Star Wars Battlefront II Review in Progress — Our Biggest Takeaways So Far
Our full review of Star Wars Battlefront II will go live later in the week, but here's how we're feeling about it so far.
[Editor’s Note: We will be waiting until servers have gone live to the general public this Friday before posting our final review of Star Wars Battlefront II. A few days after this time, we will publish our official review with our score. The multiplayer portion of our time with Battlefront II took place at a review event hosted by EA before we later received a digital copy of the game to play through the campaign.]
I’m still struggling to figure out how I feel about Star Wars Battlefront II. At this point, I’ve seen all of its three major modes and have spent a good amount of time with each. As of this writing, I have spent around fifteen hours with multiplayer, seen the story through to its conclusion, and have spent another hour or two playing around with Arcade mode.
The core gameplay seen in every avenue of Star Wars Battlefront II provides for a lot of enjoyable moments that often had me smiling and laughing as I blew foes away with a blaster or chopped them down with a lightsaber. What drags Star Wars Battlefront II down however is its gaudy progression system, a campaign that really doesn’t go anywhere compelling, and an overall lack of originality.
First and foremost, let’s address the elephant in the room: I stated a few days ago that Battlefront II’s multiplayer was not pay-to-win and I still believe that to be true. With this being said, I’m not a fan of the progression system whatsoever. The implementation of loot crates feels ham-fisted into the experience and is far too central to the grind of leveling up each character class.
Star Cards are required to level up each of the game’s four classes and the easiest way to get these cards is to purchase loot crates whether with in-game currency or actual money. While you can outright purchase specific Star Cards with another form of currency known as crafting parts, these parts don’t appear very often outside of having them drop in crates. Relying almost entirely on random drops to receive any of the required items needed to upgrade is unsatisfying rather than rewarding.
On a positive note, Star Cards don’t give you as much of a benefit as other critics have made it out to be and instead just provide players with the option of customizing their character in a way that suits their play style. The Star Cards alone I’m fine with, it’s just the way in which you have to unlock them that I don’t like.
One of my biggest issues with the version of Star Wars Battlefront II that I have played over the past week has involved the steep price that was needed to unlock Hero characters such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Fortunately, EA has recently announced that they will be adjusting this by launch and will reduce the costs of these characters by 75%, which is far more affordable and easier to acquire through organic play. Hopefully this responsiveness to the community is something that EA continues with throughout the entirety of Battlefront II’s life.
Despite these complaints, the multiplayer within Star Wars Battlefront II is a ton of fun. I’ve spent somewhere around fifteen hours with it at this point and I’m stoked to play more. Becoming a Hero character like Yoda or Darth Maul and slicing through hordes of troopers or droids is an absolute thrill. Most of Battlefront II’s multiplayer centers around getting to big moments like this and when they happen, their payoffs are incredibly high.
Additionally, I think each of the five modes that are available within multiplayer are unique from one another and provide different satisfaction depending on the type of game you want to play. Looking for something a bit close-knit and intense? Check out the 6v6 single-objective mode Strike. Want to play a mode that is much larger in scale and boasts some wacky scenarios? Then the giant 40-man battles seen in Galactic Assault are right for you. Wanna blast ships out of the sky? Then hop in your X-wing and give Starfighter Assault a whirl.
Also worth noting is just how gorgeous Star Wars Battlefront II is. The triple-A budget that DICE has been working with definitely shows most clearly in the game’s detailed characters and recognizable locations. After having played Star Wars Battlefront II for a majority of the past week, I’m still in awe every time I boot it up.
As for the story of Inferno Squad’s Iden Versio, I have mixed feelings. The best thing that I can say about the campaign of Star Wars Battlefront II is that the dialogue is incredibly well written. Mitch Dyer and Walt Williams, the writers of the single-player story, have created a group of compelling characters that have the same level of charm that we’ve come to expect from the personalities in this universe.
This being said, I just didn’t feel like the overall narrative went in an interesting direction. When I first saw the campaign for Battlefront II revealed earlier this year, I predicted the way in which the story would play out and, unfortunately, I was exactly right. For having such a unique premise centering around that of an Imperial Commander rather than the typical Rebellion or Republic aligned protagonist, things happen exactly as you would anticipate, which is unfortunate.
There are some larger issues that I have with the missions of the campaign, the most notable of which is that they just aren’t exciting or fun. While I will go deeper into this in my full review, I just don’t think the format of Battlefront translates well to a single-player experience, especially consider almost no new game mechanics were added to the campaign compared to that of the multiplayer. Plus, the campaign ends on an awkward open-ended note which is clearly going to transition into next month’s free DLC.
Arcade mode is the last of Battlefront II‘s game modes and offers the least in terms of unique experiences. Similar to the challenges from the previous Battlefront, Arcade mode gives players the option of playing through a variety of different battle scenarios as various hero characters.
Most of the encounters are rather mindless, but they do offer a bit of challenge once you crank the difficulty up. Arcade is easily the smallest of the three main game modes included in the Star Wars Battlefront II package, but it serves as a nice palate cleanser between the campaign and multiplayer and allows you to just cathartically hack away at enemies.
As of now, I think Star Wars Battlefront II has a lot of fun moments, but it’s plagued by a variety of small issues that lessen the overall experience. If you’re not going to spend a fair amount of time in the multiplayer and have only been looking forward to Battlefront II because of its campaign, maybe think about waiting rather than making it a day one purchase.