High-per­for­mance play­time

A sur­prise to be sure, but an un­even one.

APC Australia - - Contents -

The re­boot of Star Wars Bat­tle­front back in 2015, in­tro­duced more grandiose bat­tles than ever be­fore. Two years later, Bat­tle­front II works to quell the largely ca­sual ap­peal of the first game, adding more maps, char­ac­ters, and even a sin­gle-player cam­paign. But it’s ham­pered by a pro­gres­sion sys­tem that chokes on its as­pi­ra­tions.

Com­pared to the first game, the en­vi­ron­ments here are more var­ied, tex­tures are more richly de­tailed, and ev­ery­thing you do is com­ple­mented by an au­then­tic sound­track of blaster bolts, ex­plo­sions, and a fleet­ing or­ches­tral score. The ground com­bat re­mains di­verse and sat­is­fy­ing, too, with four dif­fer­ent classes all of­fer­ing unique traits. Re­gard­less of which class you choose, the game makes short work of play­ers who go in all guns blaz­ing, ac­cu­rately con­vey­ing the il­lu­sion of play­ing a small role in an epic bat­tle.

You don’t al­ways want to blend into the back­ground, though, and that’s where Bat­tle Points come in. This sys­tem re­places the ran­dom to­ken me­chanic from 2015, al­low­ing you to ac­quire mid-match re­ward points to use on special troop­ers, ve­hi­cles and clas­sic Star Wars he­roes. Play­ing the ob­jec­tive and scor­ing hits is the best way to rack up your Points, but with vary­ing costs for char­ac­ters, spend­ing them de­mands a tactical ap­proach. This has its pros and cons, as while it makes for a more var­ied and in­tel­li­gent sys­tem than be­fore, it also alien­ates less skilled play­ers.

In BII, you can em­bark on a sin­gle-player cam­paign fol­low­ing Iden Ver­sio, an Im­pe­rial com­man­der. Her tale takes place dur­ing the pe­riod be­tween Re­turn Of The Jedi and The Force Awak­ens, mak­ing for a unique point of view. Her chap­ters are bro­ken up with side-mis­sions in which you take con­trol of Luke, Han and Lando, which sadly wres­tle the fo­cus away from Iden. Be­cause of this, it’s tough to feel for most of the new char­ac­ters in the 5–6-hour cam­paign.

Mul­ti­player, how­ever, re­mains the core with Galac­tic As­sault the game’s pri­mary of­fer­ing. Here, 40 play­ers en­gage in vast bat­tles while also meet­ing a se­ries of ob­jec­tives. Starfighter As­sault sees you take part in full-on space bat­tles. The me­chan­ics of fly­ing have been en­hanced, and now you’ll find your­self weav­ing in and out of im­pres­sive set pieces to achieve your goals.

How­ever, all of the on­line mul­ti­player el­e­ments are af­fected by a pro­gres­sion sys­tem. You up­grade us­ing abil­ity-en­hanc­ing add-ons called Star Cards. You get them in loot crates, which you can buy with in-game cred­its. When the game launched, the op­tion to pur­chase them with real money was in­cluded; caus­ing a back­lash from the gam­ing com­mu­nity, so it was re­moved.

This type of ap­proach is noth­ing new, but here its sheer in­va­sive­ness leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It’s a sys­tem that never emits any kind of charm. Here’s hop­ing with the DLC and fur­ther tweaks, it lives up to its mass po­ten­tial.

Fraser Gil­bert Ver­dict Your Star­Wars fan­tasy made real, wrapped around a poorly-designed pro­gres­sion sys­tem.

Pew pew pew pew! No Star Wars game has ever looked or sounded this good.

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