Friday before Labor Day I woke up to a glorious surprise. That surprise was that Star Wars Battlefront 2 was for sale on Steam for less than $15. I remember a huge amount of grumblings when the game first came out. I remember most of this being about how loot crates work. I wanted to just play the single-player.
Since its initial release in November 2017, Star Wars Battlefront 2 has had no shortage of trouble. Shortly after going public, it was embroiled in a legal battle over whether or not its absurd approach to loot boxes constituted online gambling. Since then, the game has had multiple large updates and some light overhauling after a lashing from Disney. When it was for sale, how could I pass it up?
As stated my interest in Battlefront is mostly for single player or LAN play. As a child, I would play hours of the conquest mode in the first Battlefront 2 (because screw naming) with my friends. We’d set the whole galactic map up and shoot at each other for hours. I was pretty certain that they hadn’t brought that mode back, but I was excited to see what they did have for a campaign mode. Nothing could have prepared me for what I found though.
I remember the campaign mode being advertised as focusing on an Imperial Commander who leads a special forces squadron. Which I can’t say I was excited for, because we all know how things work out for the empire, but Solo: A Star Wars Story showed us how grungy The Empire was. I welcomed a perspective from someone who might not have the opportunities the main characters of the movie have. Which is to say someone who isn’t in tune with the force, or is offered to join the rebellion like once every couple of minutes. I was looking for someone who was trapped. A person shoveling coal in a steamship has little choice of whether or not they’re going down with it. This is not what I got.
From this point on this post is going to get super spoilery. You’ve been warned.
The campaign in Star Wars Battlefront 2 follows an elite team of stormtroopers called Inferno Squadron. About 8 minutes into the campaign, the Death Star 2 goes kaboom and your character makes fun of the concept of hope, a whole bunch. Then a secondary character has a life-changing meeting with Jedi Master Luke “The Hand” Skywalker and catches a case of “the feelings”. When Admiral Your Character’s Dad tells you to help facilitate the destruction of your homeworld, that’s enough for you too and you go full rebellion.
All of this is fine and it’s good to see people doing bad things realizing the errors of their ways, but we’ve already seen the story of a stormtrooper joining the light. But we have gotten that in a more nuanced way, especially if the game is to take place after The Emperor dies (or did he). Instead, we get a group of people who go full true believers in one thing to full true believers in another over a very short period of time and it feels entirely too much like the same Star Wars plot we’ve seen a few times now. Which is tolerable, I guess. because all the shooting parts are still fun.
The blasters are weighty and nice. There is a certain franticness in the firefights that make them enjoyable. The starship battles, which are giant aerial deathmatches, are fun, exciting, and filled with delightful sound effects. Even if there are no longer soft “objectives” (such as destroying capital ships) during them, I think flying a Clone Wars era ARC 170 in the middle of a starship fight is its own reward. I haven’t been able to find a B-Wing though. You can fly the Millennium Falcon and several other hero ships. Although in my opinion, the heroes suck.
To its credit, flying the Millennium Falcon feels exactly as it should in my opinion. Which is to say you’re flying a cargo freighter in an aerial combat situation. So you constantly crash into everything and in general getting pantsed by starfighters designed for actual combat. Although in fairness the Falcon’s armaments are more designed for it to be a crew ship and Star Wars Battlefront 2 is pretty much an “every person for themselves” kind of affair. Other hero ships are more capable since most are powered up starfighters. The heroes themselves are rough though.
In Star Wars Battlefront 2 you have two basic types of heroes. Shooty heroes and laser sword heroes. Now the shooty heroes are like playing as normal infantry but you’re stuck in an over the shoulder camera in a game best played in first-person and you just shoot harder. The characters are really floaty and agile because I think they use the same movement as the laser sword heroes, which doesn’t work. The other problem is you’re stuck with sets of skills that would fit the characters archetypes in the lore of Star Wars, but kinda suck. Every time the game made me play as a shooty hero, I just wanted to go back to being infantry. Which was nothing compared to what the laser sword characters made me want to do.
The laser sword heroes suck, from a gameplay standpoint. They ruin the gameplay and made me want to stop playing altogether. They’re really floaty. The game gives them huge hit allowances on their abilities, otherwise, they wouldn’t ever be able to hit anything. They’re relatively slow considering nearly everyone you’re trying to kill has a blaster. When you run into another laser sword character, it feels exactly like when you played Star Wars with your younger sibling with your lego figurines (not Lego Star Wars, which is awesome). What I mean by this is that you’re just slamming your hero into the other hero until an arm falls off or the laser bit falls out of the handle.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (the second one) has all the fun first-person laser blaster action that you would expect. If they had simply focused on the basics the game could have been amazing. Especially if they had found a way to make galactic conquest massively multiplayer. Not that I know how they could have done it.
All in all Star Wars Battlefront 2 is okay. It’s not the shiny golden past we’ve come from, but it’s miles better than the first remake.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (2017) is available on just about everything and for sale just about anywhere. The game is currently in long-term support with no new planned content. If you’ve read this far, thank you. Please leave a comment about what you’d like to read about or if there is something you want me to make in your honor on my next cooking stream.