Star Wars: Battlefront 2 Review
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Just fair warning: the following review is going to be filled with praise of fan service and an overall rose tinted perspective.
As a kid I spent days on end playing Battlefront 2 (2005) and I loved every second of it. I was obsessed with the clones, clad in shiny white armor with blue stripes running down them signifying their legion. The feeling of taking on a seemingly endless amount of droids and pulling through with your brothers on the battlefield to somehow squeeze out a victory is amazing. But at what cost? The special thing about the original was that I cared. I wanted to save my brothers on the battlefield and take the brunt of the fire for them. The campaign does a fantastic job detailing the horrors of war and making you mourn the loss of life in war, no matter what side they were on.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (2017) does some of these things.
It really feels like I’m in the cockpit of an ARC-170 and, even if just for a moment, I feel like I am a part of something bigger. The game does a great job of granting wish fulfillment for fans of any era of Star Wars. The experience of flying a X-wing past a Star Destroyer, dodging turbo lasers, as you try and shoot down that one skilled snub fighter that you just can’t quite catch.
But now I’ve done that more than a few times, it feels amazing but I need something more to keep me hooked.
Progression is bad. You earn credits based upon the time you spend playing the game (take note of this), and you use those credits to buy crates that contain skins, more credits, and most importantly star cards. You can then equip these star cards to the class they fit and they serve as brand new abilities or upgrades to the default ones.
Star cards are not the problem. The randomness of the cards you get is. There are four classes in the game and I only play three of them. What am I going to do with the star cards I earn for that fourth class I never use? Nothing. I wasted my precious credits in a dice roll, that only ended in me getting something I don’t even want.
It seems like a small complaint. There will always be more crates to open, but how often will I get these crates?
Credits are tied to time played. Credits are not tied how well you play. I have finished first in about 40 percent of the games I have played in my 30 hours of gameplay. However, I have no idea why. I have zero incentive to play well in terms of progression, as long as I’m there I get rewarded. It makes for an incredibly unsatisfying experience. It feels hollow and like I have made zero progress after a round ends, and it leaves me wanting to put the game away.
The reason people still play Modern Warfare 2, which came out in 2009, is because that game gives you rewards and some kind of tangible progression every match. While I think MW2 is a little too much of an onslaught of rewards and unlocks, only because it devalues real achievement.
Battlefront 2 gives you way less of this for a way shorter time, the grind sets in after about 4 hours. They have got to fix these issues, the replayability of the game directly depends on them fixing the progression.
Finally, the campaign. It’s fine.
It’s a cool story, but something I probably would have enjoyed far less if I wasn’t the kind of person to read every Star Wars novel to come out, as they come out. It serves as a good extended tutorial and has some good moments, but it is painfully short and very repetitive. It was worth a play-through but I’m not going to play it ever again.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a beautiful dream fulfilling masterpiece hidden beneath a tragically bad progression system. What can I say? I need to be encouraged. Dice and EA have been fairly receptive to community feedback thus far and I have no doubt they will continue to at least continue a dialogue with the community.
Regardless, Battlefront 2 is worth a buy. It’s easy to get caught up in the fervor of boycotting a game, and I do think the complaints they are presenting are valid and fair. But, i’m a Star Wars fan before I am an activist in the game industry, I love Star Wars. So I bought a copy, and if you love Star Wars, you should too.
On a scale of best game ever to worst game ever, Star Wars Battlefront 2 is the best game ever.