Star Wars Battlefront II Review (PC)

If you’ve been recently scouring the vast expanse of the internet, it’s highly likely that you might’ve encountered news concerning about EA’s Battlefront II. It ballooned into something incredibly large that even governments themselves are pitching in the topic. Anyhow, we’re here not to look at neither the controversy nor the impact of it. We’ll look at Battlefront II as a game. While this review might’ve eclipsed the game’s release date, several updates, primarily due to the recent news, made it difficulty for me to gauge the game. So, I finally decided to bring down the hammer in its latest iteration in v1.3. So is Star Wars Battlefront II a good game?

Review PC Specifications:
Processor: Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.4Ghz
RAM: 8GB DDR3
VGA: Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB

Campaign

In Battlefront I, one of the main concerns of the game was its lack of a singleplayer, story-driven campaign. It was just a straight-up multiplayer shooter. The lack of which can be attributed to the game being rushed or something along those lines. Anyhow, the reception due to the absence was fierce. To remedy it, Battlefront II now has a campaign, not that good, but also not that bad.

Wedged between Star Wars Episode VI and VII, and a couple of parts between VII and the upcoming VIII, the tale is viewed from the eyes of Iden Versio, a special forces officer for the Galactic Empire. I won’t spoil that much since again, the story is DIRECTLY connected to Episode VIII. But that doesn’t mean I can’t review it.

At times, the campaign shies away from the original characters, viewing certain missions in the eyes of recognizable characters in the franchise.

Battlefront II’s story’s pacing is incredibly fast. Like worryingly fast. It’s a nosedive into the abyss, barely giving you time to take a breather and assess things. The campaign ends at roughly four hours. Also, this is arguably one of the fastest metanoia in video games. Let’s just leave it at that.

Gameplay

In it’s main game mode, you aim, shoot, be mindful of overheating. Repeat. You can also roll, jump, and do some theatrics if you control a galactic space wizard.

Aside from acting as a low-born imperial grunt, Battlefront II also offers a better version of Starfighter Assault, a 12v12 space/aerial combat with 20 AI ships as fodder.  Joining it is the quirky Heroes vs Villains, a match between the Dark and Light side heroes.

Multiplayer’s main bread and butter is Galactic Assault. Two teams of 20 players, depending on the Star Wars timeline, fight to protect or destroy objectives. Most of which are reminiscent of Battlefield’s Rush gameplay. A team must complete or activate some devices in order to advance while the defenders must eradicate the opposing side’s numbers. For smaller skirmishes, Strike, a capture-the-flag-esque mode, and Burst, a 8v8 deathmatch, are also available. Arcade mode is also available for players wishing to play alone.

Players start with four basic classes: Assault, Heavy, Specialist, and Officer. The four play differently and it’s fun to to see them interact in the battlefield as a team pushes forward. Points are earned whenever you kill or accomplish objectives. These points can then be saved and spent on being reborn as a Star Wars character, like Darth Maul or Yoda. This in turn gives matches a semblance of progression. Everyone starts small at first, but as the game goes on, the tempo speeds up as everyone is gradually being able to use powerful characters to fight at the match’s climax. With the stakes at their highest, it’s fun seeing everybody charging in with the heroes and villains.

At certain levels, players can control AT-ATs and MTTs.

It’s a shooter made by DICE, so expect polish. With their Battlefield medals hanging on their breasts, the developers made a game that’s fun and easy to get into. Admittedly, it’s not a game as deep as Battlefield or Activision’s Call of Duty. The customization is quite light and sadly, cosmetic upgrades from the first one were also removed.

However, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a fun game. Battlefront II is a grab-and-go type of game. You can play for just 30-minutes in one day, short bursts of joy.

Graphics

This is definitely the best-looking Star Wars game to date. Period. There’s an amazing amount of detail to backup the texture-filled battlefields. Lighting is also as good as it gets.

Now that good things about it all? It doesn’t hog as much resources as is expected of such caliber. With the hardware I’m using, which is halfway between recommended and minimum, the game plays buttery-smooth, save for the first couple of seconds of booting up the first round of the day. It defies expectations and that’s what’s amazing with this game: it looks good, yet doesn’t intend to burn your PC and house.

Progression and Star Crates

Now we go to player progression. This is a bit complicated so please hang on.

Heroes and the four basic classes have their own respective progressions. To level them up, you must open crates and acquire cards for them. So how do you buy crates? You save credits for them.

The game has thee types of currency: Credits, Crystals, and Scrap. Credits can be earned by playing the campaign, arcade, and multiplayer. Basically, you get them after doing something in the game. Crystals are the ones which can be bought with real-life money. This currency is currently inaccessible in light of the recent controversy. Lastly, Scrap is obtained whenever you have duplicates or sometimes acquired via a Starfighter crate. It is used to upgrade Star Cards.

So what are Star Cards? Similar to Battlefront I, these are abilities, both passive or active, which can be equipped for certain classes and heroes. They give advantages like acquiring a small bit of health whenever you eliminate someone, or giving you access to weapons such as rocket launchers and shotguns. Each Star Card has four levels. Levels 1 to 3 can be acquired via Starfighter Crates. At launch, Level 4 Cards, those giving extremely high benefits, were offered as part of crates, but were later scrapped due to obvious reasons.

Each character in a player’s roster can equip only three Star Cards, so players are given a bit of freedom in designing their own character that fits their playstyle. But in order to equip cards, you must have certain cards already available in your stable. It’s a good system in my opinion, borrowing elements that made the first Modern Warfare work. But, there’s a catch.

The progression is pretty much based on luck. Drawing crates is akin to pulling a lever in a slot machine, you get what the machine gives you. If you get something good, then congratulations, if you get scrap and some credits, then try again next time. In line with that, say if you’re an Assault player and you get Star Cards for Specialist, then boohoo. Try again next time. It’s quite sad that the game’s multiplayer progression has to be like this. It takes away the value of dedication and grind, relying instead on rolls and numbers for rewards.

Oh, and then there’s the daily crates, a crate containing scraps and credit. If you’re lucky you get a card. So, uhm, thanks?

Verdict

For me, and most of you would likely draw your pitchforks at this one, Battlefront II is a competent game. It’s a robust shooter with the basic fundamentals. Despite the mire its currently in, it actually works and is an enjoyable game. As a game, alright. On the otherhand, what damages it is the crate system of progression. Let’s forget about paying for it for a moment and just focus on how you progress. Even without paying any real-life money, Battlefront II’s progression is highly-based on luck and the roll of RNGesus.

Picture this, two players have 10 hours spent in Battlefront II and let’s just say both guys have earned the same amount of in-game credits to purchase loot crates. But due to fate, the other one gets crap and the other one gets all the shiny star cards. It’s unfair for the one that gets less. This advantage is very apparent especially in matches as some Star Cards offer advantages of up to 50% increase in damage. That’s a big thing especially in a multiplayer game. A grenade thrown by player A wouldn’t kill, but the one that player B, with less hours in his game clock, would possibly be enough to secure a kill.

Personally, I did have good times with the game. The theatrics and the presentation is simply overwhelming and it’s not rare to find yourself in a position of “just one more match”. After the first match, the game loads levels like cream, surprisingly fast and smooth. Due to the speed and because of its simplicity, there’s nothing much to mind (other than the objective). If it’s a plus, the community is not that toxic too.

Probably my main gripe for the game is that I tend to think what could’ve been if things were changed or improved. It has the makings of a GOTY, but due to some decisions, it failed to be such. Just imagining what DICE and EA could’ve made in such a powerful gaming engine is sadly left to one’s imagination.

All in all, would I recommend Star Wars Battlefront II? Hard to answer that. If you’re a Star Wars fan and would like to experience the one of the best, if not THE best-looking Star Wars game in this generation, then get this. If you’re also hungry for some of the universe’s lore, then get this as this is canon.  But if you’re looking for a shooter and not wish to dive into the something related to the Star Wars universe, you’d be alright with simply Battlefield I (or my personal favorite, BF4)