Battlefront II makes major improvements upon predecessor, gives players Star Wars experience across 3 eras
December 8, 2017
My room was dark; my blinds were closed; my Playstation 4 was warm. “Star Wars Battlefront II” had just arrived. As I inserted the disc for the long-anticipated game, memories danced through my mind of the old “Battlefront” Series, developed by Pandemic Studios in the early 2000s- a Star Wars experience like no other. Then I thought of DICE’s revival of the series in 2015, a game that dealt with only one Star Wars era and whose gameplay was okay at best. For months, I had anticipated shooting battle droids on Naboo rather than stormtroopers on Tatooine.
The game took an hour to install, which wasn’t surprising. But during this process, I was allowed to play an offline team battle on one of the game’s maps, Starkiller Base, from the sequel trilogy. As my computer-controlled stormtroopers spawned next to me, I quickly realized exactly what kind of game I had purchased. The graphics were flawless; it would be an understatement to say that I felt like I was really in that First Order hangar.
The game eventually installed, and I began what I was looking forward to most: the single-player campaign. I played through the story of Iden Versio, an Imperial operative assigned to do the Emperor’s post-death bidding after the Battle of Endor. The missions are available to play on three different levels of difficulty; I chose the middle option, which allowed me to enjoy the cinematics but also challenge myself with interesting (though sometimes repetitive) missions. The campaign also features tasks in which players take the roles of iconic Star Wars characters like Lando Calrissian, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker. And like it was advertised, the campaign answers some crucial questions about what takes place during the time between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens” as well as providing a satisfying, unpredictable story for the player.
In addition to the campaign, the game offers more single-player content: Battle Scenarios, which feature small skirmishes including a variety of different playable characters. Both are also available for co-op gameplay. The skirmishes are enjoyable for those seeking more relaxed content, and the AI enemies are much smarter and act more real than in the previous title. It is a shame, however that I wasn’t able to play larger, multi-stage battles (ones that involved vehicles, for example) without an internet connection.
After finishing the campaign and completing some Battle Scenarios with my brother, I entered a multiplayer match. The multiplayer gameplay experience is drastically different from “‘Battlefront (2015).” Players can now spawn in as four different classes: Assault, a run-and-gun, all-purpose fighter; Heavy, a slower, high damage trooper; Officer, a team-based, low damage, support individual; and Specialist, a long-range scout. This class system already makes the gameplay more dynamic and interesting than its predecessor, although the level of teamwork still doesn’t quite match up to a title like DICE’s World War I shooter, “Battlefield I,” in which a player relies on his or her team for ammunition and health. The weapons in multiplayer have not changed much, and we see some familiar guns. They are harder to use, however (players are forced to be much more careful about overheating their weapon), and I found eliminating enemies to be a bit more challenging than I remember.
Battlefront II features five different online game modes, of which Galactic Assault is my favorite. This scenario puts players in offensive and defensive teams, fighting over objectives on multiple-stage maps. This system favors the defenders, as to win the entire match they only have to win one stage, where as the attackers have to win all three. Still, if either team is well organized, it should have no problem at least enjoying the experience.
In Starfighter Assault, another fun option, the aerial combat feels more raw, and is much more fun than that of “Battlefront (2015)”, though can still sometimes be frustrating due to the lack of cover in space or in the sky. The other, smaller game modes are not as impressive; I was disappointed by Heroes & Villains, “Battlefront II’s” single aspect which seems to no longer be as much fun as it was in its predecessor.
Overall, “Battlefront II’s” most significant aspect is the enormous amount of content it offers. Players can fight in maps ranging from the time of the Clone Wars to the First Order. There are more maps, more heroes, more vehicles, and more unique experiences in general. The new combat mechanics take some getting used to, but allow the player much more interesting experiences than in Battlefront (2015).
I personally still prefer the more intense, graphic, strategic gameplay of titles like “Battlefield I,”but the Battlefront series will always have a warm place in my heart. I can see myself playing Battlefront II years from now.It’s rare that a game based on a movie captures the true cinematic experience, but despite some flaws, Battlefront II makes this achievement.
Verdict: 7.5 out of 10