length: Iden’s story was one that I enjoyed for a number of reasons but, sadly, I felt like it was too short. My time with the main story and the Resurrection DLC brought my total campaign play time to somewhere around the 5½ to 6 hour mark. Now, it is certainly not the shortest campaign I have ever played (it actually seems to be in the same ballpark with most multiplayer focused games that include a single player campaign) but I would have liked it to have lasted a bit longer. This could have also helped with the feeling of constantly being rushed from one mission to the next.
DLC Season Vagueness: The seasons in Battlefront II are nice as they are free but, as of right now, there’s not been much announced beyond what we have already gotten. EA’s website doesn’t offer anything in the way of information with the previous two months showing what has been released and when but no plan for when future content will be released or what it might consist of.
Technical Issues: One of the things that bugs me the most is technical issues and, sadly, Battlefront II still has a handful. Now, most of these issues are not things that effect the gameplay but are merely a nuisance. These issues include long load times getting back to the main menus, things not displaying properly when looking at your collection (the list of everything you have unlocked), the wrong portrait talking to you during matches (I had Darth Maul telling me we needed to defend the Theed throne room from droids), and winning/losing cutscenes not playing in certain modes. The last bugs me the most as it’s usually in the Starfighter Assault mode and, once you win or lose, the scene ‘plays’ but you usually only get audio and stare out into space in the direction you were looking when your match finished, waiting for the scene to end.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Star Wars Battlefront II. I enjoyed the story a good deal but it felt like it was lacking a bit. Perhaps if it had more time to help us get to know the characters instead of rushing us about the galaxy at near breakneck speeds it would not have been such an issue. The multiplayer is fun, as expected, but I do hope we are given more modes, maps, heroes, villains, ships, weapons (read: everything) more often and with an actual time table on when we should expect to new DLC, even if they don’t explicitly state what we will be getting. I won’t pretend the game is perfect nor will I stomp it into the dirt because it’s the ‘cool’ thing to do right now. Not with so many other games doing far worse to their player base.
Star Wars Battlefront II was developed by DICE and published by Electronic Arts. It was released for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One [reviewed] on November 17th, 2017. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.