On May 4 — Star Wars Day - we look back at Star Wars Battlefront 2 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Released on November 17, the game was mired with controversy because its micro-transactions consisted of random loot boxes and pay-to-win upgrades. They were so poorly implemented that if you wanted to play as some of Stars Wars’ more iconic characters such as Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, you’d have to spend at least 40 hours playing the game, or buy enough loot crates that contain the necessary credits — one of the game’s many currencies at the time — to purchase the heroes and villains you want to play as.
So egregious was Star Wars Battlefront 2’s monetisation that it pretty much made any attempt at progressing in the game redundant, as anyone could just spend to get better abilities, gear, and attributes that give them the edge in the game’s multiplayer mode. All of this resulted in tremendous backlash that forced governments to pay attention to the games industry, and inevitably regulate its in-game purchases.
Six months and a host of updates later, Star Wars Battlefront 2’s multiplayer is a different beast. Now all of its heroes and villains are playable from the get go. Crystals — the game’s premium currency, which was removed earlier — returned on April 13 and it was reworked so that it could be used to buy character skins, and little else. All of this, on paper at least, should result in an even playing field. But should you still bother with Star Wars Battlefront 2 what with it being 50 percent off right now thanks to Star Wars day sales on the PS Store, Xbox Live, and EA’s own Origin platform on PC? We tell you.
If you’re planning to play Star Wars Battlefront 2 multiplayer in 2018, prepare for a bruised ego. Most of the players we faced off against were decked out with epic gear and abilities, thanks to the arsenal they’ve built up since the game released. These included improved shields as the game’s Heavy class, and a larger grenade radius for its Assault class, among others. The playing field was far from even and dying was ever so frequent because of this. You’ll be up against people with a lot more experience and a greater understanding of the game’s many maps.
Despite the learning curve, it still felt enjoyable in part due to the gunplay and varied set of weapons. Sure, they’re all variants of a laser blaster, but with differences in cool-down times and weight, they’re far from homogenised making them fun to use.
Where Star Wars Battlefront 2 still shines is in its scale. Modes like Starfighter Assault have you piloting its many ships like the X-Wing and the TIE fighter are nippy and responsive all while providing a large enough map and objectives to partake in. Galactic Assault, the game’s marquee multiplayer mode, pits 20 players against 20 others with unique goals on each planet such as Hoth and Naboo is still fun thanks to the sheer craziness of imperial walkers, souped up troops, and the appearance of hero units on the battlefield.
That said, it’s next to impossible to find a Galactic Assault game in a reasonable time frame. On the Xbox One X, it took us over 20 minutes to get into a match with this game mode. While it didn’t take as long on the PS4 Pro — clocking in at around 10 minutes - it was still quite the wait and makes us wonder what longevity is left in Galactic Assault, just six months after the game’s release.
Although EA continues to support Star Wars Battlefront 2 with updates aplenty, a lot of its community seems to have gravitated towards its smaller, more immediate modes. These include Blast, which is the game’s equivalent of team deathmatch, or Heroes vs. Villains, which, as the name suggests, has the likes of Darth Maul squaring off against Rey, allowing you to pick characters from all three eras, namely: the Clone Wars era, the Galactic Civil War era and the Legacy era. Both are enjoyable in their current state, but they lack the thrill of a full on planetary war that Galactic Assault brings to the table. They’re nice to have, but not the reason you’d bother with Star Wars Battlefront 2 per se.
As for Star Wars Battlefront 2’s single-player campaign, well, what shipped back in November is as predictable as ever, and the Resurrection DLC added afterwards does little to change it. There are some fleeting cameos but most of it feels cringe-inducing. If you’re hankering for some decent story-telling, you’re better off playing older Star Wars games, like Knights of the Old Republic or Republic Commando on PC or Xbox One via backwards compatibility instead.
With so-so single-player, a fractured, imbalanced multiplayer and not all modes being as popular as they could be, Star Wars Battlefront 2 isn’t worth checking out right now despite its many updates. It’s not the Phantom Menace it was at launch but it’s no Last Jedi either.
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