Star Wars Battlefront II is coming out later this year and it comes with a host of new features and improvements from the series’ first entry. Many of the new aspects of the game seem to have been implemented to “make up” for what many believed was a lackluster experience. Among these new features is a full single-player story mode that promises to tie in to the Star Wars universe in a meaningful way. Classes will also make a return and space battles will be part of the game from launch. To top it all off, all DLC for the game will be free and will bring in new heroes and villains for the community to try such as Captain Phasma and Finn.
To any Star Wars and shooter fan this is all excellent news. Battlefront II is one of my most anticipated games of this year — that’s for sure. I am glad that EA learned their lesson from their 2015 release and I believe Battlefront II will turn out to be my favorite game of 2017.
Given the way things went with the first game, you’re likely wondering how I can be so confident that I’ll love Battlefront II. Well, the answer to that is simple: it’s because I really enjoyed my time playing the 2015 reboot of Battlefront despite the game being poorly received by most. I have just under 80 hours of time in the game and plan on playing more right up until the release of Battlefront II.
I’ve had so much fun with Battlefront, in fact, that I was rather confused when I saw all the criticism of the game. The main criticism I’ve seen complain that the game has a shallow multiplayer experience and that the game lacks content and a single-player campaign. Since I personally love the game, I thought I’d address some of these criticisms, and as someone who has put many hours into the game, I feel like I can give a fair defense of one the most fun games I have played in a long time.
Before I Start
It is important to address one of the most major criticisms the game (rightly so) faced: the whole season pass and DLC issue. Although Star Wars Battlefront is not the only game guilty of this crime, it doesn’t excuse the game. I do not defend highly priced season passes and content that is locked behind a paywall. It’s a practice that needs to come to an end especially in multiplayer games where the developers and publishers want the game to have a long, healthy life.
I purchased the game and the DLCs at sale prices. In fact, I’ve often seen the game on sale since then at even lower prices. So I can understand the anger and frustration of those who paid full price for the game as I do believe that the game may not have been worth the full retail price. I feel this way even more so regarding the season pass. I’d certainly advise anyone that’s interested in the game to purchase it on sale.
That being said, I have always believed that what I paid for the game turned out to be a very worthwhile investment. Moreover, this article’s intention is more so to defend the experience you can get out of Battlefront as well as to showcase why the next installment is one to be excited for.
The Star Wars Experience
Star Wars games are special and folks always have high expectations for them. So when they don’t meet those expectations, it can be very frustrating for many people. (It’s not all that different than how it goes with the movies, really.) I have always loved Star Wars games because they give me the opportunity to immerse myself into the Star Wars universe. The universe is so big and with so many stories to be told and experiences to be had that I find myself always enjoying Star Wars games. A few of my all time favorites are Knights of the Old Republic, Battlefront 2 (the original), Republic Commando, and Shadows of the Empire, which was the first Stat Wars game I played as a child. Naturally, when I learned that DICE, one of my favorite developers, was rebooting the series with the Frostbite engine, I got very excited.
It got me excited because I knew this new Battlefront title would give me the greatest experience of fighting in the galactic wars. And sure enough, it did. I was able to play as a stormtrooper or a rebel. I was able to travel to my favorite planets and play as Darth Vader. When I look back at my Battlefront memories, they are filled with fun and an almost sandbox-like freedom to bring your favorite heroes and villains to any battle and have that battle have an unexpected outcome.
I know the phrase “immersive experience” feels like a marketing ploy, but that is what Star Wars games truly give me. If you’ve played the 2015 release of Battlefront then you already know how beautiful the game is. The Frostbite engine thrives with shooters and Battlefront is one of the finest examples. Not only does it look gorgeous, but the environments are incredibly detailed, all the way from the buttons on Vader’s suit to the huge layers of grey machinery that make up an Imperial Star Destroyer as it looms high above the battlefield.
Yet the most impressive thing to me is the sound design, and I am not alone in that as the game has won numerous awards for its use of sound. Everything sounds like how you’d expect it to and with the game being set solely during the sequel era it has that 70s and 80s charm to it. It matches the era and cinematic vision perfectly.
Star Wars Battlefront felt like that, above all else: it was an experience. It wasn’t just trying to be a multiplayer shooter, but also a unique and immersive Star Wars experience. When I think about what I have enjoyed the most about playing the game so much, it’s those moments when John Williams’ score kicks in full gear as me and my squad of stormtroopers decimate the rebel scum we’re fighting. That is where the most fun is had and it’s those kind of experiences that make Star Wars games unique. I don’t think Battlefront ever tried to be the best multiplayer shooter, and even with the next installment, they seem to be focusing on the most important aspect of any Star Wars game: providing a true Star Wars experience.
Most of the criticism I have come across seems to be focused on the apparent lack of content in the game and also the lack of a single player experience. Firstly we should look at the state of the game from launch. It released with 12 maps spread across 4 different planets. That number was brought to 14 maps across 5 different planets with the release of the free Jakku DLC. The maps accommodated for 10 game modes including large 40 player modes such as Walker Assault and smaller 12 player modes such as Blast and Fighter Squadron. Although the Fighter Squadron mode had no space maps at launch they did include some beautiful areas to dogfight in.
It wasn’t until the Death Star DLC was introduced that the game featured space battles. Of course this is something I wish they added from launch, however they clearly lacked the foresight to do so. Instead of classes the game introduced “star cards,” which are essentially unique abilities such as a jump pack and thermal detonators. The variety of star cards meant players could develop different play styles for different situations. And although I did enjoy the freedom the star cards brought to the table I am glad classes are making a comeback in the next game (though the fun star card system is still in place too). The game also allowed you to somewhat customize your character with many different faces for the Rebels and even some different species, including my favorite, the zabrak. As for the Empire you could unlock outfits such as the scout trooper and shadow trooper to show off your high rank. Last but not least there are a variety of weapons to suit your play style including iconic blasters such as the DL-44 or the E-11.
So as you can see there was quite a lot of content to get started with and to unlock. The DLCs added to this with Hutt Contracts that brought more weapons and star cards. The DLCs also added more heroes and customization options such as the Bespin Guard outfit. I think it’s unfair to claim the game didn’t have much content from launch — most multiplayer games these days have less content, it feels like. And although you can argue that the classic Battlefront games had more content, you can argue that with many games that have previous entries from the PS2 era. I won’t defend lack of content compared to games made over a decade ago but the level of detail and fun put into the 2015 release more than makes up for it to me. I have the same fond memories playing the most recent games as I do playing the classic titles. I guess I just love the Battlefront style of Star Wars games.
If the single-player campaign was one of your favorite parts of the classic Battlefront 2, then you’ve got something big to look forward to in the upcoming title. Personally, I didn’t care for the story mode in the original Battlefront II. It was essentially diary entries from the Republic era to the Imperial era. It didn’t offer much to the Star Wars universe other than the soldier’s experience. That was basically the whole premise of the Battlefront concept, so the story mode did little to add to that idea for me.
If I was playing Battlefront alone back then it was to play bot matches and Galactic Conquest (which, by the way, I wish they’d re-introduce). Just like the 2015 release, the game was primarily focused on the Star Wars experience and being able to battle on your own or with friends either online or split-screen in incredible Star Wars environments. I don’t feel that the 2015 release needed a single-player mode for all the reasons I’ve discussed thus far. A single-player campaign should only be added if it adds something interesting to the Star Wars universe. That being said, this is something that Star Wars Battlefront II seems to be doing right, and I’m very excited to see how it turns out. It’s yet another reason to look forward to the new release.
2015’s Star Wars Battlefront is a very good game with a lot of fun to be had in it. I feel like the initial backlash for the game pushed people away from an experience they’d otherwise enjoy, especially with friends. It is a true Star Wars experience that will remind you of your favorite Star Wars games from your childhood. If you can find it on sale then give it a go and you may be pleasantly surprised. I know I was. And if you’re looking for someone to play with, I’m always willing to play some Battlefront!
I cannot wait for the new title later this year. Star Wars Battlefront has and should always be about having fun in the Star Wars universe, and I’m sure this new game will deliver.
May the Force be with you.