Star Wars: Battlefront II
What a frustrating disappointment. Battlefront II generally expands the multiplayer scope and refines the gunplay of its predecessor, while adding a short, sharp single-player offering. Yet for every good idea there’s a slimy handful of annoying flaws.
There’s a similar range of multiplayer modes to the original game, but with a larger selection of maps, including locations such as Naboo and Kamino from the prequel trilogy, alongside settings from the newer films such as Starkiller Base. However, the most significant change to the multiplayer game is that movement and shooting both feel more weighty and substantial, compared with the arcade-like feel of the first game.
It looks and feels like a fantastic, thunderous sci-fi spectacle. However, the potential for multiplayer excellence is obliterated by a disastrous unlock system. Players need to earn three different currencies, one of which is earned during matches and used to deploy special units such as vehicles and ‘hero’ characters such as Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren and so on.
The other two currencies are accrued across the game as a whole, and then spent to unlock new heroes, abilities, weapons and so on. There are over 300 possible unlocks, many of which are specific to certain characters, classes and weapons. This bamboozling system transforms what should be a celebration of Star Wars action into a monotonous numbers-mining game, designed specifically to wring extra cash out of its audience through randomised, purchasable loot crates.
The single-player game fares slightly better. You play a crack team of Imperial special forces on a mission to avenge the Emperor’s death, in a blend of first-person shooting and vehicular space combat in some impressively constructed missions. But it’s too short, the story starts out interesting but leads to a trite and predictable conclusion, and the campaign is frequently interrupted by gimmicky ‘hero’ missions, where you briefly step into the shoes of major Star Wars characters. These missions are far less compelling than the central story, and occupy a large portion of what’s already a fleeting experience.
Battlefront II is basically a mess, wasting its considerable potential through tedious fan-service and cynical greed. The farce is strong with this one.