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Playing Catchup: Star Wars Battlefront II

Much maligned at launch, EA and DICE’s second stab at reviving Star Wars Battlefront has actually gotten pretty good. Though, not without a few problems.

Returning to the Battlefront

Star Wars Battlefront II is obviously the followup to the original game, which launched a few years back. This is the second iteration at the series, which was super-popular in its original run. The second game from that previous series is still praised even today. But that’s not this game.

Battlefront II launched last year, with a lot of enthusiasm behind it. Well, there was till after the beta anyway. Once that hit, fans were less that enthused. Mainly, the reason for that was that the game had a real pay-to-playish feel. I don’t really want to focus on that however, since much (if not all) of it has been “fixed” by EA since. And also this is a Catching Up feature, not a review. I’d rather focus on my experience with the game, since it’s actually a fun time.

Again though, it’s not perfect by any means. It has one very big issue that I’ll be getting into at the close of this piece.

Story and Multiplayer

Unlike the first Battlefront, BFII has a campaign. And it feels almost (almost) like a fully fledged Star Wars game. The levels aren’t all that long, but other than that, BFII has a decent amount happening in its story mode.

Warning there are spoilers below

Events focus on Iden Versio. She’s the commander of an Imperial Special Forces unit called Inferno Squad. With their own capital ship called the Corvus, Inferno Squad runs covert missions and special ops for the Empire. The three-person team is especially feared, and ruthlessly efficient. I have to admit I was surprised when most of them defected to the Rebellion.

All of the promotional materials for BFII made it seem as though Iden was strictly Imperial, and that you’d only be playing the heavy. That’s far from the case though. And it results in a story that, while it might be typical, has some incredibly fun moments. If anything I’m saddened by the fact that its so short.

In addition to that, you’ll also play as some of the biggest characters in the Star Wars universe. Luke, Han, Leia… they all make their way into the campaign at different points.

As for the Multiplayer, I haven’t played too much of it.

It’s really not my thing, so I’m glad that the single player is so much fun. When I picked up the game, it was more or less with the idea that I’d be playing with some of the staff here at BG. From what I’ve seen of it, it’s pretty sharp with lots of troopers to play as, and the hero characters that you’d expect.

The multiplayer is clearly going to be the highlight of the game for most people however. There are four different classes to play as plus the heroes, and first or third-person perspectives. You’ll also play on-foot, behind the wheel of a vehicle, or in a starfighter. All of the above feels great and plays well.

Graphics and sound

I’m playing on an Xbox One X, and let me tell you – this game is gorgeous. There’s a beautiful level of detail to nearly every map in Battlefront II, from the forests of Endor to the cold innards of an Imperial base, it’s all well done and I can’t imagine a Star Wars game looking much better.

Likewise, the sound is incredible. Everything in Battlefront II sounds as it should, and like it popped off the screen. Blaster fire, ship’s engines… everything is perfect. The voice work in game game is excellent too, on almost all fronts. Most of the stand-on voices for the heroes sound at least solid.

Control

There were some odd choices made in Star Wars Battlefront II as goes the control scheme.

Most of it is very straightforward. You run, shoot, use special weapons and upgrades, and can make use of your sights, etc… What’s strange though, is that there’s no constant secondary weapon. This works out to be really off-putting, especially in the campaign. You have to find a locker in a level in order to equip a different loadout. Why not have the option to pick up fresh arms from downed foes?

Also, while we’re picking, the play while using a lightsaber feels off too. The sabers felt very haphazard to me, and I always wondered if I was going to actually hit what I meant to with it.

Bugs

There are a few annoying issues with Battlefront II, and they’re of the technical variety. Unfortunately, I found myself stuck in a level once, unable to move. This occurred at the top of a map and forced me to reload. There was another issue too, one that I ran into numerous times.

I’m in the habit of putting my consoles to sleep while I go do other things. Ideally I don’t necessarily want to do this, but I find myself in the middle of levels sometimes and I have to stop playing. Can’t be helped.

My best advise to you about Battlefront II’s single player campaign however, is that you should steer very far of doing that… ever. That’s because, when you reengage, you’ll find that the laws of physics are all but gone.

A few times I found that I was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, a few times I simply floated away, never to be seen again. Every time I had ridiculously stuttered gameplay once the map was re-started.

Now, the frame rate is a little odd in Battlefront II to begin with. But not anywhere near as bad as it got after re-starting a “sleeping” game.

Final Thoughts

All things considered, Battlefront II is a pretty good time. If you’re into muiltiplayer gaming and a Star Wars fan, I can’t see you not liking it. And again, that’s especially true now, with most of the biggest issues being taken care of (to some degree).

And if you are into BFII for the multi alone, then I think you’ll find Iden Versio’s adventures a pretty nice addition to an already solid game. On the other side though, if a good campaign is all you’re interested in then you might want to hold out for a more satisfying single player Star Wars experience.

About Jason

Jason
Jason's been knee deep in videogames since he was but a lad. Cutting his teeth on the pixely glory that was the Atari 2600, he's been hack'n'slashing and shoot'em'uping ever since. Mainly an FPS and action guy, Jason enjoys the occasional well crafted title from every genre.

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