Battlefront 2 received a lot of less than positive headlines this past week for its treatment of Loot Boxes. It’s weird that I wrote about Loot Boxes becoming more common last week and the next big title drop seems to have emerged as a sort of referendum on them. It’s unfair that Battlefront has been chosen as the hill gamers want to fight this battle on. It’s a solid game that’s worth your attention but the Loot Boxes make it really difficult to like this game.
The original games were just Star Wars skins placed over the Battlefield franchise, but they still had a quaint sense of being more than the sum of their parts. I skipped the 2015 Battlefront remake as I expected it was going to be a sub standard game but I thought they might actually listen to the criticisms and come up with a solid sequel. For the most part they did but it was one step forward two steps back for EA. Battlefront 2 is receiving a lot of flack for this loot box fiasco but it’s more a result of the industry than anything the developers did specifically. There are things to like about Battlefront 2 but the loot box issue is a pretty difficult blemish to hide.
I know most of the ink B-front is getting is about the loot boxes but it should be noted they actually put together a pretty solid FPS campaign mode. I’ve mentioned it before but gamers are starting to allow companies too much leeway in what’s worth their money. A purely multiplayer game cannot be worth $90, it simply can’t, if the game is unplayable without an internet connection you better be paying for my internet. Yes, Overwatch is a solid game, it won Game of The Year Awards but really multiplayer should only ever be used as part of a game’s appeal.
*Gets Down From Soapbox*
The actual Campaign has some decent characters, there’s a cool dynamic in the first few levels when Luke Skywalker encounters an Imperial Soldier and I really felt like they captured the character of the original Luke Skywalker. As a Star Wars fan it was refreshing to see Luke as we remember him from the movies vs the weird emotionless robot so many other Star Wars games choose to depict him as. The story attempts to humanise the Empire which is a welcome change of pace. There’s a great scene where the characters question “High Command” after the decisions the Empire makes at the Battle of Endor. It’s a great moment, showing a side of the Empire we never really see in the movies.
I’m only a few levels in but so far my expectations have been met. It’s solid, not an award winning story but enough that it shows they listened to the backlash they got from the first game.
Here it is, the elephant in the room, or I guess in this context it’s the Rancor in the room? Loot boxes are incredibly frustrating. The game operates like typical Battlefield or Battlefront games, with classes largely establishing how you want to play the game which is all well and fine.
The issue comes from these “Star Cards” they’ve added, and the ability to change the type of gun equipped to your class. It feels very Call of Duty except even in COD you’re starting weapons weren’t pea shooters compared to the unlocked weaponry. Each class also has abilities that rely on a cooldown and these too can be replaced so you don’t know if you’re running into an assault trooper who has a shot gun or some other ability equipped. It creates a learning curve where you think you’ve got a surefire kill but the guy has some bullshit card attached that makes him immune to lasers and he gets a free pizza after 3 kills.
I also have a hard time understanding how points are scored. I have as many kills as the guy who just unlocked Darth Vader except I got to unlock “Rocket Trooper #1”, he seems like a cool guy and all but he isn’t Darth freaking Vader. There are points for capturing or defending objectives but other than that I feel like people have figured out some kind of secret in game pool of points. Now I’m not especially good at shooters or anymore, but I’m not last in points on my team levels of bad. I get my kills and I don’t die, that’s pretty much enough for me in most games but in Battlefront that doesn’t seem to be enough.
Worth The Attention?
Battlefront 2 is getting a lot of the flack that the rest of the industry probably deserves. The Loot Boxes are annoying, unnecessary, and in general just seem like a way to piss off a fan base that was already waiting to jump on you. Still, this is an industry wide issue not specific to this franchise.
The first Battlefront was a disappointment plain and simple so all the new one had to do was correct the mistakes they had previously made (Basically what JJ Abrams had to do with Episode 7). Instead they adopted a mechanic that was guaranteed to rub people the wrong way.
It might not be fair to blame Battlefront for the state of the industry but unfortunately when you take up the Star Wars license you’re putting a target on your back. Bioware took a lot of heat when they decided to make an MMO instead of finishing their RPG franchise Knights of the Old Republic. Was that heat justified? Not really, the game was a solid MMO but fans felt betrayed, they wanted a $90 finish to the amazing story they had invested in with KOTOR 1&2 and instead were given something that looked like a money pit. The merger between Disney and EA represents exactly what people hate about big companies, they just seem like they’re chasing the dollar vs what people actually want.
Still, I think Battlefront 2 is worth a look. Maybe you want to wait a bit for prices to drop for the holidays or some different in game prices to shake down but the game IS fun. As a Star Wars fan I can’t deny it felt good to jump in to battle on Yavin 4, the big 40 player maps give you a really good balance between feeling like you’re in the movies and still playing like an FPS. The space battles are incredible, a trend that follows the original Battlefront 2 when it came out but best of all, if you don’t like the multiplayer for any reason you have a solid single player experience. This is why a campaign should always be in your games, it can always save you a few fans.
So that’s basically it, if you’re a Star Wars fan or just bored of Call of Duty games like I was, check out Battlefront 2. It’s not going to blow you away but it does the Star Wars franchise justice. I really think they’re going to address the Star Card discrepancy before long but if not you just put up with being crap for a while until you get those cards. The true hero of the game are the star fighter battles anyway.
-“Inferno Squadron” works on “Operation: Cinder” what happens if they die, do they change the operation name?
-The questioning of Imperial High Command reminded me of The Thrawn Trilogy books where an Imperial Admiral talks about how dumb the Death Star is. It basically takes up the entire resources of an army that could’ve been better suited on practical things like men, ships etc.
-As much fun as I have in Dog Fights, I am 100% terrible at it. Having 0 Gravity really messes with you.
-I always get a kick out of the player names in Star Wars games. “TheLASTJedi69”, or “Hand So Low”, they’re basically either 12 year olds or people who are into bad puns. Put me in the latter.
-Why does Yoda have a star ship? This is a game made for and by Star Wars nerds. In the entire trilogy we don’t see Yoda fly a star fighter once, why would he, he’s YODA! It’s like if Gandalf the Grey used a shotgun.