Oh boy. Where to start with a game like Star Wars: Battlefront 2? A sequel to a reboot that felt under-cooked and hollow, the early impressions for Battlefront 2 were fairly positive – more heroes, maps, weapons, vehicles and eras. Despite 2015’s Battlefront’s anaemic response, it had sold well and people were ready to take the fight to the Clone Wars and Force Awakens battlefields. Free DLC was promised, and a new original Star Wars story was revealed. Everything was almost too good to be true. Almost. Through beta gameplay and EA’s own early access system, the well was poisoned by the time the game launched on 17th November 2017. The campaign was made up of predominantly re-purposed multiplayer maps and the story was under-cooked at best, even with some great new characters.
Most egregiously however, multiplayer progression was tied ENTIRELY to loot crates. Want to upgrade a certain hero or character class? You’ll have to spin that slot machine ad nauseam until you get what you need. Worst of all? You could play for 40 hours and not unlock Luke or Vader. The day before launch, EA stripped all micro transactions out of the game, and while this negated a “pay to win” model, the game’s progression was still tied to random chance. EA told players that the grind was to ensure “pride and accomplishment”. Players told EA where to stick that argument with north of 674,000 reddit downvotes (the most in history). Governments stepped in to attempt to regulate these kind of business practices (although nothing concrete on that). Rumours persist that Disney threatened to pull the Star Wars rights from EA. After all of that, why are we discussing the game today?
In March 2018, 4 months after release, EA essentially rebooted Battlefront 2’s multiplayer. While arguably too late to change public perception of the title, the game you buy now (likely at a heavily discounted price) is a much more appealing proposition. All heroes (and Hero Vehicles) are now unlocked from the jump – taken from all eras of Star Wars canon. Yoda vs Kylo Ren? No problem. Darth Maul taking on Luke Skywalker? Yes please. All previously unlocked boosts to characters remain, but the game now allows these to be obtained using skill points which are gained through playing the game. Enjoy playing as a Heavy? The game will give you skill points to upgrade your Heavy class. Just want to play Starfighter Assault (and why wouldn’t you, its amazing)? The more you play, the better your ships will get. Everything feels a lot more comparable to Battlefield’s progression, and theres a reason that those games sell.
The free DLC originally promised is trickling out slowly too – while limited time modes such as Jetpack Cargo (capture the flag where everyone has jetpacks) are fun, I much prefer the Last Jedi content – two new heroes, one new ground map and one new space map may not sound like we’re being spoiled for content but at least it isn’t something to spend real money on this time around. I’d say its a fair bet we’ll be seeing some DLC to tie into the new Solo movie at E3 this year. You’ll also find new cosmetic changes to heroes – Hoth Luke, Leia and Han are the only ones at present, but more are promised. On top of online multiplayer, offline play has been bolstered with new maps for arcade mode and improved AI – perfect for practicing before you head online. The campaign also received a significant new chunk of story which helps link to The Last Jedi, albeit only slightly.
It may not be enough to bring people back to a game most had written off even before launch (a quick glance at the Metacritic score tells you people aren’t ready to forgive yet), but EA’s efforts to claw back some goodwill from players should at least give the game a longer tail than perhaps it would’ve if we’d coughed up for loot crates in November of last year. In any case, don’t be afraid to try Battlefront 2 – its easily the most beautiful Star Wars game you’ll ever play and now features a much improved way to keep you in a galaxy far, far away.
You can read our full (more forgiving) review of Star Wars Battlefront 2 on Xbox One (HERE).