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.

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