Unless you have been living under a death star sized rock you will have heard the furore over the latest Star Wars Battlefront game. EA has had to remove in-game transactions after the loudest public outcry I can remember but did they do anything they haven’t already done in other games? Has this misstep overshadowed one of the best gaming experiences of the year? After a prolonged time with the game, I think they have been hard done by.
The problem I have with the criticism of this game has almost turned my opinion to be a defender of it. The issue many people had with the game in its pre-launch state was the loot crates you had to buy to progress in the game. In principle, this was a money pit that people could sink countless amounts of real money into in the hope of getting their blasters upgraded and killing more players. At its core, it was ‘pay real money to get an advantage’ in the online killing fields. This was met with endless criticism by most gamers and so the ability to pay real money to advance has gone for the time being.
This is all well and good but I have to ask where this outcry was when EA debuted its Ultimate Team mode in FIFA. This mode has been making them billions in FIFA and other EA sports titles and in Battlefront they tried to introduce the same kind of system. FIFA gets lauded for its Ultimate Team mode whereas Battlefront 2 is now public enemy number one of the gaming community. What’s the difference? People pay money in the hope of getting Messi or Christiano Ronaldo with no guarantee of success just like EA had proposed people do in the hope of getting Darth Vader damage upgrades and the best blasters for their X-Wings. Why is this game any different? Both games are designed for people to sink real money by the bucketload into yet Ultimate Team rocks and Battlefront sucks. Is it because Battlefront has such a beloved IP? Is it because FIFA isn’t as popular in the USA where the majority of games journalists and influencers reside? The knives are out for Battlefront 2 and rightly or wrongly it will stop people playing one of the best gaming experiences of the year.
The package you get on the disk is quite phenomenal and improves on the first game significantly. The graphics are unbelievable, the game modes are varied and we actually have a half decent campaign with some stand out moments. The multiplayer boils down to two main modes for me. The 40 player galactic assault or the 24 player space battles in X-Wings and Tie Fighters. The other modes may be some peoples favourites but to me, the real game is found in these two modes. Both are overwhelming and spectacular. Galactic assault puts you in the shoes of a type of trooper with a massive overarching objective fought over multiple objectives on the map. It may be blowing up an AT-AT or escorting one depending on what side you are on or disabling various weapons systems inside the Death Star before making your escape. Either way, you will spend as much time looking at the locales and character models as you will your iron sights. It is simply the best looking and most authentic Star Wars experience to date. Any fan of the films should ignore the negative press for a few moments and experience what it is like to have a firefight across the hanger bay of the Death Star.
Once you get to the technical side of the matches you have a very high-end competitive shooter, which in my experience is not ruined by the loot crate system. It is true that when you die you may see the perks the other player has but in most cases the fault for death lies at your own feet. You accrue battle points during a match that let you respawn as a hero character or as a vehicle leading to some epic confrontations. Killing Darth Maul with Yoda on Naboo is something can be experienced and found relatively easy yet it never loses its amazement.
The same can be said of the starfighter battles. They are simply stunning and require a different set of skills as you try to avoid scenery and the enemy to take out your objective.
Simply put it is stunning and the video above will say more than my words can.
The campaign is a different matter. It is equally stunning visually and does tell an interesting Star Wars story yet it could have been so much more. Without spoilers, the strong first three chapters are ruined by a fan-service fourth that removes all momentum and for me was a complete misstep. The third level, however, is one of the finest moments in gaming you can play. If only they had kept the theme going instead of returning to traditional Star Wars characters so soon.
The levels themselves range from the brilliant to the awful with questionable enemy AI and boring shooting gallery sections. But when this campaign is good it is very good and as a bonus to the multiplayer suite, the campaign is a nice distraction.
So there you have it. You have a simple choice. Will you allow yourself to follow the mob mentality and crucify this game or will you give it a chance before joining the pitchfork and flaming torch brigade? There is no doubt that the loot crate system is abhorrent and against many people’s beliefs yet it is not a system that is unique to this game. If you dismiss this game without trying it for yourself then you are doing a complete disservice to yourself as a gamer. Play the game but don’t spend on loot, it can be done on Ultimate Team and it can work here as well. There are hours of entertainment waiting in this game for most people yet some will never see it because it is the game everyone loves to hate.
You can buy it here if you dare